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[Xmca-l] Re: Noumenal and Phenomenal

A few days ago I offered a quick answer to Greg’s question, below, and said that there was a longer one.

The longer answer is that in 1994 Bruno Latour wrote a detailed critique of Heidegger’s hermeneutic phenomenology of technology, later published in Pandora’s Hope. I attach the text. Certainly, Heidegger was deeply pessimistic about technology, while Latour is generally very optimistic. But in the course of his critique Latour basically rediscovered many of the very points that Heidegger made about the role of technology in human existence (as Soren Riis has noted). 

What did Latour discover? That technology does not transform us: it is us. That technology does not simply bridge subject and object, person and world, merely as means to achieve a goal, it displaces and transforms human agency, indeed it transforms human being. His concluding words: “Artifacts…. They mediate our actions? No, they are us.”

And the relevance to Greg’s question? Latour’s text is titled “On Technical Mediation: Philosophy, Sociology, Genealogy.” A central part of his analysis is the description and distinction of four meanings of the term ‘mediation’: as translation, as composition, as black-boxing, and as delegation. In other words, to untangle the ontology of technology, Latour had to unpack the notion of mediation. 


Attachment: Latour 1994 On technical mediation- Philosophy, sociology, genealogy.pdf
Description: Latour 1994 On technical mediation- Philosophy, sociology, genealogy.pdf

> On Jun 21, 2016, at 7:43 PM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com> wrote:
> Martin,
> This doesn't answer the question that Andy and I were raising, namely the
> issue of mediation and whether or not the phenomenological position that
> you embrace also embraces "mediation" as a concept. I will attempt to
> answer my question on your behalf (based on my reading of your book, The
> Science of Qualitative Research). I intend this as a provocation as much as
> an attempt to articulate some common ground so feel free to say "No, you've
> got it all wrong!"
> In your book you draw a distinction between epistemological and ontological
> construction. You note that Kant (as the villain) is interested in
> epistemological construction - i.e. the construction of representations.
> This leads to the noumenal/phenomenal distinction. Thus, although
> things-in-themselves are noumenal, the constructed representations of the
> world are phenomenal (and thus not of this world - or perhaps more
> playfully, "out of this world"?). The problem here is that in this
> conception of things, the world of things is made up of one type of thing
> and the world of ideas is made up of an altogether different thing.
> So I wonder then if there might be a similar distinction with regard to
> mediation - i.e., there is epistemological mediation and this is different
> from ontological mediation.
> The trouble is that as my hermeneutic phenomenologist friend Stephen
> Yanchar (he was one of Brent Slife's students) points out, mediation
> presupposes something that stands between two different kinds of thing -
> (e.g., the noumenal and the phenomenal?). Yanchar points to Heidegger's
> notion of disclosure or unconcealment as a more productive concept than
> mediation because it places the phenomenal back into the noumenal world.
> So I guess I've failed to answer my question, so I'll simply re-pose it:
> does "mediation" have a role in a non-dualistic hermeneutic phenomenology?
> Martin?
> -greg
> On Tue, Jun 21, 2016 at 10:32 PM, Martin John Packer <
> mpacker@uniandes.edu.co> wrote:
>> Well as I see it, hermeneutic phenomenology set out precisely to escape
>> from the Kantian (and Husserlian) distinction between the â??world of
>> experienceâ?? and â??the real world.â?? It insisted that we live *in* the world,
>> and are *of* the world. In my view, Vygotsky was attempting something
>> similar.
>> What â??a prior propertyâ?? are you referring to, James?
>> Martin
>>> On Jun 21, 2016, at 6:27 AM, Ma, James (james.ma@canterbury.ac.uk) <
>> james.ma@canterbury.ac.uk> wrote:
>>> The reason I brought up the Kantian distinction was somehow connected to
>> existentialism which has a direct bearing on hermeneutic phenomenology (the
>> a priori property of which has long been my interest). I've often had
>> something phenomenological at the back of my mind whenever my thoughts are
>> on Vygotsky's "non-classical" psychology - I wondered what your thoughts on
>> the relevance of phenomenology for CHAT might be, if any?
> -- 
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Anthropology
> 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> Brigham Young University
> Provo, UT 84602
> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson