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[Xmca-l] Re: Noumenal and Phenomenal

As I understand it, the problem with the aspiration to non-dualism which Michael, as a Pragmatist, is challenging may be this: If you claim that an individual has a number of mental attributes which are "carried" from one context to another and go through a process of development, then this implies that the locus of these capacities is the person's body. If a person is replaced in some activity with another person, to carry on the same activity, then they take those attributes with them. The fact that this is not 100.0% true (a person may lose certain capacities when they change the context of their activity, and an activity will change when a new person enters it) does not alter the fact that the individual's body is the locus of their mind (cognitive activity, thinking, personal development, etc).

So this appears to be a problem for those of us who are Activity Theorists, and see the mind (or mental processes) as phenomena abstracted from activity not as something distinct from or counterposed to activity. Activity is *not* a dualist concept, as Michael suggested earlier, when he asked: "How do you posit activity as developing without a human mind that manipulates activity?" That is, Activity Theory does not see subjective mind "manipulating" objective behaviour.

It is similar to the problem which Mike drew our attention to a few months ago of how he spent a car journey ruminating on a problem, and only acted on that when he arrived at his destination.

Now, I do *not* believe that this conundrum forces us to adopt a dualism, and nor does a rejection of the problematic nature of the conundrum oblige us to abandon the idea of mental development (which presupposes a human body as the locus of mind). But I do think it is a reasonable problem to pose.

Now I may have misunderstood you, Michael, but does my puzzle fairly present your issue?


Andy Blunden
On 29/06/2016 2:11 AM, Glassman, Michael wrote:
Don't mind the piling on.  Just making the point that perhaps non-dualism is an issue to be grappled with rather than adhered to.


-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Greg Thompson
Sent: Tuesday, June 28, 2016 12:02 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Noumenal and Phenomenal

I didn't mean to be cavalier. Just posing a genuine question.

One more question:
Do we carry a constant something around with us?
And does that constant something not develop/change?
(if not, then it sure sounds a lot like a soul. Designed intelligence

And, is there no one else out there in XMCA land willing to support Michael's doubting non-dualism? (Feeling badly for piling on here...
someone switch sides?).


On Wed, Jun 29, 2016 at 12:43 AM, Glassman, Michael <glassman.13@osu.edu>

Yes I worried about using the example of intelligent design for this
reason, we would get bogged down in the whole God thing rather than
the idea that there is a separate mind manipulating and controlling
our activity or consciousness or personality, or whatever you might
want to call this constant that we carry around with us.  I'm not
making an argument for intelligent design - and I actually think you
know that.  I am saying that our conception of development has
similarities to the conception of intelligent design, in that there is
a mind, an internal, constant force which is manipulating activity.
One of the reasons the early Pragmatists were no against dualism is
because of the destructive tendencies of the idea that God has a plan.
If we can't get there then I would like to withdraw my example because it just becomes a distraction.

From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
[xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] on behalf of Martin John Packer
Sent: Tuesday, June 28, 2016 11:33 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Noumenal and Phenomenal

I am not following your argument, Michael. You suggest that the
explanation of individual development is somehow parallel to the issue
of Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design is the claim that the order
we see in the universe must have been designed, and design requires
intelligence, therefore a god must exist. Presumably you find that
argument convincing, or you would not suggest the parallel. I,
however, do not find it a convincing argument: order in the universe emerges and evolves over time.

In the same way, the order in human activity emerges and evolves over
time. You seem to be suggesting that explaining order in individual
psychological development must require something that remains
"constant as the circumstances of activity constantly change.” Well,
children are born into a highly structured social context. And LSV
*does* posit something else that is, or becomes, relatively “constant”
in human psychological
development: he calls it personality. Not mind.


Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602