Re: [xmca] Artifacts, Tools and Classroom

From: bb (
Date: Mon Jan 16 2006 - 05:56:02 PST

Ok, presently dropping into this discussion from albuguerque airport, on my way home, and i only have the time, space, and conciousness for one, perhaps specious, line of reasoning: If thought is a material process of developing humans and, if, to paraphrase wartofsky, "ideas" are artifacts, then should not humans be artifacts?


 -------------- Original message ----------------------
From: Steve Gabosch <>
> Interesting observations about being and having, Kevin. It is true
> that our terminology implies that physical characteristics "exist"
> within an object that in reality don't when we say a thing "contains"
> ideality or is "imbued" with meaning. In reality, we are projecting
> social relations onto an object by virtue of manipulating it and/or
> its representations, and acting accordingly. Even more confusing
> than an object just "having" say, ideality, is an object "possessing"
> it! Our language just keeps steering us toward anthropocentric
> metaphors, doesn't it? In the way I was looking at this question,
> the operative qualifiers were "encounter" and "in the sphere of human
> activity." An object outside of the human-sphere (unencountered in
> any way by humans) may generate noise in a forest - acoustic waves
> exist independently of humans - but it cannot "have" or "possess"
> ideality or meaning independently of humans. Stars are uninfluenced
> by humans but humans encounter and observe stars and their movements,
> and "invest" them (another of those metaphors!) with meaning, with
> ideality. Humans do this so constantly and so thoroughly with each
> and every object in their spheres of observation and influence that
> they can lose sight of the difference between the material and the
> ideal, confuse one with the other, and think it is possible to "have"
> one without the other.
> - Steve
> At 03:12 PM 1/15/2006 -0500, Kevin wrote:
> >As to your questions Steve, not to get too Philosophy 101 about the
> >whole thing ;-), but part of the dilemma is in the Derridean
> >"supplement of copula" perhaps. You write "can one encounter
> >physical objects that have no meaning"? And the trick, to me, is
> >in the verb "to have" being close to an existence claim, i.e., the
> >physical object intrinsically "has" meaning versus meaning being
> >something that arises from human subject-physical object
> >interaction. In other words, does it have meaning when no one is
> >around? (tree in the forest? ;-)) And, as Derrida suggests, perhaps
> >that is just the bias of a language that requires constant existence
> >claims given the relative and fundamental dominance of the verb "to
> >be" (cleverly concealed in your statement in the verb "to have"),
> >no? (since not all languages have that "to be" requirement)
> >
> >
> >
> >
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