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Re: [xmca] FW: Wolves in Sheep's Clothing - First Cut in Colour
I think it was actually Basil Bernstein who remarked that the question of how outside gets inside is the essential question of sociology, and of course it's an equally essential question of psychology, so long as we understand that "outside" and "inside" are really rather like eric's complexive uses of "up" and "down".
In eric's list, we notice that "up" is often used simply as something that in other languages is called a resultative particle. For example, in Chinese, when an action is finished, we add the particle "le" to indicate completion. In Korean, the verb ending "borida" means something like "completely finished".
I think that is the sense in which we have to use "internalization" or "interiorization". It is the endpoint of a process which has its roots not only in the perceptual environment but even far beyond in the cultural historical endowment of the child (and in fact it is THIS, and not perception, which gives it the psychological nature which makes it internalizeable).
Paula says that the pseudoconcept is STRUCTURALLY equivalent to the concept. I think that if we look at the pseudoconcept in action we might think that is true. An obvious example is the English article system, or rather the progression from the indicative-demonstrative system through the article system to the plural we use to denote an abstract concept:
These are mostly indicative-nominative in function.
"A pair of apples",
These are mostly complexive in function. They are examples of concepts but they can also be interpreted in concrete terms as groups of actual objects.
"the apple as a fruit"
These are mostly signifying in function because they refer to idealized objects.
The problem from me is the word "apples". This is can be interpreted as a set of actual apples, but it can also, because of the way the English plural system works, refer to an abstract concept, taken outside of the hierarchy of fruits and vegetables which would give it scientific reference.
This seems to me pseudoconceptual. But precisely because it is pseudoconceptual it does not have the structure of the concept. The structure of the concept is not simply the set of what Jay calls "thematic relations" (e.g. classification, definition, exemplification) which situate it in a hierarchy. The structure of a concept also involves the internal differentiation of the concept according to those thematic relations.
Wenger (1998) notes that "reification" of terms like "play" or even "education" is a powerful tool (because it allows us to classify, define, exemplify processes as if they were things) but it is also a "double edge sword" (sic) because it strips these things of their subjects and objects, and deprives of crucial information (who is doing what to whom and why?)
But of course in the real world we cannot have play without someone playing, or education without someone being educated, and no process ever takes place without any reason. So what really happens in concept formation is that these things become absorbed into the word meaning in hidden, abstract form. And that is why I think it is not quite correct for Paula to say that concepts and pseudoconcepts are STRUCTURALLY equivalent.
Seoul National University of Education
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