Re: [xmca] Wartofsky's artifacts recast

From: Phil Chappell (
Date: Mon Jan 30 2006 - 22:00:57 PST

Tibetan Buddhism has me stumped, Mike, with a borderless notion of
mind and the idea of permanent, never-ending and never-beginning
consciousness. I bought the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying to help
me in my first experience of the death of a close person to me. I
guess that's putting an artefact to use as a mediating tool...

On 28/01/2006, at 11:30 PM, Mike Cole wrote:

> ??
> Consciousness explains everything and therefor does not need
> explanation?
> mike
> On 1/26/06, Phil Chappell <> wrote:
>> 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
>> consciousness...
>> 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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