Re: [Possible SPAM] Re: [Possible SPAM] Re: [xmca] Copernicus, Darwinand Bohr

From: Lois Holzman <lholzman who-is-at eastsideinstitute.org>
Date: Mon Jul 02 2007 - 07:57:27 PDT

 Hi Michael,
Thanks for your example. For our someday longer conversation, I'd like us to
explore change and developmental activity and what each of us means by these
terms.
Lois

> From: Wolff-Michael Roth <mroth@uvic.ca>
> Reply-To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2007 07:39:47 -0700
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> Subject: Re: [Possible SPAM] Re: [Possible SPAM] Re: [xmca] Copernicus,
> Darwinand Bohr
>
> Hi Lois,
> I am not sure and perhaps a longer conversation would allow us to
> work it out. Also, I have read 2 of your books in what now is a
> longer past--about 10 years ago when I began more seriously to look
> into cultural-historical and sociocultural theories. But I think to
> be in line with your thinking that we really are more than is seen in
> our practices, as there is are general possibilities that we can
> realize that always are a bit advanced over what we currently do, but
> that became possible in doing what we do right now. This is why we do
> not simply repeat something (identically), but that every action
> changes us in the sense that the next time our action possibilities
> are different. Yew Jin Lee and I have written about this with respect
> to our ethnographic work in a fish hatchery and what some regarded to
> be mere "routine" work, and this despite the fact that those who have
> worked there for a long time were able to point to distinct
> differences of people with different levels of competencies (e.g.,
> observing fish during feeding and recognizing when to stop). We said
> that feeding fish is not just doing, as the machines they tried
> without success, doing the same over and over again. Rather, in
> doing, doing changes, even if not apparent to the naked eye at the
> moment. But over time, the changes accumulate and become observable,
> and can be used to distinguish "expertise in feeding" from "non-
> expertise in feeding". (Connecting back to another strand.)
> Cheers,
> Michael
>
>
>
> On 29-Jun-07, at 9:52 PM, Lois Holzman wrote:
>
> Michael,
> Is what you're referring to anything like my understanding of Vygotsky's
> conception of learning leading development and what I call being who we
> are/other than who we are (who we're becoming)?
>
> Lois
>
>
>
>> From: Wolff-Michael Roth <mroth@uvic.ca>
>> Reply-To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
>> Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2007 08:59:22 -0700
>> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
>> Subject: Re: [Possible SPAM] Re: [Possible SPAM] Re: [xmca]
>> Copernicus,
>> Darwinand Bohr
>>
>> Hi Paul,
>> it would perhaps be of interest to you to follow the thinking of
>> philosophers of difference, which I think take up Marx's agenda that
>> also was taken up by Vygotsky and his students, including Klaus
>> Holzkamp who suggested that much of psychology is a reification of
>> folk beliefs rather than a real science. He, his wife Ute Osterkamp,
>> and some others then showed how psychological constructs need to be
>> categorically constructed on evolutionary and cultural-historical
>> grounds.
>>
>> I see this as a parallel effort to philosophy of difference, first
>> philosophies, that take into account their very own beginnings. Thus,
>> as one of Emmanuel Levina's book title suggests, it is a move to go
>> "Beyond Essence" and think Being as being grounded, historically, in
>> something that is "Otherwise than Being."
>>
>> Jean-Luc Nancy, another philosopher of difference, grounds being in
>> the "with" that precedes being; Thus, we have GROUPS of chimpanzees,
>> and chimpanzee experience of WITHness prior to and constituting the
>> ground of consciousness.
>>
>> :-)
>>
>> Michael
>>
>> Levinas, Emmanuel (1998). Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence
>> (Alphonso Lingis, transl.). Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press.
>> Nancy, J.-L. (2000). Being singular plural. Stanford, CA: Stanford
>> University Press.
