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Re: [xmca] The Ubiquity of Unicorns: conversation

I am sure it is, Mike, probably the main way.

Can we say that speech "evokes" something?? and what something depends on the level of development of the mind/behavior of the individual. For a child at the stage of speech just beginning to turn inwards we can't talk of speech evoking concepts, but it could evoke sensuous images. But more importantly it seems that Kathy Nelson-type scripts, or Merlin Donald-type episodes might be the relevant elementary units of consciousness and behavior at work here.


mike cole wrote:
Andy-- Is private speech another way of controlling ourselves from the outside?

On Tue, Nov 3, 2009 at 5:30 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    Peter, it is very interesting to me to discuss something I know
    nothing about. How else can we subject our fundamentals to test?

    Firstly, Peter, I think it is incoherent for you to talk of
    "conversation" as an "irreducible functional unit." "Conversation"
    is the whole animal not the cell. And in any case, it's not actually
    a conversation, though you might conceive of it as a limit case of a
    conversation if you wanted to. But you could also conceptualise what
    is going on as a performance, and a performance requires a script,
    scenes and stage directions; it *can* have an audience but doesn't
    have to have an audience (addressee).

    Also, I don't think being a long monologue is any bar to being an
    utterance. Luther's 95 theses was an utterance in my reading, as was
    the Gettysburg Address. They can be broken down, but if they are,
    they cease to be an utterance and cannot be understood in that way
    as "a move".

    Question: is private speech always associated with practical
    actions? If so, aren't these actions part of your unit of analysis?


    Peter Feigenbaum wrote:

        So we must approach the problem from both a practical and a
        perspective, and find a way to make them coincide. For Bakhtin,
        unit boundaries can be concretely identified by turn-taking. For
        word meaning is the irreducible unit of analysis, beneath which the
        functional integration of word and meaning ceases to exist. If
        conversation is, indeed,
        that irreducible functional unit, then what is the smallest
        concrete form
        conversation can take? It cannot be defined as a turn at talk,
        for some
        turns can be quite extensive, such as a monologue consisting of
        But if an individual utterance is defined in terms of a single
        word (at
        or a single sentence (at maximum), and these linguistic
        structures are
        shown to have the functional properties of conversation (i.e.,
        they participate
        in an initiation-response structure with other utterance units
        or practical
        then this unit would meet both the practical and conceptual
        criteria we
        have been discussing.

        Of course, this does not address all of the problems associated
        with the
        analysis of private speech utterances, for there is still the knotty
        problem of
        *who is conversing with whom*! But that moves the problem down a
        path, which is a whole other topic.

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Andy Blunden http://www.erythrospress.com/
Classics in Activity Theory: Hegel, Leontyev, Meshcheryakov, Ilyenkov $20 ea

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