[xmca] Isn't Perception a Shared Paradigm Too?

From: David Kellogg (vaughndogblack@yahoo.com)
Date: Wed Mar 14 2007 - 15:13:19 PST

  Yes, but you can't SEE quarks. Or cellulose fibres without a microscope. You can SEE wood. Or rather WE can see wood. That's the starting point.
  Naming is a social practice. But it has (as Andy likes to say) a material substrate, and that material substrate in this case is perception. Shared perception is a shared paradigm too, bu it is not, or not entirely, a shared SOCIAL paradigm (because it is one "we" share with animals).
  When I say that perception is the material substrate of naming I am also saying that it at least in some sense BIOLOGICAL and not social. Naming is a MORE social substrate of the even MORE social conceptualization, but naming is NOT conceptualization per se, which is why I reject your argument that "wood" is a concept, in the sense that Vygotsky meant the word concept, that is, an abstract generalization which is accessed and shared as part of a network of paradigmatic as well as syntagmatic relationships.
  I don't see that saying perception has a material as well as a social basis places perception in a different ontological realm, because I don't accept that matter and society are in different ontological realms. On the other hand, I think that DENYING that perception has a material basis DOES lead to Cartesian skepticism. That denial was actually Descartes whole starting point for his famous "Cogito Ergo Sum".
  Social phenomena are, after all, a subset of biological phenomena, which is another way of saying that all social phenomena are also biological phenomena, although of course there are biological phenomena that are NOT social (and I think that perception is less of a social phenomenon than conceptualization).
  If we can show that perception and conceptualization are LINKED we will have REALLY dealt a blow against Cartesian dualism. That is what LSV is up to in Chapter Five; the child's progression from "heap" to "LAG" can be seen as a rendering visible of the progression from percept to concept.
  If we limit ourselves to saying that, well, perception is a kind of social construction (you know, I mean, isn't everything?) we will have simply imported Cartesian dualism into psychology through upward reductionism. We will have simply assumed that all biological phenomena are also social. And THAT ain't so.
  David Kellogg
  Seoul National University of Education

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