>>
>>
>> On 28-Jun-07, at 8:41 AM, Paul Dillon wrote:
>>
>> Michael,
>>
>> I'm not at all clear as to why you think the distinction between
>> expert and novice essentializes any more than recognizing hot and
>> cold essentializes, light and dark. There are continuums:
>> temperature, luminosity, and knowledge/skill for which each of these
>> terms functions as a place marker. But there are also limits on the
>> the continuum, no?
>>
>> I'm also unclear as to what you are trying to say by invoking
>> Ilyenkov. I have been sitting on a post-in-preparation since this
>> thread began concerning Ilyenkov's theory of the "ideal" which I
>> consider very relevant to what is being attempted in
>> "toolsforthought". I hope to post it soon along with a discussion of
>> the work of Andrew Chitty and Peter Jones both of whom have done
>> work that is much more intelligible on how "intelligence" is present
>> in tools, one which doesn't however transform tools into "agents" or
>> "actants". Hopefullly I will get it distilled into something
>> suitable before this discussion ends.
>>
>> Paul Dillon
>>
>> Wolff-Michael Roth <mroth@uvic.ca> wrote:
>> Think about culture as being produced and reproduced
>> simultaneously,
>> that is, always also transformed, never the same, always in flux.
>>
>> I am trying to provide resources that people can use to jolt them out
>> of their ontologies.... and into the one Vygotsky and his students
>> had adopted from Marx.... an ontology of difference as Il'enkov
>> shows, not one of the same that dominates the current discussion,
>> which ESSENTIALIZES experts and novices.
>>
>> Michael
>>
>>
>>
>> On 28-Jun-07, at 7:36 AM, Paul Dillon wrote:
>>
>> Michael,
>>
>> I haven't read your article yet I'm wondering whether you equate
>> professor with expert, student with novice? This clearly would make
>> your statement about expertise being up for grabs a bit circular, no?
>>
>> Often a student has insights into a specific problem that the
>> professor doesn't, but you are now at the graduate level, right?
>> That is already stratospheric in relation to the first year physics
>> student being taught a section by the grad student. It is unlikely
>> that the freshman could distinguish between the expertise of the
>> professor or the grad student in a conversation about physics.
>>
>> Paul Dillon
>>
>> Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
>> Hi,
>> thinking from an ontology of difference----the hardest thing for many
>> Westerners subject to individualist ideology---means that we are
>> different from ourselves, that heterogeneity is at the hard of
>> sameness and Self. This also means that expertise is heterogeneous,
>> within individuals and across, and even within itself. This, then,
>> makes the ontological opposition of THE expert and THE novice highly
>> questionable. In a paper that David Middleton and I published not too
>> long ago, we show how this turns out to be the case in research
>> interviews conducted with respect to graphing by an undergraduate
>> physics students with professors in his own department, and who is
>> expert and who is novice with respect to a particular issue
>> continuously is up for grab.
>> Cheers,
>> Michael
>>
>> Roth, W.-M., & Middleton, D. (2006). The making of asymmetries of
>> knowing, identity, and accountability in the sequential organization
>> of graph interpretation. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 1, 11
>> 81.
>>
>>
>> On 27-Jun-07, at 7:36 PM, Louise Hawkins wrote:
>>
>> I also find issue with the distinction between expert and novice,
>> as if
>> the expert has something to give and the novice something to receive.
>> How many times is it the student who poses a question that raises a
>> point that the 'expert' learns from?
>>
>> Louise
>>
>> ________________________________
>>
>> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu]
>> On Behalf Of Michael Glassman
>> Sent: Wednesday, 27 June 2007 04:37 AM
>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Subject: RE: [Possible SPAM] Re: [Possible SPAM] Re: [xmca]
>> Copernicus,
>> Darwinand Bohr
>>
>>
>> Martin
>>
>> Why this distinction between expert and novice? What does it really
>> buy
>> us? And who gets to make the distinction? It seems to me in an
>> expert/novice scenario all power lies in the hands of those who get to
>> make this distinction on whatever level, and get to define the two
>> classes. Take a look at the political class in the United States, we
>> define experts as those who have the right cultural capital, wear the
>> right type of ties and suits, who speak in somber, modulated voices
>> with
>> a weary sigh of resignation, suggesting "of course you cannot see
>> what I
>> can see, but trust me."
