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

From: Tony Whitson (twhitson@UDel.Edu)
Date: Sun Mar 05 2006 - 19:19:13 PST

would you say Skinner recognized anything like what Peirce regarded as

On Sun, 5 Mar 2006, Cunningham, Donald James wrote:

> 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
> NEWARK DE 19716
> _______________________________
> "those who fail to reread
> are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
> -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

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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