Re: [xmca] New Valsiner SEmiots paper on MCA website at lchc

From: Kellogg (
Date: Tue Nov 21 2006 - 17:48:33 PST

To get back to the paper! Here are some problems I had with specific things on just the first page.

Title: "Functions of pleromatization in creating diversity in cultural and natural constructions".

I understand how humans can create diversity in cultural constructions. But how do humans create diversity in nature itself (as opposed to describing or discovering diversity)?

Assuming I am not God, is there actually any such thing as a natural "construction"? To me this suggests a very anthropocentric, anti-realist position; if a tree falls in a forest and no human hears it, no natural construction took place.

p. 1; "(...I)t is only the few climbers of the golden mountian of knowledge who begin to theretically grasp the complexity of bio-and semiospheres."

Ah, perhaps here we see that elitism is not necessarily tied to realism! The anti-realist position, on the contrary, is far more prone to elitist theorizing which places the construction of complexity beyond the grasp of valley dwellers like me.

p. 1: "Our world is 'overwhelming' only once we create the appropriate meaning--which itself is as indeterminate ats the world it presents."

I'm thoroughly confused. If we say that the world is "as indeterminate" as our representations of it, it sure sounds like there are two kinds of indeterminacy, and not one.

On the subway here in Seoul there is a rather stupid campaign against "Korean English", and the example given is an English sign in a public loo which says "Toilet Papers in the Bowl".

According to the subway advert, 80% of the native English speakers who saw this sign laughed at it. If you didn't laugh at it, you need help with your English.
(they must have a sample of those gormless American soldiers on their first tour overseas that Kerry was supposedly talking about).

In Korea, there are often special receptacles for used toilet paper which are emptied daily, because if you flush the paper down the toilet, it clogs the rather narrow pipes. But now the plumbing is being replaced with American gauge pipes and in some places the receptacles are taken away, hence the necessity of these signs.

But even if I am a fresh-off-the-plane American vistior who thinks that the sentence "Toilet Papers in the Bowl" is indeterminate, I think I am only talking about the indeterminacy of the message, not the indeterminacy of the toilet. The toilet is not indeterminate at all.

That's just the first page! It gets worse... I don't think that Valsiner would have time for all this, eric....

David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

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