Re: [xmca] Material cognition and epigenesis

From: Michalis Kontopodis <michalis.kontopodis who-is-at>
Date: Sun Oct 28 2007 - 08:32:18 PDT

Dear colleagues, we are preparing a workshop on distributed cognition
and other relational approaches at Humboldt University Berlin in June/
July 2008 or later. If you are interested in participating, please
contact me personally:

s. attached Call of Papers

Michalis Kontopodis

research associate
research cluster: preventive self
humboldt university berlin
institute of european ethnology
mohrenstr. 41
10117 berlin
tel.: +49 (0) 30 2093 3716
fax.: +49 (0) 30 2093 3739

On Oct 28, 2007, at 1:49 AM, Jay Lemke wrote:

> I am also very interested in the material aspects of cognition, or
> as I would rather say, of meaning-making (to avoid a lot of the old-
> theory baggage of the notion of "cognition" as such).
> When we think of "distributed cognition" we need to think of it as
> distributed in the sense that there are dynamical process in a
> complex system that includes, at least: brains, hormones, muscles,
> and body actions; these elements for other humans; the material
> environment including, again at least, tools and artifacts, setting
> and its conditions (e.g. lighting, noise level), and more distant
> or global aspects of the setting, such as local barometric
> pressure, day vs. night, etc.
> And then we need to also extend the distribution across time as
> well as space, so that memory and biographical history, as
> materially embedded in the individual body are included (and here
> we get close to habitus, I think), and also the nature of the
> repeated traversals across typical kinds of sites and activities in
> the social setting (e.g. reading books, using machinery, etc.)
> which brings these more general aspects of the material culture(s)
> in which the individual has been participating into the extended
> picture.
> While this might seem to be including everything and so nothing, we
> have to remember that the task of analysis is to specify just which
> elements that might potentially be involved in actions and choices,
> or problem-solving or other displays of "intelligence" can actually
> be traced as playing a role, and to what degree, and through what
> chains, linkages, or networks.
> While we can take such ideas back to Heidegger's hammer, or
> Bateson's walking stick, or Vygotsky's broom-as-a-horse, I find it
> very useful to make use of Bruno Latour's notions of actor-networks
> (actors can also be nonhuman entities in this model), though we
> need, I think, to add in linkages of processes that operate on
> different timescales (acceptable in Latour's view, but
> insufficiently emphasized), as for heterochrony.
> Such a view does, I think, connect notions of the material support
> for meaning-making to the discussion of epigenesis and neo-
> Lamarkianism. While it is fascinating to contemplate biochemical
> pathways for acquired changes to the adult to influence heritable
> DNA, to focus on that pathway seems to me to simply re-instantiate
> the ideology or fashion for molecular determinisms.
> At a more macro-level, it is not so different when we imagine that
> the kind of material environment provided by one generation
> influences the kinds of thinking available or preferred by the
> next, and I would include affectively influential elements of the
> environment prominently in such an analysis (from emotional support
> for children to frequent encounters with scary movies).
> In between, we have the important notion, which I think is what Kai
> has been emphasizing, that as we work with tools or in a culturally
> shaped environment, the ways our bodies and brains typically work
> also alters to adapt to the tools at hand and settings and
> activities in which we find ourselves. This leads developmentally
> to Bourdieu's notion of habitus, which can be seen as mediating
> across timescales, between developmental longer-term processes and
> dispositions for action in shorter timescale moments. Without
> doubt, some of these effects must appear in brain chemistry,
> neuronal organization (cf. Edelman), and perhaps somatic and even
> sex-cell DNA. But the whole point of epigenetic models is that even
> if information is passed to the foetus, via DNA or maternal
> chemistry, it is not solely determinative of phenotypic
> expressions. Evolution is the process of adaptation to a RANGE of
> likely environmental conditions, and what is inherited via DNA is a
> selective sensitivity to the kinds of environmental input that
> trigger options within the range that the genotype can accomodate.
> What we inherit is information about what features of the
> environment we would do well to take into account -- from the
> chemical environment of the womb to the linguistic environment of
> the home to, one must suppose, the tool environment of the culture.
> _How_ we respond to these elements of the "external DNA" is what I
> would like us to understand better, case by case.
> JAY.
