Re: [xmca] Wrap up on discussion of paper

From: Bruce Robinson <bruce who-is-at>
Date: Thu Jan 03 2008 - 16:03:34 PST

Oh.. I'd just got round to starting to write something. Late as usual.
Does this mean you haven't really got time to carry on or just that you
think things have come to a natural break?
I ask as I think the issues I would raise perhaps haven't been the main
ones in the discussion up to now (though I think they follow on from
your response to Steve G, relating to the question of whether CHAT can
be extended to be a general social theory and if indeed that is what
your are trying to do). Is that a separate discussion perhaps? Or are
you prepared to carry on?

Bruce R

Andy Blunden wrote:
> Well, I think it's time for me to thank everyone for their input on my
> paper. I knew that it was going to be difficult, and it was, but we
> managed it, and I am particularly thankful for those of you who really
> took the time to sweat over my arcane thoughts and crack them open for
> you, whether you actually spoke up in the chat or not. I think
> Bourdieu has really staked his claim for contributing to a resolution
> of the problems I have had in mind, so thanks to those who introduced
> him to the discussion.
> A final (?) response to Mike. Yes, one of the conclusions which is
> implicit in this ontology is that the line between nature and nurture
> is not one which can be set in principle from the outset. It is an
> always-open distinction. Therefore, the category of "artefact" always
> indicates a product of nature which has been worked upon for human
> purposes. Whether it is 90% nature and 10% nurture or vice versa, will
> always be, I think, an open question. Therefore an ontology cannot
> draw such a line. But we can distinguish between what is material and
> what is thought and what is a form of activity "trafficking" between
> the two. And yes that adds up to a "circular definition." It could not
> be otherwise. And that is, I think, a simple rendering of Hegel's
> "logical" rendering of the same idea as Universal, Individual and
> Particular,
> Thanks all,
> Andy
> At 08:15 AM 3/01/2008 -0800, you wrote:
>> The conclusion I take away from this discussion is that there is an
>> ineluctable-
>> a "hazy borderland" where the borders of what we can imagine (a cultural
>> process) and what is "really there" 'in the sense that it is
>> resisting my actions"
>> (a natural process).
>> Is that an acceptable formulation of Andy's Hegel-derived ontology?
>> mike
>> .
>> On Jan 2, 2008 6:31 PM, Andy Blunden <> wrote:
>> > This idea is something that has become clearer to me since
>> completing this
>> > article about a year ago.
>> >
>> > It is an ontology for the purpose of understanding human subjectivity,
>> > Steve, so it is concerned with the kind of "things" we can perceive or
>> > sensibly talk about. (Just like one has a "unit of analysis" for a
>> certain
>> > project, one has an ontology for a certain project.) So for
>> example, you
>> > can say that a certain kind of thing (such as a comet for example)
>> exists
>> > and we all understand that it would be absurd to claim that the
>> existence
>> > of the comet depended on us thinking about it. But if you get right
>> down
>> > to
>> > what you mean by the word "comet" then I would have to say that
>> while the
>> > claim has a basis in nature, nature does not know about "things" or
>> > "theories" or "forces" or any such thing. Nature is what is not a
>> human
>> > labour process. We know it is such that it constrains our activity,
>> and we
>> > test out that boundary in making and using artefacts - all of
>> which must
>> > obey "the laws of nature" - and engaging in practical activity -
>> which is
>> > also subject to the laws of physics insofar as we do anything with an
>> > artefact (including our own body).
>> >
>> > Of course Steve, I am open to persuasion!! This idea is only a
>> couple of
>> > months old. But I really do think that if we establish this at the
>> outset,
>> > we can clear up a lot of confusion in psychology. There is nothing
>> in this
>> > claim that denies that nature exists and has its own ways
>> independently of
>> > us. But there is nothing that can be said of it which does not entail
>> > reference to artefacts (such as instruments or bits of matter), ideas
>> > (such
>> > as theories, concepts) and practical activity. Theses on Feuerbach
>> agrees
>> > with me on that.
>> >
>> >
>> the idea at
>> > slightly greater length in the context of Hegel critique.
>> >
>> > Some people want an ontology that says there are signs and tools. An
>> > ontology like that just generates confusion, IMHO. Some people use an
>> > ontology which says there are ideas and matter. Equally, this leads
>> only
>> > to
>> > confusion. Having the right ontology helps a lot in step two. But I am
>> > most
>> > certainly open to persuasion.
>> >
>> > Andy
>> >
>> >
>> >
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Received on Thu Jan 3 16:05 PST 2008

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