RE: info-mation v in-formation RE: [xmca] Sunstein "Infotopia" onBookTV Sunday night

From: Cunningham, Donald James (cunningh@indiana.edu)
Date: Sat Oct 14 2006 - 18:11:28 PDT


There are several pertinent papers in that issue. Many of the authors are on this list and I hope they will make pre-publication drafts available. I'm pretty sure that Semiotica would not object to that.

Cheers......djc

Don Cunningham
Indiana University

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Mike Cole
Sent: Saturday, October 14, 2006 3:52 PM
To: Tony Whitson
Cc: eXtended Mind, Culture,Activity
Subject: Re: info-mation v in-formation RE: [xmca] Sunstein "Infotopia" onBookTV Sunday night

Hi Tony-- Fascinating. I actually made the jump to Dewey from reading the
beginning of the materials on the link you sent, not your note.
But glad to have evoked your further thoughts and linkages.

The Auger book looks especially relevant to someone who is preparing to
teach a course
on "Language, thought, and medai." A copy of your to-be-published article
would be nice to
circulate if Don allows.
mike

On 10/14/06, Tony Whitson <twhitson@udel.edu> wrote:
>
> Mike, you ask:
> > Sunstein argues for Dewey's notion of social intelligence, I gather?
> > At least as a potential and perhaps afforded by our current infotopia?
>
> Trying to make connections across discourses, I might have been misleading
> in the post you are responding to, where I wrote:
>
> Cass Sunstein is on BookTV this weekend talking about a new book on how
> wikis and open source software, etc are being used in processes of social
> knowledge and decision-making. See
> http://curricublog.wordpress.com/2006/10/13/infotopia-booktv/
>
> My clarification follows below, but it is also posted --with all the
> links--
> at http://curricublog.wordpress.com/2006/10/14/sunstein-information/ .
>
> Actually, "social knowledge" is not a term that Sunstein himself uses.
> Sunstein is discussing processes in which "information" is socially
> aggregated in ways that produce results that can be better-but sometimes
> can
> be worse-than the results obtained by the expertise of individuals.
> Theoretically, Sunstein is not in the ballpark of either cognitive
> psychology or semiotics. He's coming, rather, from a framework of
> political
> & economic theory, as reflected in a blurb on the back jacket of his book,
> in which Robert MacCoun (Berkeley Public Policy & Law Prof.) writes that
>
> Cass Sunstein's new book is a lively illustration of emerging mechanisms
> for
> collective rationality never anticipated in the classic writings of
> Madison,
> Marx, or Milton (Friedman).
>
> Sunstein's blog post On Aggregating Information: Hayek, Blogging, and
> Beyond
> (July 2005) displays this theoretical orientation. His other posts on that
> blog extend this discussion, including a post on Hayek v. Habermas.
>
> In a response to his first post (linked above), Wikipedia founder Jimmy
> Wales comments:
>
> I just wanted to say that Hayek's work on price theory is central to my
> own
> thinking about how to manage the Wikipedia project. Possibly one can
> understand Wikipedia without understanding Hayek, since perhaps my own
> theories of how Wikipedia works are false. :-)
>
> But one can't understand my ideas about Wikipedia without understanding
> Hayek.
>
> Sunstein quotes this comment on pp. 156-7 of his book.
>
> In one of his own posts, Wales issues a call to "Free the Curriculum!"
>
> Earlier in this post, I wrote that
>
> Sunstein is discussing processes in which "information" is socially
> aggregated ...
>
> My reason for putting "information" in quotation marks is that I've become
> increasingly concerned about and interested in the idea of "information"
> that is now taken for granted, which obscures (at best) an older,
> pre-positivistic idea of information that is more in tune with Dewey's
> thinking (to bring this back to Mike Cole's question, with which this post
> begins). The positivist degradation of understanding about meaning is
> discussed in a paper to appear early in 2007 in the special issue of
> Semiotica edited by Donald Cunningham on semiotics and education. In my
> paper "Education la Silhouette: The need for semiotically-informed
> curriculum consciousness," I discuss the difference between how C.S.
> Peirce
> (and Dewey, following Peirce) understood meaningful signification as a
> matter of signs potentiating meaning in the interpretive responses to
> those
> signs. In this understanding, the sign is something that potentiates, not
> something that contains and conveys meaning.
>
> The earlier view of "information" had to do with entering into the
> formation
> (e.g., of someone's understanding, awareness, character, etc. This is
> reflected in European languages that use cognates of "formation" or
> "Bildung" in their common words for education.
>
> Now I'm seeing examples in a wide range of domains all over the place. To
> use an example that involves Dewey, consider the 2002 book
>
> The Electric Meme: A New Theory of How We Think, by Robert Aunger
>
> in comparison with Dewey's 1910 classic
>
> How We Think
>
> In the future I will be writing more about the crucial difference between
> these two senses of "information." They are such different ideas that I
> need
> to adopt different ways of signifying them. For now, I'm thinking of
> differentially using "in-formation" juxtaposed with "info-mation." It
> seems
> to me that this could work. What do you think?
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On
> Behalf Of Mike Cole
> Sent: Friday, October 13, 2006 7:48 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Sunstein "Infotopia" on BookTV Sunday night
>
> Sunstein argues for Dewey's notion of social intelligence, I gather? At
> least as a potential and perhaps afforded by our current infotopia?
>
> Oddly, as some of you may have noticed from another posting today by a
> student of mine (who I intended to have post
> to our seminar, not xmca, but the juxtaposition is interesting!) I am
> running a seminar are Orwell's 1984 and its resonances
> with contemporary events and modes of mediation.
>
> Hmmmm, perhaps for everyone infotopia there is at least one infodystopia?
> And besides, lets keep in mind that utopia means
> nowhere, or, if you prefer a contraring view, Erehwon.
> mike
>
> On 10/13/06, Tony Whitson <twhitson@udel.edu> wrote:
> >
> > This isn't directly related to any current thread, but there was so much
> > interest in my earlier post on wikis that I thought I should share this.
> >
> > Cass Sunstein is on BookTV this weekend talking about a new book on how
> > wikis and open source software, etc are being used in processes of
> social
> > knowledge and decision-making. See
> >
> > http://curricublog.wordpress.com/2006/10/13/infotopia-booktv/
>
>
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