Re: [xmca] Concepts WITHOUT Internalization?

From: Andy Blunden (
Date: Thu Mar 08 2007 - 04:32:14 PST

David, isn't there a bit of a problem with your internal/external dichotomy
here. Ink and wood exists externally, concepts exist internally. If
concepts exist only inside the head, what is it that is internalised? I
mean the word is internal-ised, i.e., made internal. I don't think you mean
that ink and wood is internalised. What is it that is internalised when I
form a concept in my head? Isn't it a concept which exists in the world
outside my head?
At 04:15 AM 8/03/2007 -0800, you wrote:
>Dear Martin:
> I'm lost. I'm afraid don't understand what concept formation means
> UNLESS internalization is involved.
> As far as I know, concepts do not exist externally. What exists
> externally is a set of blocks with ink marks on the bottom. The concept
> does not exist in the block; wood is what exists in the block. The
> concept does not exist in the ink marks either; ink exists there.
> One of the very few things that Saussure says that I agree with is that
> linguistics is a "science" whose object is created by one's point of view
> rather than discovered in one's environment. Most people, alas, have
> interpreted this as a banal statement to the effect that if we are
> interested in phonetics, then linguistics is primarly about phonetics and
> if we are interested in syntax, why then it is mostly about grammar.
> I don't think that's what Saussure meant. He meant that before we can
> be interested in language at all we have to recognize a pattern of sounds
> as being meaningful. That meaning is what is created by one's point of
> view. It doesn't exist externally; what exists externally is only sound.
> (I'm not sure I agree that linguistics is a "science" though! It often
> seems to me that the humanities in general and literature in particular
> has a better grip on the key linguistic relationship between context and text.)
> Vygotsky thinks that concepts can only be created, accessed and shared
> through language (and in fact only through a particular type of
> language). But Vygotsky goes even further. He says that all direct
> instruction in concepts is fruitless. We may intervene in the
> construction of concepts, but the nature of our interventions is
> necessarily indirect.
> When we use language to share concepts (e.g. when we discuss what
> Saussure meant by the concept of linguistics), we are doing something
> quite different from when we use language to share attention ("Look! A
> lion!"). If concepts existed externally, it is very hard to see why
> Vygotsky would reject the idea of direct instruction.
> When Baudrillard died, most of the obituaries spoke of him as the man
> who believed that if you don't read about it in the paper, it didn't
> really happen. But if I read Baudrillard's obit and he doesn't, it means
> he is dead. In this way, death is more like the lion than la langue.
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
>Food fight? Enjoy some healthy debate
>in the Yahoo! Answers Food & Drink Q&A.
>xmca mailing list

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