Re: sign/tools in interacting levls and forms of operation

From: Wolff-Michael Roth (
Date: Thu Jun 16 2005 - 22:21:35 PDT

here a few quotes from pages 111-3 from I and Though.

The I of the basic word I-You is different from that of the basic word
The I of the basic word I-It appears as an ego and becomes conscious of
itself as a subject (of experience and use)
The I of the basic word I-You appears as a person and becomes conscious
of itself as subjectivity (without any dependent genetive).
Egos appear by setting themselves apart from other egos
Persons appear by entering into relation to other persons.
. . .
The person says, "I am"; the ego says, That is how I am."

In relating as person to person, we use language in one way; by
thinking of self apart from other selves (e.g., how to manipulate
others), we use a different language. Or rather, we use language in a
different way.

Heidegger says, "Words accrue to significations. But word-things
[signs] are not provided with significations" (p.162 [151])

And Dreyfus (1991) comments on it, "as long as one dwells in those
practices [of the community] rather than taking a detached point of
view, words are simply heard and seen as meaningful" (p. 219),
suggesting that they are not signs that refer to something else.

All of this then tells us that language in situated relating to others
and things is used differently and has different functions than using
it in a detached attitude to articulate relations, that is, providing
us with a mediated access to others, the world, and ourselves (we
become egos).

Heidegger further says about the sign, "signs are not things which
stand in an indicating relationship of to another thing but are useful
things which explicitly bring a totality of useful things to
circumspection so that the worldly character of what is at hand makes
itself known at the same time (74 [80])--he talks about the everyday
use of language, the one that goes with Buber's I-You relation.

Dreyfus, commenting on the change-over from the I-You to the I-It (p.
230): "Dasein in making its activity intelligible to itself and others
[using language WMR] must lose its immediate relation to the world and
to itself" (my emphasis). That is, when we use language to make the
world intelligible, no longer relating directly to it including other
persons, we engage in a different kind of (mediated) relation, and here
word has the function of the sign.

Well, got to go catch some zzzs, still suffering from my quick trip to

On 16-Jun-05, at 8:23 PM, Steven Thorne wrote:

> you've misread me. for clarification, the point above had to do with
> my (possible mis-) interpretation of your earlier (to me unclear)
> statement about mediation.
> BREAK: Ana's note just came in. Michael -- as you feel so strongly
> about what i (and possibly others) have not taken account of/been
> consistent with, why don't we move at least one strand of the
> conversation in the direction Ana suggests -- that you illustrate some
> concrete examples using Buber in particular. what do you think?
> steve
>> Back to the above point, the mediating relationship in the activity
>> system, or for action, cannot be the same as that in the operation
>> case, and this is exactly the point Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Buber
>> and others seem to make in my view.
> --
> Steven L. Thorne
> Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics
> Linguistics and Applied Language Studies
>    and
> Communication Arts and Sciences
> Associate Director, Center for Language Acquisition
> Associate Director, Center for Advanced Language Proficiency
> Education and Research
> The Pennsylvania State University
> Interact > 814.863.7036 | |
> | IM: avkrook

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