> PS. In many theories of the origin of cellular life, the only
> heritable information originally was external. DNA was its
> internalization, a step that rendered the information both more
> reliably available and, by its being then more insulated from
> current environmental conditions, capable of indexing longer-term
> conditions-and-adaptations, as well as a range of potential
> conditions-and-adaptations.
> At 03:23 PM 10/27/2007, you wrote:
>> Dear Helena,
>> Thank you for your interest in material cognition. From my part
>> these are
>> ideas that have only been recently elaborated and still being
>> work-in-progress: I am using this list deliberately to test and
>> extend the
>> ideas in question. Thus far, I have just one conference paper (and
>> couple
>> manuscripts) that I referred in another message in which some of the
>> concepts are elaborated a bit
>> (
>> Hakkarainen_Lonka_Paavola.pdf). I
>> currently am extending the ideas by relying on intuition that we
>> can give
>> knowledge work a materialist explanation (rather than seeing it as
>> a process
>> of playing only with ideas). One of the assumptions of our paper
>> is that
>> humans have distributed minds so that we may see artifacts as part
>> of your
>> mind understood as a wireless network of intelligence (we are here
>> following here Merlin Donald’s and Andy Clark’s footsteps). We
>> may interpret
>> the process of developing expertise as one in which artifacts
>> literally
>> become a part of your cognitive architecture (in the form of long-
>> term
>> working memory or something like that). Perhaps, the processes by
>> which the
>> structure and functions of your brain become profoundly adapted to
>> support
>> your activity may be seen as an aspect of material cognition. By
>> following
>> Mike’s suggestion I am planning to go through Sylvia Scribner’s
>> work in
>> order to deeper my understanding of her pioneering research on
>> working
>> intelligence.
>> I feel strongly that my psychological education was so narrow that
>> it did
>> not provide very good resources for understanding cultural
>> cognitions.
>> Anyway, I presume that Bourdieu’s concept of habitus may be more
>> useful than
>> the notion of tacit knowledge for understanding the kind of
>> situation you
>> are referring to (habitus is a bit fuzzy notion and, thereby, not
>> without
>> its problems). Wolff-Michael Roth has been using it in an
>> illuminative way
>> to examine, for instance, teachers’ practices. From the epistemic
>> perspective the problem of your workplace case may be that the
>> participants
>> are not themselves aware, and, thereby, unable to reflect on and
>> deliberately transform their habitus. They may just feel
>> existentially that
>> their activity patterns do fit in the prevailing managerial
>> practices.
>> Perhaps some sort of mirror material (videotaped practices) or
>> change-laboratory interventions would assist in making visible,
>> reflecting
>> on, and transforming the practices in question.
>> I have come to understand that higher-level transformative
>> learning or
>> expansive learning that Yrjö Engeström has been talking all
>> along is
>> learning to does not only concern your beliefs but your practices
>> and,
>> thereby also, habitus. Although this kind of learning has critical
>> role in
>> many human pursuits (learning to do academic studies, learning to
>> teach,
>> learning to publish), people are often not at all aware of it.
>> Consequently,
>> tend to blame their own stupidity or lack of intelligence whenever
>> there is
>> a failure to learn. When you are provided access to collective
>> epistemic
>> practices, specific support tailored to your evolving epistemic
>> competencies, and as much time as you need you are likely to be
>> able to
>> learn anything.
>> Sincerely your,
>> Kai
>> _____
>> From: Mike Cole []
>> Sent: Saturday, October 27, 2007 6:44 PM
>> To: Worthen, Helena Harlow
>> Cc:; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Subject: Re: [xmca] From epistemic hospitability to material
>> intelligence
>> This is a great topic in all its ramifications, Helena & Kai.
>> Mike Rose's book mentioned by Kai is a great starting place.
>> We published that paper in XMCA well before the book in which it is a
>> chapter came out. It is a beaut.
>> Sylvia Scribner's work on work is also very relevant. Some is
>> available
>> online at <> in our newsletter
>> archives.
>> Google lchc for it.
>> And, believe it or not, an op ed piece by David Brooks that
>> appeared in our
>> local paper today is also relevant.
>> I will forward in a min.
>> mike
>> On 10/27/07, Worthen, Helena Harlow < <>
>>> wrote:
>> Good morning from central Illinois:
>> >From what I can tell on the news, the fires in California are
>> settling down.
>> I hope this is true.
