Re: [xmca] artefact 3

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at>
Date: Thu Jan 10 2008 - 05:08:27 PST

Briefly Paul, yes I think there is a hint of "flattening" in what I have
proposed. I said at the outset that the paper only aims to clarify
fundamentals of CHAT. It is not reductionist. I am not denying the
validity of Wartofsky's categorisations, I have just never found the
occasion to use them. I think the only way you are going to get through the
vagueness of concept of culture and cultural difference is to have an
absolutely clear meaning for the word "culture". That in no way reduces,
bypasses or overlooks the infinite complexity of questions cultural
difference, which involves far more than a mass of artefacts.

You say that you 'share Mike's concern about the utility of that
"cultural/social" distinction.' I find that an unhelpful term and I don't
know where it comes from. Are you saying that it is not helpful to
distinguish between the material things (artefacts of various sorts), which
are used to implement some social practice or institution and the actual
actions and operations that constitute that social practice or institution?
That the difference between what people do and what they say, between what
happened in history and what was written about it, between the academic
activity that goes on in a university and the books and buildings that make
up a university? That the common difference indicated here - between things
and the activities in which things are "activated" - is not useful?

At 01:52 AM 10/01/2008 -0800, you wrote:
>I haven't participated much in this discussion although I have read every
>post. In a way that has been part of the problem since I've followed out
>the threads and references. I often begin responses to threads that I
>don't finish in one sitting and save in the drafts folder. So it seems
>coincidental (synchronistic?) that I was preparing an post entitled
>"artefact" that got stored in the drafts folder just about the same time
>Andy must have been preparing his "artefacts" post. Now it seems relevant
>to at least share and expand.
> This was stored 4 or 5 days ago:
> Mike's "ugh", in a message responding to my post questioning the word
> "culture" , impelled me to read the chapter of Cullt Psych that he
> attached I read Cult Psych 5 or 6 years ago but really had forgotten the
> specifics of the model of culture presented in the book, the key
> elements of which I understand to be : the ideal/material duality
> implicit in all artefacts; Wartofsky's 3 types of artefacts,; the
> notions of schema and script, in which (at least) type-2 artefacts are
> linked contextually to activity/practice; where context also has has a
> dual existence as "that which surrounds" and "that which weaves
> together." The term culture reconnected to its etymological origins
> in cultivating, a garden being an appropriate metaphor for the domain
> of artifact mediated activity or practice whose manifestation in
> "cultures", coherent and consistent groups of activities/practices, in w .
> Although I can see some of the relations between Hegel and CHAT that
> Andy proposes; e.g., the relationship of meaning to scripts or schemas
> (CHAT) and that between the universal and the particular (Hegel),
> And that's as far as I got before storing it the drafts folder.
> Moving on: if Andy is using mike's model of "culture" I don't believe
> he adequately deals with the differences implicit Wartofsky's
> artefact-type differentiation. In fact, it seems as though all the
> artefacts in Andy's presentation are Type-1, which on another plane is
> analogous the analytic philosophers' mania to reduce all logic to
> first-order propositional logic, a comparison Andy might well be able to
> relate to (beneath Godel's beaming grin). The idea that artefacts can
> be usefully categorized as "cultural" and "social" seems a step backward
> from Wartofsky's approach, especially as enhanced by mike's refinement
> of the type-2 artefacts into schemas and scripts (pure and practical
> reason?) while reserving the aesthetic dimension for type-3 artefacts
> (play, imagination, fantasy, art, etc. w/ no grounding in
> "necessity"). So I share mike's concern about the utiltiy of that
> "cultural/social" distinction.
> At the same time, I am not persuaded that mike's appeal to Geertz can
> provide a "coherence" keystone that could hold together all the different
> elements that one might want to call "a BongoBongo culture" as opposed
> to a "BingoBango culture" . It is well known that Geertz's "thick
> description" really provides no guidelines allowing someone other than
> Geertz to go out and find the same thing, produce the same
> description. So I remain skeptical about the utility of "culture" as
> anything more than a catch-all term. But insofar as one uses that term,
> Andy's definition "all artefacts" seems inadequate.
> On the other hand, the Sawchuk message that Andy forwarded, emphasizes
> the important contribution I think Andy is trying to get at. Schemas and
> scripts are universals the specific meanings they assume in real-time
> activity the particulars. The universal-particular yes providing an
> important insight into the relation between the cultural-historical
> processes and structures and the individuals participation. Sawchuk
> moves in a very useful direction from my perspective . . . especially his
> emphasis on the use-value/.exchange-value dichotomy .
> Well, this one doesn't get stored, incomplete as it may be. Perhaps
> Andy could elaborate a bit on the flattening of artefacts into type-1
> that I perceive in his analysis .
> Paul
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  Andy Blunden : tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435,
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Received on Thu Jan 10 05:09 PST 2008

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