Re: [xmca] Experience: material, ideal, real, imagined

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Sun Mar 05 2006 - 18:51:55 PST

Seems like Peirce and Dewey might have had some sort of affinity, Don? I
have never read anything by your barber. What has she written we could read?
But I have read a lot of Skinner. I am, by training (at IU..... perhaps
before your time?) a third generation Skinnerian. He was kind of a bright
guy too.

Skinner would probably have agreed that "the existence of thought now
depends on what is to be hereafter; so that it has only a potential
existence, dependent on the future thought of the community."

On 3/5/06, Cunningham, Donald James <> wrote:
> Is the distinction between reality and fantasy even sustainable? Following
> Peirce, I have always assumed that the base state of our cognition is a set
> of beliefs on the basis of which the world makes sense (mostly) to us.
> Beliefs change, grow, become more complex but whether they correspond to
> reality is always problematic. Realty seems to be a function of a community
> agreement:
> Finally, as what anything really is, is what it may finally come to be
> known to be in the ideal state of complete information, so that reality
> depends on the ultimate decision of the community; so thought is what it is,
> only by virtue of its addressing a future thought which is in its value as
> thought identical with it, though more developed. In this way, the existence
> of thought now depends on what is to be hereafter; so that it has only a
> potential existence, dependent on the future thought of the community.
> (Peirce, 5.316).
> I take this "future thought" to be a regulative idea, not an attainable
> goal. Of course this raises the spectre of whether some beliefs are closer
> to reality than others. So are CHAT theorists closer than behaviorists who
> are closer than my barber (who is actually a very bright guy!).......djc
> ________________________________
> From: on behalf of Mike Cole
> Sent: Mon 3/6/2006 8:07 AM
> To: Andy Blunden
> Cc: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Experience: material, ideal, real, imagined
> I hope others will continue to chime in with their observations and
> suggestions.
> I also agree that Peter's crack about Bush is relevant. The other day a
> speaker at our department noted how Reagan used to, visibly, confuse
> pictures
> he was in with the new role he was playing as president and Bush sometimes
> gives me the same impression (his slightly bowlegged swagger when they
> let him out of the corral with jeans on being informal).
> My own take on mediational theories of mind is that there can be no sharp
> distinction between what we call reality and what we call fantasy. For the
> only
> paper I have written where this is taken up (if you are interested) see
> the
> paper by Cole and Levitin on the web page.
> I am posing the question because of the need to teach some about new
> massive
> multi-user games and various cyber environments where, for reasons that
> may implicate your computer screen comments, Andy, the borderlands are
> particularly foggy and seemingly extensive.
> This has also brought me to the topic of imaginary companions and
> transition
> objects, the latter of which Mary has been trying to bring to our
> attention.
> But
> I am finding is that while there is a tone of academic work on the topic
> with respect to kids becoming "more realistic" (to speak crudely) there is
> too little
> about the way in which adult experience is infused with the imaginary.
> Hence, my query to all of you.
> mike
> On 3/5/06, Andy Blunden <> wrote:
> >
> > A couple of decades ago, my job was managing a building automation
> system,
> > a set of interconnected computers which turned building equipment on and
> off
> > and reported back room temperatures etc. It was a matter of some concern
> to
> > me at the time that people had real difficulty understanding the
> differences
> > between the temperature (EG) they saw on the screen, the temp the system
> had
> > in its memory, the reading on the physical gauge and the actual
> temperature,
> > etc., etc. People tended to accept what they saw on the screen as
> absolute
> > truth and get very upset when it turned out to be untrue.
> > This experience led me to observe that the whole computer screen
> business,
> > whereby software invisibly intervenes between user action, reality if
> any
> > and screen image, was enormously confusing for people (all of us) who
> don't
> > understand what is going on 'behind the screen'. I think Peter's crack
> about
> > the Bush administration is not far wide of the mark. No-one knows or
> > understands what lies between the news-readers audio on their TV and
> > objective reality. If you're not aware of that immense chain of human
> > interaction that produces a story with only the remotest connection to
> > anything that actually happened in the material world outside, how can
> you
> > have a realistic and critical attitude to the news?
> > I'm sorry I can't give you references to academic studies of this Mike;
> I
> > know there is a lot of stuff about games which goes on, ...
> > Andy
> >
> > At 05:02 PM 4/03/2006 -0800, you wrote:
> >
> > The following quote from Dewey speaks to issues that have been ongoing
> on
> > XMCA and also provide context for a question I am hoping for some help
> on
> > (having been so successful with
> > my question about references on narrative!). In particular, it concerns
> > the
> > conclusion that experience is a hybrid of what is termed here the
> physical
> > and the mental. This snippet is provided courtesy of Matt Brown, a
> member
> > of
> > our seminar on mediational theories of mind.
> >
> > Here's a little tidbit from Dewey that I think is interesting for
> several
> > reasons: it answers the question from earlier about whether Dewey is
> > concerned with the social, it provides a sort of summary statement of
> > central Deweyan theses, and it is exceptionally clear (for Dewey). From
> > Chapter 11 of *Art as Experience*:
> >
> >
> > Experience is a matter of the interaction of organism with its
> > environment,
> > an environment that is human as well as physical, that includes the
> > materials of tradition and institutions as well as local surroundings.
> The
> > organism brings with it through its own structure, native and acquired,
> > forces that play a part in the interaction. The self acts as well as
> > undergoes, and its undergoings are not impressions stamped upon an inert
> > wax
> > but depend upon the way the organism reacts and responds. There is no
> > experience in which the human contribution is not a factor in
> determining
> > what actually happens. The organism is a force, not a transparency.
> >
> > Because every experience is constituted by interaction between subject
> and
> > object, between a self and its world, it is not itself either merely
> > physical nor merely mental, no matter how much one factor or the other
> > predominates... In an experience, things and events belonging to the
> > world,
> > physical and social, are transformed through the human context they
> enter,
> > while the live creature is changed and developed through its intercourse
> > with things previously external to it.
> >
> > Here is my question, related to this characterization of experience:
> >
> > In various situations (in particular, I am thinking of various massive
> > multi-user games and related cyber-interactional meeting places)
> > it appears that people can, perhaps cannot help at times, confusing what
> > we
> > would normally refer to as "fantasy" and "reality."
> >
> > There is an extensive literature on the development of this distinction
> in
> > children's development, but I am seeking research on the
> > distinction's presumed presence or absence among adults.
> >
> > Any and all help appreciated
> > mike
> > _______________________________________________
> > xmca mailing list
> >
> >
> >
> > Andy Blunden, for Victorian Peace Network
> > Global Justice Tours:
> >
> >
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list
xmca mailing list

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sat Apr 01 2006 - 01:00:12 PST