>> I am very interested in, and would like to hear more about, Kai's
>> recent
>> message. I'm attaching it below in case someone else wants to
>> refer to it,
>> although I know we are not supposed to send long cumulative
>> messages. But
>> there are several concepts to which he refers that I would like to
>> hear more
>> about and discuss on this list.
>> Specifically: material cognition, the "capability of merging and
>> fusing
>> various instruments with our cognitive architecture and collectively
>> developing, cultivating and refining sophisticated material culture,"
>> intelligent materiality and material intelligence, digital/physical
>> artefacts, social practices related to working knowledge, epistemic
>> diversity, and the notion that tools (he gives books and papers as an
>> example, I believe) as materialized intelligence.
>> All of these hover around my central interest, which is the often
>> unspoken
>> (sometimes called "tacit") knowledge that people working develop
>> and share
>> about how to get the work done. For example: a class which we have
>> been
>> asked to teach in November will take place at a plant where the
>> workers are
>> represented by the grainmillers' union. This is an old plant.
>> Under the
>> original management, the workers essentially ran the plant -- they
>> had the
>> knowledge and the means to run the plant efficiently and safely.
>> Then the
>> plant was sold and new management came in. This new management
>> took an
>> adversarial position against the union and attempted to take over
>> control of
>> the work without fully understanding how it was done (without
>> exploring the
>> social practices related to the working knowledge of the plant?).
>> A bitter,
>> non-productive culture developed. Now another new management has
>> taken over,
>> and this new management has gone to the union and together they have
>> approached us to teach a class to the supervisors that is
>> essentially about
>> getting them to respect the working material knowledge that the
>> workers have
>> developed. "Leave us alone and we'll run the plant better than you
>> can ever
>> do it," the union is saying.
>> I would appreciate a continuation of this discussion of this topic.
>> Thanks -- Helena Worthen
>> ________________________________________
>> From: <> xmca-
>> [
>> <>]
>> On Behalf
>> Of Kai Hakkarainen [ <>
>> Sent: Saturday, October 27, 2007 2:55 AM
>> To: <>; 'eXtended
>> Mind,
>> Culture, Activity'
>> Subject: RE: [xmca] From epistemic hospitability to material
>> intelligence
>> My intention was not to claim that there would a actual censorship
>> and I
>> understand that there has been
>> great deal of difficulties in CA in general and SD in particular.
>> I was just
>> wondering if there was a length limit or
>> something like that in action - but apparently not -- because mail
>> sent in
>> different days did not go through, but discussion
>> Was otherwise going on. I am very much looking forward to take
>> part in ISCAR
>> 2008 conference. Thank you for the
>> article copy!
>> Sincerely yours,
>> Kaif
>> Kai Hakkarainen, Ph.D.
>> Professor (Learning and Learning Environments)
>> Savonlinna Department of Teacher Education
>> University of Joensuu
>> Kuninkaankartanonkatu 5, P.O. Box 55
>> FIN-57101 Savonlinna, Finland
>> GSM +358 50 4129572
>> Tel +358-15-5117686
>> Fax +358 15 53 1060
>> Email: <mailto: <>
>> > <>
>> Director, Centre for Research on Networked Learning and Knowledge
>> Building,
>> Department of Psychology
>> Address: P.O. Box 9 (Siltavuorenpenger 20D),
>> FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
>> GSM: +358-50-4129572
>> Fax: +358-9-19129443
>> e-mail: <mailto: <>
>> > <>
>> < <>
>> <>
>> _____
>> From: Mike Cole [mailto: <>
>> Sent: Saturday, October 27, 2007 1:13 AM
>> To: <>;
>> eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Subject: Re: [xmca] From epistemic hospitability to material
>> intelligence
>> Hi Kai--
>> Lots of interesting ideas in your note.
>> The preface kind of bothered me. I can understand how email to
>> xmca can go
>> astray -- ucsd
>> has been in a very difficult location vis a vis local fires and
>> has been
>> closed for the week... and for
>> a while there were electricity cutbacks. Things go astray even in
>> better
>> conditions.
>> But what mechanism exists for censoring email sent by members of
>> xmca to the
>> list?
>> Non-members cannot send, so far as I know, but I know of no
>> mechanism for
>> keeping
>> someone from subscribing and none for intercepting messages once
>> sent. Do
>> you?
>> If so, lets get rid of it!!
>> Where in his writings does LSV talk about epistemic artifacts, or
>> is this
>> your way of
>> talking about, for example, his discussion of written language?
