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Re: [xmca] The Ubiquity of Unicorns: conversation

Eric. (not sure if this is a part of a conversation or only stringing out of

The best source on combined motor method is Nature of Human Conflicts. The
short form is in the Autobio of A.R. Luria.

This may have been translated into the language of reflexes later as a means
of self preservation, I do not recall such, but it DID become part of a
bitter fight involving Pavolians, perhaps discussed in the Handbook of
Soviet Psych.

My own take is that the key was to combine voluntary actions in a
coordinated system involving language as one component; the actions
combined could be, for example, holding one hand still and squeezing a bulb
with another. Once these were coordinated in response to a variety of (say)
words, a particular word, which the investigator had reason to believe the
subject did NOT want to react to unusually, but really had reason to hide
any special relation to (such as blood of a person he had killed that got on
his handkerchief) was introduced to see if it caused
the *selective disruption* of the previously coordinated actions.

This method was used in a variety of ways including criminal investigations,
which gave ARL a rep as an inventor of the lie detector,
but the motivation was of general theoretical import about the conditions
under which one could know what another person was thinking.

It has been, without attribution, using the same logic, used for purposes
as broad as figuring out what sorts of thing a newborn baby does and does
not respond to differentially and what in particular a child does not
understand about how to read.

How it fits into the discussion of utterances as units of analysis beats

On Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 8:35 AM, Peter Feigenbaum <pfeigenbaum@fordham.edu>wrote:

> Andy--
> I'm sorry at having misrepresented some of your positions. In my zeal to
> squeeze as
> much from this discussion in as short a time as possible (during work
> hours, no less),
> I became tired and sloppy. You have been patient with me by continuing to
> put up
> resistance to my ideas for several go-arounds now, and for that I'm
> indebted to you.
> Before wrapping up this thread, I must tell you--and everyone else on this
> listserve--
> that as a result of this discussion, I have come to a valuable realization
> about the
> relationship between word-meaning and utterance that had not dawned on me
> before.
> It has led me to revise my proposal, and if you would all do me the favor,
> I would like
> to run this new idea by you.
> Below is a revised diagram; you will see that "conversation" has been
> removed and
> replaced by "monologue". The modification may be small, but the practical
> and
> conceptual consequences of this change loom large.
> (Embedded image moved to file: pic07433.jpg)
> From the perspective of an individual child who is acquiring language and
> communicative competence, the sequence on the "word" side (vocal activity)
> is now more coherent and internally consistent:
> words--sentences--monologues. The
> movement on the "meaning" side (semantic activity) remains relatively
> unchanged.
> If we accept James Moffett's (1968) definition of a monologue as an
> extended turn at
> talk in a conversation, then we are also simultaneously defining the
> monologue as a
> single *utterance unit*, a la Bahktin. (Incidentally, if you do not already
> own a copy of
> Moffett's "Teaching the universe of discourse", Boston: Houghton Mifflin
> Company,
> drop everything and run out right now and buy it!  It is a must-read for
> anyone with an
> interest in a carefully and thoughfully conceived K-12 curriculum for
> teaching discourse
> skills. Forgive me if this is old news. But I digress . . . .)
> What this change does is to break apart the one-to-one correspondence
> between a
> *sentence* and an utterance unit--a relationship that developmental
> psychologists (who
> took it from linguists) have adopted, implemented, and taken for granted in
> their analyses
> of children's speech development. I, too, was wedded to that relationship
> until this
> thread exposed it to the light. What I have been assuming was an utterance
> unit is really
> the *microstructure* of an utterance unit--if you adhere to Bahktin!  Oops!
> My bad!
> This reformulation of the relationship between an utterance unit and the
> sentence may
> well remove the confusion that has been clouding the issue of how word
> meaning might
> be applied to actual speech data. I have long felt that the linguists'
> focus on the sentence
> has been misplaced, and that the focus ought to be on the relationship
> between the
> sentence and the interlocutors who are exchanging it with each other. This
> formulation just
> might do it.
> What do you think?
> Peter
> P.S.--I almost forgot: As promised, I am including a manuscript version of
> my chapter
> in the Robbins and Stetsenko volume, "Voices within Vygotsky’s
> non-classical psychology:
> Past, present, future (pp. 162-174). New York: Nova Science Publishers,
> (2002).
> (See attached file: Private Speech--Cornerstone of Vygotskys Theory_Robbins
> & Stetsenko_16October2001.pdf)
>             Andy Blunden
>             <ablunden@mira.ne
>             t>                                                         To
>             Sent by:                  "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
>             xmca-bounces@webe         <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
>             r.ucsd.edu                                                 cc
>                                                                   Subject
>              11/04/2009 07:17          Re: [xmca] The Ubiquity of
>              PM                        Unicorns: conversation
>             Please respond to
>             ablunden@mira.net
>             ; Please respond
>                    to
>              "eXtended Mind,
>                 Culture,
>                 Activity"
>             <xmca@weber.ucsd.
>                   edu>
> As a teenager one of my heroes was the mathematician Galois.
> Without giving his life story, he died as he lived. He stood
> up in the mess hall and proposed a toast to the Emperor.
> Someone thought he was being ironic, challenged him to a
> duel and shot him.
> I will be very brief if I can, Peter, just taking up some
> misunderstandings and going to the 1) and 2) at the end.
> It is a contradiction in terms to say "conversation is a
> unit". You can say "a conversation" is a unit, in which case
> your comments about the Gettyberg Address can be multiplied
> by 10. I think you must mean the subject matter of study is
> conversation, I don't know. Still, many people go on about
> "activity" being a unit of analysis, which is just as
> senseless. [See Wertsch, "Vygotsky and the Social Formation
> of Mind," p. 202 though Wertsch is confused too.] What does
> "unit" mean to you?
> I never said "conversation doesn't require an audience or
> addressee." No comment possible.
> I never said the Gettysberg address *cannot* be broken down.
> I just said that it is an Utterance, just as David
> explained. You can break anything down until you get to
> quarks and strings, the point is: what is the unit for the
> specific problem you are trying to solve? The Gettysberg
> address was an act or a move in a war. An utterance.
> [I confess to being a Bakhtin novice, but I do think that
> the  frame or genre of an utterance is part of the utterance
> and is necessary to understand it and is part of the unit.
> If delivered at a football match, the Gettyberg Address
> would not be the same.]
> Finally on the Q&A at the end.
> You say: "private speech is used essentially to *comment
> upon* ongoing action, wheras in the later stages it is used
> essentially to *plan and regulate* ongoing action," which
> tells me that the unit of private speech includes the action
> it comments on and regulates. That's what you say. It is H2O
> and if you try to study the H without the O you will never
> get to the nature of the water.
> You say: "they are included in the analysis." Of course. I
> get that. Like someone who studies both H and O, but not H2O.
> thanks for your patience, Peter.
> Andy
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