RE: [xmca] subjectivity

From: White, Phillip (
Date: Mon Oct 31 2005 - 20:33:14 PST

     i don't know if i'm totally nuts - but, is it possible that Wartofsky provides ways out of the difficulty of subjectivity - and i'm not clearn what the 'difficulty', my head is too half-baked just now - but the Wartofsky's assertion of an epistemology of perception - to which i append this, a recent posting from a colleague:

I wanted to link Wartofksy’s idea that perception is “related to historical changes in the forms or modes of human action” to more empirical and less abstract works.  I recalled Norwood Hanson and his experiments in the 1950s on cultural effects on perception.  He’s the guy who demonstrated, among many other similar examples, that people who play cards will identify a made-up card resembling the King of Hearts with the heart colored black as a King of Spades with high confidence -- presumably because the cultural symbol affects what they attend to and interpret, and hence what they “see”.  His work in the 1950s was important in countering the “pure observation” version of perception underlying positivism.   I went to the internet, searched on Hanson, and found this very straight-forward and interesting site on perception and culture.  I think it is a good accompaniment for Wartofsky, a light antipasto, full of illustrations of “ambiguous figures” and easy to read:

anyway - i'm also wondering about Holland's figured worlds, Bakhtin as a theoretical lens, and her observation of individual innovations that promote change in activities - but the subjectivity is always constructed within perceptions.

       i don't know - maybe the threads i'm suggesting of Wartofsky and Holland are just tangles within this discussion.


-----Original Message-----
From: on behalf of bb
Sent: Mon 10/31/2005 8:52 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] subjectivity

I don't quite follow you, but I respect your thoughts. Would you expand on this when you have a moment?


> The problem is, IMHO, that once we define the relevant structure as
> inter-individual and intra-individual, we have moved away from the
> insights which have given the CHAT tradition its great strength. This
> posing of the problem makes the individual the basic unit of analysis
> and discounts the existence of mediation (i.e. the "CH" part of CHAT)
> at a fundamental level. Personally, I think this is the wrong way to
> go to find a solution to the objectivist tendencies in CHAT.
> Andy
> At 08:11 PM 31/10/2005 +0000, bb wrote:
> Further, subjectivity is a continuum of inter-individual to
> intra-individual processes (thus allowing for in-the-head processes
> such as memory and attention, as well across-the-heads processes
> such as communication?), supporting the claim that "This approach
> therefore helps to ascertain the agentive role of individual
> processes and of human subjectivity within a profoundly social,
> transactional, and object-related ontology of human life."
> Andy Blunden, on behalf of the Victorian Peace Network, Phone (+61)
> 03-9380 9435
> Alexander Surmava's Tour - September/October 2006
> [1][2]/alexander-surmava/index.htm
> References
> 1.
> 2.
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