>> I fully agree about problems with the notion of IQ and the methods of
>> measuring
>> intelligence. There is a pretty extensive literature on this topic
>> including
>> a short
>> discussion in Cultural Psychology and the following paper, originally
>> written in
>> 1981, which has appeared in a couple of places.
>> I look forward to following the link you provided.
>> mike
>> PS-- are you going to the ISCAR conf next may on development at work?
>> On 10/26/07, Kai Hakkarainen < <mailto:
>> <>
>> <>>
>> wrote:
>> Dear friends,
>> I am submitting this message for the third time to the XMCA list
>> hoping that
>> the two earlier versions sent couple days ago were lost in
>> cyperspace rather
>> than unfairly censored. I am sorry that these waiting processes have
>> resulted this message gradually becoming longer and longer... I
>> will try to
>> create shorter ones in future.
>> Best regards,
>> Kai
>> Dear Jay,
>> Thank you for your insightful comments. I made a comment considering
>> epistemic hospitability because the discussion concerning the
>> Watson affair
>> did not appear to go anywhere. I think that it would be more
>> profitable, in
>> epistemic terms, to problematize our basic notions of intelligence
>> than to
>> get stuck with the Watson's case. The conservative notions of
>> intelligence
>> as a fixed individual characteristic have become social
>> representations
>> constraining and restricting in many ways people's life in terms
>> of making
>> them falsely believe that they cannot overcome this or that learning
>> challenge or acquire corresponding expertise.
>> While thinking about your comments I was reading David Baird's Thing
>> knowledge that is about the "forgotten" instrument-driven material
>> history
>> of science. It also tells the materialist story of Watson's and Crick
>> discovery of the double helix in terms of examining concretely in the
>> materially embodied modelling space (with sticks and balls) "which
>> atoms
>> like to sit next to each other".
>> Baird's materialist epistemology aims at revealing the
>> thus-far-largely-ignored working knowledge embedded in
>> construction of
>> instruments and associated manipulative skills and "fingertip
>> knowledge".
>> Due to the textually biased science studies (overemphasizing ideas on
>> paper), this material aspect of the greatest intellectual
>> achievements of
>> humanity has been disregarded.
>> It came to my mind that there might be a corresponding bias in the
>> history
>> of investigating human intelligence. As Mike Rose pointed out in
>> his Mind at
>> Work, investigators have systematically under-evaluated intelligence
>> involved in manual work in general and female occupations in
>> particular. One
>> of his examples is his own mother who was a first-generation
>> immigrant and
>> functioned as a waitress across all her life. Mike's analysis
>> reveals, in an
>> illuminated way, the parallelly distributed processes required by
>> waitress
>> work carried under both time-related and emotional pressures.
>> Corresponding
>> excellence in intelligence, would be extremely hard to simulate
>> with any AI
>> program, is needed for pursuing head-dressing or pluming. One of
>> human
>> species-specific strengths appears to be our material cognition,
>> i.e.,
>> capability of merging and fusing various instruments with our
>> cognitive
>> architecture and collectively developing, cultivating, and refining
>> sophisticated material cultures. Perhaps, a larger degree of
>> epistemic
>> hospitability would assist in acknowledging the intelligibility
>> embedded in
>> materiality.
>> If disregarding intelligent materiality is the first flaw of the
>> received
>> view of intelligence, it appears that ignoring material intelligence
>> involved in creative work is the second one. It appears that the
>> traditional
>> approach that reduces intelligence to mental processing of pure
>> ideas tend
>> disregard the fact that pursuit of creating epistemic artefacts is
>> through
>> and through material in nature in terms of taking place in space
>> and time
>> and being embedded in a heterogeneous network of digital or physical
>> artefacts. At least I prefer work with printed texts (physical
>> artifacts)
>> when evaluating theses by requests of the university. All
>> investigators I
>> know have surrounded themselves with books, articles and other
>> entities of
>> materialized intelligence.