>>
>> This is not to say every generation starts from scratch. Every
>> generation starts with the tools that they have, but then they figure
>> out how to use those tools to solve what invariably must be new
>> problems, or they develop new tools out of the old tools. Let's say we
>> have a set of spears we use to hunt food. There are great spear
>> throwers who use those spears and teach others to use them as well.
>> Their "expertise" in spear throwing gives them great power within the
>> community. But things change, and the spears that were once used on
>> larger animals are not as good for smaller animals. Are the spear
>> throwers going to give up their place in the community as
>> "experts?" Or
>> are they going to say, well if we just wait, or if we use the spear
>> in a
>> different way, or it is the fault of our lazy children who do not
>> train
>> in spear throwing the way previous generations did. Meanwhile the food
>> supply dwindles for the community. A young person examines the spear
>> and says, hmmm, the arrow head pierces the skin but it cannot reach
>> the
>> skin with these new animals that we hunt. Perhaps I can create
>> something else - a bow and arrow perhaps. But she is not an expert.
>> Who, in a hierarchical system of knowledge development would listen
>> and
>> adopt the work of this young innovator? This is always the danger of a
>> heirarchical system of knowledge development.
>>
>> In a more lateral system of development information is everything.
>> As a
>> species were are problem solvers, but our problem solving is based on
>> the easy access and flow of information. I just read the most
>> fascinating article by the economist Amriyat (sp?) Sen. In it he talks
>> about famine. He makes a really good argument that famine is almost
>> never about food. There is always enough food even in some of the
>> major
>> famines of the twentieth century. It is about the lack of capability
>> for getting to the food. At its core the lack of information as a tool
>> in obtaining this basic human function. What else is there other than
>> information. When we define information as static and give it value
>> separate from the problems we are working on, isn't that when we find
>> the most trouble, have the most difficulties in problems solving?
>>
>> I watch my son play his World of Warcraft game. I wish I knew more
>> about it. But I see him adapting and recalibrating constantly,
>> developing strategies and processes that see incredible to me. It is a
>> virtual world in which there are no "experts." The world and my son
>> and
>> the other players co-exist.
>>
>> I don't know if I've done such a good job trying to explore this.
>> Perhaps a problem that needs greater consideration.
>>
>> Michael
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> ________________________________
>>
>> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu on behalf of Martin Packer
>> Sent: Tue 6/26/2007 2:04 PM
>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Subject: [Possible SPAM] Re: [Possible SPAM] Re: [xmca] Copernicus,
>> Darwinand Bohr
>>
>>
>>
>> Michael, you would have each generation start on their own, from
>> scratch? No
>> experts, just novices? That really is a post-apocalyptic vision!
>>
>> My point was there is more to life (and education) than "functioning"
>> and
>> "information." The danger with the tool metaphor, and the emphasis on
>> artifacts as tools, is that they reduce all of life to the production
>> process. That is not just a conceptual mistake, it is a political
>> agenda. To
>> argue that thinking is not important, only tool use, is not to argue
>> against
>> formalization, it is to promote a purely instrumental conception of
>> human
>> action and interaction. It is to promote an extreme version of the
>> division
>> of labor, in which only a tiny elite get to think about the nature of
>> thinking, and everyone else is simply using tools skillfully but
>> thoughtlessly.
>>
>> On 6/26/07 12:40 PM, "Michael Glassman" wrote:
>>
>>> But if this information is so important, and it exists as part of the
>> problem
>>> solving tools of humanity, don't we trust humans to discover it
>> through their
>>> own activities?
>>
>>
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Received on Mon Jul 2 07:59 PDT 2007

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