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

From: Cunningham, Donald James (
Date: Sun Mar 05 2006 - 19:14:58 PST

Sure he did. He just did not see the need or use of a mentalistic account of thought.


From: on behalf of Tony Whitson
Sent: Mon 3/6/2006 10:54 AM
To:; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Experience: material, ideal, real, imagined

but Skinner did not believe in thought

On Sun, 5 Mar 2006, Mike Cole wrote:

> 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."
> mike
> 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:
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Tony Whitson
UD School of Education

"those who fail to reread
  are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
                   -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
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