>> I am aware of Wolff-Michael's work concerning scientific cognition as
>> something that is disciplined both to minds and bodies as well as his
>> efforts of re-defining scientific literature, and appreciate it. What
>> appears to be missing from some sociocultural accounts of scientific
>> cognition is the acknowledgement of importance of epistemic
>> mediation, i.e.,
>> mediation related to creating epistemic artifacts. In Vygotskian
>> terms,
>> creation of epistemic artefacts provide a kind of double stimulation
>> regarding object-oriented inquiry. Novel ideas emerge at the
>> surface-boundary artefacts, in the sustained processes of
>> elaborating and
>> extending them, rather than merely within the mind. This kind of
>> mediation
>> has a central role in a large European Knowledge-Practices Laboratory
>> project ( < <>>
>> <> that I am involved in. The
>> project relies on an
>> assumption that intelligence of academic learning and research is
>> embedded
>> in collectively cultivated knowledge practices, i.e., social
>> practices
>> related to working knowledge. In this regard, I share your
>> observation
>> concerning smart communities making smart people by capitalizing
>> (among
>> other things) on epistemic diversity.
>> One example of material intelligence (that comes to my mind, so to
>> speak) is
>> creation of a scientific publication culture. Cultivation such a
>> culture may
>> require one decade of deliberate efforts. After being created,
>> however, the
>> mere access to collective knowledge practices in question tends to
>> enable
>> newcomers to start cultivating corresponding epistemic
>> competencies. The
>> mere belief in well-known slogan "Publish or perish" may not help
>> one to
>> make even one article. An engagement is appropriate academic
>> knowledge
>> practices, in contrast, helps, often even without any deliberate
>> instructional efforts. Presumably, participation in social
>> practices brings
>> such transformation of habitus about that publication becomes
>> gradually a
>> second nature of the participant. Tremendous efforts required from
>> any agent
>> to learn to publish may be considerably compressed when corresponding
>> collective epistemic practices are available. Beforehand the
>> transformation
>> is considered insurmountable but afterward it feels trivial; the
>> participants are likely to start wondering why they were not able
>> to pursue
>> publications all along. This is just one example close to all
>> academic
>> investigators' life concerning intelligence embedded in epistemic
>> practices.
>> I feel that methodological reasons have made material intelligence
>> difficult
>> to be acknowledged. The predominating "still-picture" psychology
>> has focused
>> on analyzing human intelligence (as an individual and mental
>> characteristic)
>> in single testing situations. Whenever only one situation is
>> addressed,
>> individual differences are likely to be the main source of
>> variance. In
>> order to appreciate material intelligence, investigators have to
>> take the
>> developmental approach seriously and address evolvement of
>> intelligent
>> activity across situations and within cultural context. The
>> developmental
>> stance is likely to reveal novel aspects of intelligence as well
>> as enable
>> investigators to observe transformation of intellectual processes
>> from
>> psychic to materially embodied form (and back?).
>> Every normal human being appears to have a "super plastic
>> brain" (Merlin
>> Donald) that adapts to cognitive challenges encountered across
>> sustained
>> efforts. As a psychologist I am interested in personal
>> transformations that
>> sustained participation in advanced epistemic practices brings
>> about. The
>> participants' cognitions coevolve with collective knowledge
>> practices.
>> Constant engagement in demanding knowledge practices forces the
>> participants
>> to stretch his or her capabilities, this elicits further cognitive
>> growth,
>> and these achievements open up gates of even more demanding
>> environments of
>> intellectual socialization. It appears to me that Nobel prize
>> winners are
>> likely to be ones who get an early epistemic socialization to such
>> expert
>> cultures and take active part in mind-shaping transactive
>> processes involved
>> in developing and cultivating innovative knowledge practices
>> across decades.
>> Epistemic hospitability is a metaphor that I find illuminating,
>> but I do not
>> consider it to be a central explanatory concept concerning my
>> pursuit of
>> understanding material cognition.
>> Sincerely yours,
>> Kai
>> From: Jay Lemke [mailto: <mailto: <>
>>> <> ]
>> Sent: 22. lokakuuta 2007 3:46
>> To: <mailto: <>
>>> <>
>> eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Subject: Re: [xmca] Epistemic hospitability
>> I thought that Kai's connecting here to Pierre Levy makes a very
>> interesting
>> contribution.
>> I've also read some of Levy's work, which is quite akin, though from
>> different sources, to notions of "distributed cognition" or
>> perhaps to ideas
>> like those Wolf-Michael has expressed about "scientific literacy"
>> being a
>> collective characteristic of a community, rather than something we
>> should
>> attribute to or aim to teach to individuals.
