Re: [xmca] Harried instructor seeks words of wisdom

From: Vera Steiner (
Date: Mon Feb 12 2007 - 13:18:14 PST

I realize we are two steps away from the exploration of consciousness,
but I wanted to thank those of you who provided cross linguistic
comparisons for our discussion. The joint experiencing and construction
of consciousness as marked in that discussion is fascinating.
Martin asked that I briefly elaborate on the distinction I am trying to
draw between responsiveness, awareness and consciousness. It was just a
quick comparison and clearly needs to be thought through with the help
of the notion of "conscious awareness."
In class, I used a simple example with a toddler. She is sitting in a
high chair and has finished eating. She is restless. In" responsive"
mode she is wriggling, straining against the constraint of the high chair.
In the "aware" mode she lifts her arms. This is a communicative act, and
may be successful if witnessed and responded to by an adult or much
older sibling who is facing her. It has its limitations,(when the other
person is looking away) but as an appropriately used gesture it
 reflects awareness. It may be followed by a comment by the older
person present:"Oh, you want to get out."
In the "conscious awareness" mode she says, "I am done, I want to get
out." Beside having appropriated the relevant utterance from the
care-giver, her behavior shows reflectivity and control, two features
that have been emphasized in contemporary discussions of consciousness.
The control is both self regulatory (it is likely to follow the
inhibition of wriggling) and is also aimed at other regulation.
Speech contributes to the "co"-consciousness" in this very simplistic

Armando Perez wrote:

>I dont like to equate response, reflex to
>consiousness. And I think that Vygitsky stablished a
>clear difference between both of them.
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