Re: [xmca] artefact 4

From: Paul Dillon <phd_crit_think who-is-at>
Date: Sat Jan 12 2008 - 14:46:06 PST

  sorry to be luring you away from writing the report . . . so i'll answer without raising anything additional.
  first, yeah i misinterpreted, interpreting the "ugh" as the expression of an emotional envelope accompanying a thought capable of being verbally expressed in multiple ways one of which might be "do i have to go over this again". I probably thought that because I felt really stupid seeing ch5 upon opening the attacment, thinking, "Jeez, dumbo, why didn't you remember that? Some Lacanian mirror maze, huh? Mea culpa.
  second, I personally have never thought that you made an ideal v. material artefact distinction. As I understand it Type-1, Type-2 and Type-3 artefacts all have both material and ideal dimensions. But the ways in which these different types of artefacts appear in activity, the types of relations each type of artefact with the subject and object of the activity, and the types of activity systems within which each type of artefact can occur all vary. That is the basis of my criiticism of Andy's proposal.. But I never intended to say that the artefact typology iimplies ideal /material distinction.
  My statement concerning your use of Geertz comes from some other passages. First are the last two sentences of the preceding section: " If one accepts this characterization of artifacts as the linchpin of cultural mediation along the lines suggested by Wartofsky, one next step is to look at ways in which artifacts of the three different kinds are woven together in the process of joint human activity. How patterned are the artifacts constituting human culture? " .Aren't the words "cohesion and coherence " in the following section's title a form of restatement of "how patterned?", how woven together are the different types of artefacts a group uses?
  The following two passages from ch5 further led me to my conclusion about the use of Geertz:
    "Geertz is justly famous for developing the notion that different parts of culture cohere such that, for example, one could use a Balinese cockfight or puppet theater (tertiary artifacts in Wartofsky's scheme of things) as an organizing metaphor for all of Balinese society (Geertz, 1973a). In the early '70s, Geertz cited with approval Max Weber's image of humankind as "an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun," declaring that "I take culture to be those webs" (Geertz, 1973b. p. 5). Later in that same volume, Geertz suggested that culture should be conceived of by analogy with a recipe or a computer program, which he referred to as "control mechanisms."
  "Geertz is one of the pivotal people in my efforts to reconcile the ideas about cultural mediation and development that I learned from the Russian cultural-historical psychologists and the work of contemporary cultural anthropologists. "
  Seemed to me a justifiable conclusion.
  Finally, I agree with Helen and you about bringing it all back down to earth, after all, aren't we talking about the design of "learning artefacts" which, just like any other tool, isn't useful if there is no activity in which it enables actions to achieve the intended outcome. Consider a hammer made out of marsmallows, what kind of artefact would that be? tertiary? Shouldn't theorizing should provide something comparable to what a notion or concept of relative hardness provides for making a hammer.
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Received on Sat Jan 12 14:47 PST 2008

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