>> As a critique of the notion of "intelligence" itself, it adds to
>> an older
>> viewpoint, namely that intelligence is not "a trait" but rather a
>> response
>> to a situation, and not invariable, even for individuals, across all
>> possible situations. I am very smart at some things, and no doubt
>> much less
>> so about others. What is added here is that one reason I am more
>> successful
>> some of the time is because of the ways in which I connect with
>> others
>> (Latour might add that those 'others' need not be humans, but any
>> sort of
>> semiotic mediational means). I am smart in large part because I
>> operate in
>> "smart" communities (again, no community is smart about
>> everything), and
>> especially insofar as I and others in these communities know how to
>> synergize and leverage our collective intellectual (and other)
>> resources.
>> So from this point of view, a smarter community probably also
>> needs to be a
>> more diverse one ... diverse in ideas and perspectives. Not
>> because of the
>> joys of moral tolerance, or because tolerance for others helps insure
>> tolerance for me, but because in the long run I benefit from
>> having all
>> sorts of ideas, even detestable and crackpot ones, available in
>> the public
>> space.
>> What kinds of principles for operating as an intellectual
>> community make a
>> community more collectively intelligent across the widest possible
>> range of
>> problems, issues, and situations?
>> Epistemic hospitability might well be one. But it seems to me that
>> it means
>> not just that we "welcome" in some sense the views we think are
>> foolish or
>> even immoral, but that we also denounce them, or endorse them, or
>> withhold
>> judgment, or engage with them ... each of us, according to our
>> viewpoints,
>> so as to make the community richer by way of the presence in it of
>> ANY
>> viewpoint.
>> I've also found, over the years, that it's a good intellectual
>> exercise to
>> try to figure out why someone would HOLD or espouse views that I
>> consider to
>> be crazy, stupid, uninformed, or recklessly amoral. I think most
>> of us do
>> this with respect to views held in the past, or in other cultures.
>> I think
>> it is MORE rather than less appropriate to do the same for today's
>> range of
>> views, AND to refrain from the easy dismissals from which we learn
>> nothing
>> as a community. We all know what those dismissals are: he's
>> stupid, he's
>> uninformed, he's immoral, he's pursuing self-interest, etc. (BTW,
>> gender of
>> pronouns chosen advisedly.)
>> I suppose in many ways those are mostly the 'ad hominem'
>> arguments, but they
>> are unwise, not because they are untrue (often they are), nor
>> because the
>> source does not matter to an argument (in many ways it does, and
>> we all
>> recognize this in practice), but because we learn nothing from
>> making such
>> arguments.
>> We say to our students that there are no dumb questions, even if
>> we don't
>> quite believe that, because we want to promote a dialogue in which
>> learning
>> can occur. There are pernicious beliefs, surely, (and even true
>> beliefs can
>> be pernicious, unfortunately) but there are, I think, no beliefs
>> that are
>> not also opportunities for the community to learn something from.
>> IF others
>> in the community find the right ways to respond.
>> All that said, why is The Times still interviewing this guy, at
>> 79, and more
>> than a half-century after his important scientific work?
>> especially given
>> that most of his unorthodox views do him no credit? Are they being
>> epistemically hospitable? or seeking to profit from a long period of
>> capitalist investment in his "celebrity"? -- or is that another
>> dismissal?
>> (I hope not.)
>> JAY.
>> At 07:06 AM 10/21/2007, you wrote:
>> Dear friends,
>> I have just joined this list and do not know the earlier discussion.
>> Nevertheless I wanted to share with you some quotations that I
>> found from
>> Peirre Levy's (1997) Collective Intelligence book, quotations that
>> may get
>> discussion toward a more positive trajectory than mere focusing on
>> Watson's
>> remarks appear to do. From Pierre Levy's perspective Watson's
>> remark and all
>> other corresponding remarks are violations of epistemic or cognitive
>> hospitability. Just like any other kind of human activity,
>> epistemic affairs
>> require us to provide hospitability to our fellow human beings.
>> When we fail
>> to acknowledge someone's intelligence because he does not have our
>> own
>> cognitive socialization or our kind of "proper" education, it is
>> violation
>> of epistemic hospitability. Racism implies, of course, an extreme
>> lack of
>> such epistemic desirability.
