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Re: [xmca] Where is thinking?
- To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
- Subject: Re: [xmca] Where is thinking?
- From: Mike Cole <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Sat, 18 Apr 2009 17:33:30 -0700
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Oh gosh, Derek. I guess that quotation was not so interesting after all!
But perhaps the discussion that it is engendering is interesting. To take
an example from your comments below:
The colloquial mind-centred figurative descriptions of thinking have the
subliminal propaganda. We hear and use them all the time. We take it for
granted that our minds think, or that we think in our minds -- that thinking
goes on in people's heads.
Might not old Ludwig say you supporting his argument?
On Sat, Apr 18, 2009 at 5:27 PM, Derek Melser <firstname.lastname@example.org>wrote:
> *The greatest error of individualist psychology is that a person thinks.*
> That a *person* thinks is not a mistake. Thinking is a personal action. It
> is not something that 'the mind' does, or the brain does. Nor is it
> something that a community does -- though this is getting nearer the mark.
> Thinking is something that the person does. And, like almost any other
> action, it is something that a person has to learn how to do. Furthermore,
> if you know where to look, you can see children learning how to do it.
> *This leads to a continual search for the source of thought within the
> individual himself and for the reasons why he thinks in a particular way
> not in any other...*
> This is not true. What leads to the assumption that the agent or venue of
> thinking is inside the person is the disingenuous colloquial nominalisation
> of the old verb *to mind* (which, three or four hundred years ago in
> English, meant *to think*) and the rhetorical 'supporting' of this
> nominalisation with numerous stock metaphors – the core examples of which
> firmly locate 'the mind' inside people's heads. The colloquial
> mind-centredfigurative descriptions of thinking have the effect of
> subliminal propaganda. We hear and use them all the time. We take it for
> granted that our minds think, or that we think in our minds -- that
> goes on in people's heads.
> As for the remainder of this sentence: the 'continual search... for the
> reasons why [the individual] thinks in a particular way and not in any
> other' is one of the main subject matters, if not the main subject matter,
> of *psychology*. Personal thinking styles, abilities and limitations
> thereof, pathologies, etc. -- all are legitimate and interesting
> psychological topics.
> *What actually thinks within a person is not the individual himself but his
> social community. *
> As I humbly submit above, nothing thinks *within* a person, certainly not a
> whole community. To suggest that a person can get inside himself (to do his
> thinking) is far-fetched enough. The notion he can get all his friends in
> there too is beyond even the figurative.
> *The source of his thinking is not within himself but is to be found in his
> social environment and in the very social atmosphere he 'breathes'.*
> If this is to say that thinking is a skill that everyone practices and that
> we learn from other people and that it consists in essence of the private
> rehearsing by individuals of public, social interactions (conversations,
> discussions, lessons, demonstrations, admonitions, etc.), then it is
> perfectly true. As a statement it is unnecessarily vague and figurative,
> *His mind is structured and necessarily cannot think in any other way.*
> As I say, talking in terms of 'minds' is just a colloquial way of speaking.
> It is slang and inappropriate in serious discussion of thinking.
> 'Structured' (like 'constructed') is just a metaphor that, like other
> metaphors used outside of everyday speech in everyday situations, obscures
> as much as it illuminates (more, in this case). The reason the individual
> 'cannot think in any other way' is that this particular rapid and subtle
> ('private') way of rehearsing a public educative interaction is what
> thinking *is*. If an individual were doing it any other way, he'd be doing
> something else.
> I contribute the above because I think it is ironic that followers of
> Vygotsky should be applauding such a vague and confused (basically
> incompetent – the author is clearly just feeling his way in an unfamilar
> area) description of the social basis of thinking. I mean, why do you think
> LSV devoted himself with such creative fury to sorting these issues out?
> Maybe he read this passage of Gumplowig.
> 2009/4/19 Steve Gabosch <email@example.com>
> > That certainly is a thought-provoking quote.
> > Anybody know anything about its author, Ludwig Gumplowig? The only
> > I got from Google on him is the April 1980 LCHC Newsletter Mike was just
> > looking at.
> > - Steve
> > On Apr 18, 2009, at 4:52 PM, Jorge Fernando Larreamendy Joerns wrote:
> > Hi, all,
> >> Mike's quote seems fairly deterministic to me, particularly when
> >> considering the term "structured" and what it means to a sociological
> >> Jorge Larreamendy-Joerns
> >> Profesor Asociado y Director
> >> Departamento de Psicología
> >> Universidad de los Andes
> >> firstname.lastname@example.org
> >> On Apr 18, 2009, at 11:32 AM, Mike Cole wrote:
> >> I was looking for something else and found a fascinating old quotation
> >>> from
> >>> German in the LCHC Newsletter.
> >>> It is attached because I cannot figure out how to get it from old pdf
> >>> format
> >>> into here.
> >>> I think you will find it interesting.
> >>> mike
> >>> <xmcaquote.doc>_______________________________________________
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