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

Date: Wed Nov 22 2006 - 10:41:17 PST

Valsiner would refer to culture as being the constructed collective milieu
of language and tradition whereas natural would refer to the physical
realm. And yes David, some people do achieve different perspectives upon
the mountain. This in turn provides the achieving person with the unique
position of being viewed by more people.

As far as the world being overwhelming once we apply appropriate meaning.
Try a bit of a mind experiment. Imagine that you are dropped into a world
of barren sand and rock. You spend some time by yourself trying to grasp
the significance of such a place. Suddenly another person appears. Just
as you are about to speak to that person a rock moves on its own with rapid
speed and knocks the other person out cold. Suddenly you have a different
perspective on this new environment. What you once thought to be benign,
the rock is now something that provides immediate attention. This new
dilemma may cause you to create a sign that warns others of these new found
flying rocks. Placing the sign as a warning would allow others to
understand the immediacy of watching out for flying rocks.

Does this clarify anything? If not I assure you Jaan is very accesible.


                      < To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
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                      11/21/2006 07:48
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                      Mind, Culture,

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
(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
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