Re: [xmca] Wartofsky's artifacts recast

From: Phil Chappell (
Date: Thu Jan 26 2006 - 06:20:37 PST

And the Dalai Lama (Tibet) wrote:

Everything is subject to change, and to causes and conditions. So
there is no place given to a divine creator, nor to beings who are
self-created; rather everything arises as a consequence of causes and
conditions. So mind, or consciousness, too comes into being as a
result of previous instants... the ultimate creative principle is

On 25/01/2006, at 10:40 PM, bb wrote:

> About this doctrine thing, here's a counterpoint:
> "The ever present , unspoken assumption of [The Tibetan Book of the
> Dead] is
> the antinominal character of all metaphysical assertions, and also
> the idea
> of the qualitative differences of the various levels of
> consciousness and of
> the metaphysical realities conditioned by them. The background of
> this
> unusual book is not the European 'either-or' but a magnificently
> affirmative
> 'both-and'. "
> C.G. Jung
> On Tuesday 24 January 2006 11:06 pm, Mike Cole wrote:
>> And then there is ancient wisdom, manifest in Catholic doctrine as
>> well
>> as good developmental science that the end is in the beginning.
>> (or is that bad developmental science?) (or incorrect doctrine?).
>> Working too hard on lectures on tangentially related topics to get
>> back to
>> the tertiary artifact discussion, bb et al, the mind is weak but
>> the flesh
>> is weaker.
>> mike
>> On 1/24/06, Ed Wall <> wrote:
>>> Interestingly enough (at least, I think so -
>>> smile) while reading this email as regards
>>> prolepsis and the nicely sketched example, I was
>>> reading Gadamer reading Hegel and came across the
>>> following:
>>> "Now it is clear, and Hegel makes use of the fact
>>> in his commentary, that it lies in the nature of
>>> any beginning to be dialectical. Nothing can be
>>> presupposed in it and it clearly reveals itself
>>> as primary and immediate. But it is still a
>>> beginning only if it begins a development, which
>>> is to say that it is "mediated" by the
>>> latter....All becoming is a becoming of something
>>> which exists as a result of having become. That
>>> is an ancient truth, one already formulated by
>>> Plato in the Philebus ..."
>>> Also, of course, there is Heidegger's
>>> "By this understanding, the possibilities of its
>>> Being are disclosed and regulated. Its own past -
>>> and this always means the past of its
>>> 'generation' - is not something that *follows
>>> along after Dasien*, but something which already
>>> goes ahead of it."
>>> Ed Wall
>>>> Mike wrote:
>>>> "So maybe the whole Wartofsky set of distinctions are
>>>> irrelevant. Or
>>>> need
>>> to
>>>> be bracket/specified more?"
>>>> I prefer the latter, at least. Re-reading what
>>>> Wartofsky wrote (Thanks Phil), I see the
>>>> descriptions of primary through tertiary
>>>> artifacts occurring in a manner which is not
>>>> located in a particular situation, but
>>>> generalized, and so I have the same reservation
>>>> about use of these categories as I do tool and
>>>> sign. That is to say, in instantiation,
>>>> something could be a tool in one circumstance
>>>> and a sign in another. For example, in forensic
>>>> analysis, a knife that was once a tool, an
>>>> instrument of someone's death, is matched in its
>>>> shape and length to the wound, to become a sign
>>>> in constructing the narrative of how the crime
>>>> was committed. Similarly, if analyzed with
>>>> Wartofsky's categories, the primary artifact has
>>>> become a secondary one.
>>>> Recasting the definitions of primary -> tertiary
>>>> in functional terms has some advantage in
>>>> specifying further how these categories can
>>>> themselves function in theoretical analysis:
>>>> Primary artifacts function directly in the
>>>> production of the means of existence and in the
>>>> reproduction of the species.
>>>> Secondary artifacts function in the preservation
>>>> and transmission of the acquired skills or modes
>>>> of action or praxis by which this production is
>>>> carried out.
>>>> Secondary artifacts function in preserving and
>>>> transmitting skills, and in the production and
>>>> use of 'primary' artifacts (e.g. tools, modes of
>>>> social organization, bodily skills and technical
>>>> skills in the use of tools).
>>>> Recasting this way facilitates a functional view
>>>> of artifacts, aligning better Wartofsky's
>>>> categories with analysis by Halliday, Lemke,
>>>> Wells, and others, examining how language
>>>> functions in activity. Then, it is easier to
>>>> see, how, in instantiation, artifacts can be
>>>> multi-functional.
>>>> The first example is drawn from Gordon's
>>>> "Dialogic Inquiry", (p 200) in which he shows
>>>> how the third move in triadic dialogue, the E in
>>>> IRE, is multifunctional: (1) in the teacher
>>>> checking the students knowledge and (2) in
>>>> extending the student's answer.
>>>> The second example comes from Jeanne, my
>>>> coauthor, expressing how she was reconfiguring
>>>> her classroom during the summer of 2004, in