>> "My initial premise is based on the notion of a universally
>> distributed
>> intelligence. No one knows everything, everyone knows something, all
>> knowledge resides in humanity. . The light of mind shines even
>> where we
>> attempt to persuade other that no intelligence exists: "educational
>> failure", "rote execution", "underdevelopment". The overarching
>> judgment of
>> ignorance turns against the judges. If you are tempted to judge
>> someone as
>> ignorant, look for the context in which his knowledge can be
>> turned into
>> gold." (Levy, 1997, p. 14)
>> "Regardless of my temporary social position, regardless of the
>> judgment of
>> an educational institution about my abilities, I can also become an
>> opportunity for learning to someone else. Through my experience of
>> life, my
>> professional career, my social and cultural habits, I can - since
>> knowledge
>> is coextensive with life - provide knowledge resources for
>> community. Even
>> if I am unemployed, or without money or a diploma, condemned to
>> life in
>> ghetto, illiterate, I am not useless. I am not interchangeable. I
>> have an
>> image, a position, dignity, a personal and positive value within the
>> knowledge space. All of us have the right to be acknowledged as a
>> knowledge
>> identity." (Levy, 1997, P. 13)
>> As Levy argued, "in the age of knowledge, failure to recognize the
>> other as
>> an intelligent being is to deny his true social identity" (Levy,
>> 1997, p.
>> 15).
>> I have used the epistemic-hospitability metaphor in many public
>> talks in
>> Finland; it appears to make people to question at least some of their
>> presuppositions concerning intelligence. As psychologist, I
>> consider talking
>> about these issues to be very important. Together with my
>> colleagues I have
>> investigated conceptions of intelligence of students and teachers
>> of my
>> country that revealed a strong gender and age effect: Males (both
>> students
>> and teachers) appear to think that inherited and fixed abilities
>> determine
>> what you may intellectually achieve whereas females tend to think
>> that your
>> own epistemic efforts are crucial. Perhaps this is one of reason
>> for the
>> female students becoming a large majority in high schools and
>> universities.
>> Further, older generations of teachers represent the fixed-
>> abilities view
>> much more strongly than younger generations (the latter ones are
>> likely to
>> be used to surpass themselves). Watson is clearly a representative
>> of his
>> own gender & generation in terms of having a non-dynamic view of
>> intelligence as a fixed and given entity.
>> I am bringing these issues up because I feel that not only racism
>> is at
>> stake here but also assumptions concerning the very nature of human
>> intelligence that make it hard to overcome racist tendencies.
>> Together with
>> my colleagues, I have developed a framework of networked
>> intelligence so as
>> to contribute to problematizing the received conceptions of
>> intelligence
>> (see
>> < <
>> Hakkarainen_Lonka_Paavola.pdf>
>> Hakkarainen_Lonka_Paavola.pdf>
>> <
>> Hakkarainen_Lonka_Paavola.pdf>
>> Hakkarainen_Lonka_Paavola.pdf ). It
>> is just a preliminary sketch based on premises probably well known
>> in this
>> circle about relevant issues; I am interested in parallel and,
>> perhaps, more
>> mature cultural-psychological reconceptualizations concerning what
>> intelligence is all about.
>> Sincerely yours,
>> Kai
>> Kai Hakkarainen, Ph.D.
>> Professor (Learning and Learning Environments)
>> Savonlinna Department of Teacher Education
>> University of Joensuu
>> Kuninkaankartanonkatu 5, P.O. Box 55
>> FIN-57101 Savonlinna, Finland
>> GSM +358 50 4129572
>> Tel +358-15-5117686
>> Fax +358 15 53 1060
>> Email: <mailto: <>
>>> <>
>> Director, Centre for Research on Networked Learning and Knowledge
>> Building,
>> Department of Psychology
>> Address: P.O. Box 9 (Siltavuorenpenger 20D),
>> FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
>> GSM: +358-50-4129572
>> Fax: +358-9-19129443
>> e-mail: <mailto: <>
>>> <>
>> < <>
>> <>
>> _______________________________________________
>> xmca mailing list
>> <mailto: <>>
>> <>
>> < <>
>> <>
>> _______________________________________________
>> xmca mailing list
>> <>
>> <>
>> _______________________________________________
>> xmca mailing list
> Jay Lemke
> Professor
> University of Michigan
> School of Education
> 610 East University
> Ann Arbor, MI 48109
> Tel. 734-763-9276
> Email.
> Website. <>
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

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Received on Sun Oct 28 08:43 PDT 2007

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