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[Xmca-l] Re: Отв: Re: Ilyenkov, Marx, & Spinoza

Right, Ivan. For Halliday, the difference is "instantiation"--instances of
matter and instances of meaning. The point is that there aren't two
different phenomena, one infinite and another finite. They are just two
different ways of looking at the same thing, like climate and weather, or
language and text, or culture and situation. A table is an "instance" of
meaning en-mattered (to mint a meaning), and an idea is an "instance" of
matter en-meaninged.

I don't actually think that either matter or meaning is infinite in exactly
the sense that Spinoza had in mind: for my purposes, it is enough to think
of a culture as the sum total of all the historical situations, and its
language as the sum total of all of its produced texts. When I have to
think about the universe, I just think of it as the sum total of all the
actually existing matter and all the existing meaning. For now. But to tell
the truth, I think about the universe even less than it thinks about me: I
am afraid I feel more akin to Spinoza the lens grinder than to Spinoza the

Mike--thanks for the stuff on pedology. I remember the text--I remember
discussing it with you, and how personally affronted you felt by it,
actually--but the Genevans (Bernard Schneuwly, Jean-Paul Bronckart, Irina
Leopoldoff-Martin) are trying to establish pedology as a "once and future
discipline", and this is a project I feel very much part of these days. So
I am starting to feel as you do about it.

Right now I am writing about questions--how they are formed, how they are
used, and how we turn them back on themselves--e.g. what I just did. One of
the real problems with Vygotsky's model of concept formation is what
Ruqaiya Hasan called its overly experiential focus (the focus on
representations). It seems to me that if we think about the adolescent
forming a world view in interpersonal terms (that is, inevitably including
affect and social power as well as representations of events and entities),
we find that "question" is sometimes more useful than "concept".


On Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 7:49 AM, Ivan Uemlianin <ivan@llaisdy.com> wrote:

> Dear David
> Sorry to quibble, but your email (4th para) doesn't seem to be using
> "mode" in the same way as Spinoza (in the Ethics). In the Ethics, Substance
> has infinite Attributes, two of which (the only two humans can be affected
> by) are Extension and Thought. Modes are finite particulars (eg tables and
> ideas).
> How Spinoza would categorise the laws of thermodynamics is a whole nother
> question.
> Best wishes
> Ivan
> @ilyenkov_et_al
> --
> festina lente
> > On 27 Jul 2017, at 22:26, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > Actually, Andy, there are people who defend Spinoza's formulation of a
> > single substance with two modes. Halliday is one. I am another.
> >
> > Consider the way in which you read Hegel. You don't actually use the term
> > for an explanatory principle which he chose, namely "Geist" or  "Spirit".
> > Sometimes you use Leontiev's term, "Activity", and sometimes you use your
> > own, much more Spinozan, term: "project".
> >
> > Spinoza actually TELLS us how to read his explanatory principle "Deus
> Sive
> > Natura", or "God, that is to say, Nature". So the is one substance, and
> we
> > can call it "Nature". Culture has to be understood as an emergent part of
> > that nature.
> >
> > The two modes are matter, of course, and a form of organization of that
> > matter, a kind of countercurrent to entropy, we can call "meaning".
> Meaning
> > matter that has been organized in some way to stand for something that is
> > not itself. Nature is one substance, with two modes: matter, that is
> > subject to the laws of thermodynamics (laws which do indeed distinguish
> > between past and future, just as Peter does), and meaning, which is
> matter
> > that has granted itself temporary surcease from them.
> >
> > David Kellogg
> > Macquarie University
> >
> > PS: I always thought that the great advantage of "project" over
> "activity"
> > was that it demystifies how this temporary surcease might work among
> > humans. To understand Spinoza's idea of "God"as a semiotic version of
> > "Nature" all we really have to do is to ask ourselves what "projects"
> might
> > look like among non-human, non-sentient, and non-living entities:
> colonies,
> > ecologies, and systems.
> >
> > dk

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

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