>>>> anticipation of a new cohort of students. To
>>>> locate this exchange theoretically, I'd like to
>>>> quote Mike's description of prolepsis, which is
>>>> essentially what Jeanne engages in when
>>>> redesigning the classroom to the form I have
>>>> posted on the web:
>>>> "Only a culture-using human being can "reach
>>>> into" the cultural past, project it into the
>>>> future, and then "carry" that conceptual future
>>>> "back" into the present to create the
>>>> sociocultural environment of the newcomer."
>>>> Cole, cultural psychology, p 186
>>>> Our exchange follows:
>>>> J:" I moved the circle table over mostly because
>>>> I wanted to make a separate meeting area too. So
>>>> there are two meeting areas now. There will be
>>>> another easel, right by the black board. There's
>>>> a yellow rug, and I've got two red rugs."
>>>> B: "Why two meeting areas?"
>>>> J: "Well, because I have the [collaborative
>>>> model] now, this year. So I'm going to have two
>>>> teachers in here. There will be two teachers, me
>>>> and Gina. And, um, so I have a higher
>>>> population of special ed. children, so this way
>>>> I have more leverage. I can break kids up. Gina
>>>> and I can say OK you take the same lesson,
>>>> differentiate it, but we can actually do it at
>>>> the same time. Two places to work. I can meet
>>>> with reading groups over there….
>>>> What's also going to happen is that this new
>>>> meeting area is going to have more math stuff
>>>> over here. So we'll do more math things because
>>>> the screen is right there. So I can pull the
>>>> screen down and most of the kids should be able
>>>> to sit there or at a table. All the kids will
>>>> be able to stay right there and see the screen.
>>>> Maybe grab a clipboard and that's easy. And then
>>>> the other one am going to keep more for
>>>> literacy, read alouds, I put the big book
>>>> holder, the chart thing, the schedule.
>>>> Morning meeting will be in the same place. But
>>>> I'll have more leverage. I finally have a place
>>>> for that chart thing, right there next to you. I
>>>> won't have to move it, I'll just have to move
>>>> the children. The pocket chart. The big pocket
>>>> chart, which also has poems on it. So when we
>>>> are doing nursery rhyme study, I'll be able to
>>>> have that in a much better place than it was
>>>> last year. "
>>>> Jeanne's use of future tense, in Halliday and
>>>> Hasan's terms: cataphora, e.g. "will be", "going
>>>> to happen", "going to have" indicates her
>>>> projecting into the future, and her making both
>>>> cataphoric and anaphoric reference "Morning
>>>> meeting will be in the same place", with "same
>>>> place" referencing back into "the same place as
>>>> last year" and which I understood in context.
>>>> The exophoric references Jeanne makes to the
>>>> artifacts in her classroom, "right there", "over
>>>> here", indicate how these artifacts contribute
>>>> to the narrative in which Jeanne tells me of the
>>>> processes of her planning.
>>>> Whether this future world in which Jeanne
>>>> anticipates what will be happening with her
>>>> children qualifies as a tertiary artifact, I'm
>>>> still not convinced. But if it does, it has the
>>>> following implications. The tables, the screens,
>>>> the yellow rug, the red rug, the easel, the
>>>> circle table, are all secondary artifacts for
>>>> the children, who are learning to read, write,
>>>> do math, etc.. They function in the children's
>>>> learning activities during the day, qualifying
>>>> as secondary artifacts. But for Jeanne, the
>>>> physical locations and orientations of these
>>>> materials function in her planning for the
>>>> entire school year, anticipating the diversity
>>>> in children's learning, the role of other
>>>> adults, the curriculum that the children are
>>>> about to learn, supporting her imagining what
>>>> will happen in her classroom.. The spatial
>>>> location of these artifacts mediate Jeanne's
>>>> thinking about what is to happen in the
>>>> classroom. As in Mike's description of
>>>> prolepsis, Jeanne has not yet met the childre!
>>>> n, but is configuring her room in expectation
>>>> of their future activity. In her planning, in
>>>> this instantiation, the very same artifacts that
>>>> function secondarily in the children's learning,
>>>> function in a tertiary manner in Jeanne's
>>>> planning.
>>>> Does this make sense?
>>>> bb
>>>> From: (bb)
>>>> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
>>>> Subject: Gordon Wells on Halliday
>>>> Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2006 21:59:12 +0000
>>>> Content-Type: Multipart/mixed;
>>>> boundary="NextPart_Webmail_9m3u9jl4l_11056_1138030309_1"
>>>> From: Mike Cole <>
>>>> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
>>>> Subject: Re: [xmca] constraints, affordances and semiotic
>>>> potentials
>>>> Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2006 19:42:27 +0000
>>>> Content-Type: Multipart/mixed;
>>>> boundary="NextPart_Webmail_9m3u9jl4l_24929_1137880752_1"
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