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

From: Tony Whitson (twhitson@UDel.Edu)
Date: Thu Nov 23 2006 - 16:34:08 PST

should be
"s-r" dyads, below, not
"s-i" dyads (sorry about that)

On Thu, 23 Nov 2006, Tony Whitson wrote:

> Peirce absolutely would not agree that thirdness is any less real than
> firstness. The locution "independent existence of real things" begs the
> question, "independent OF WHAT?" Peirce rejects the dualism that is
> responded to in opposite ways by realism and by idealism. Peirce believed in
> reality, and in real things, but not reality or real things independent of
> the relations in which real things are constituted. The thirdness that, to
> our knowledge, is especially realized in human intellectual activity is no
> less primordial than firstness and secondness in the constitution of the
> world that was emerging prior to the advent of humankind.
> Talk or thought about Firsts requires logical precision from Seconds and
> Thirds. The idea is not that Firsts somehow existed temporally or
> ontologically before--or independently of--Seconds and Thirds.
> An instance of this way of understanding can be seen in Dewey's Reflex Arc
> paper: The "reflex arc" is not a matter of stimuli and responses that become
> s-i dyads and then a series of dyadic reactions that are prior to the arc.
> As I noted in a different thread:
> In response to dualism, and the issue of Realism vs. Idealism:
> John Deely articulates a "Semiotist" position as against both the Realist
> and the Idealist. Deely sees even Jameson as trapped in an ideology (my
> word) of "Representation" (Locke, Kant, etc.) rather than awareness of
> signification (Poinsot, Peirce, etc.) through essentially triadic
> sign-relations, in which the triadically related terms participate together
> in semiosis without regard for boundaries between "mind" and "world," etc.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On
> Behalf Of Kellogg
> Sent: Thursday, November 23, 2006 6:40 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [xmca] New Valsiner SEmiots paper on MCA website at lchc
> Dear Michael and eric:
> I guess I really don't understand the distinction Michael is making between
> experimentalism and realism. I don't think I'm conflating them; I think I
> really don't know the difference.
> What I meant to say was that Peirce distinguishes between "firstness",
> "secondness" and "thirdness", where the first is characteristic of iconic,
> direct, "thing in itself" meaning, the second is characteristic of
> indexical, indicative, "thing for others" meaning, and the third is
> characteristic of symbolic, socialized, "thing for itself" meaning.
> What is "first" about firstness? Well, to me it is first because it lies
> closest to materiality, viz. material reality. I don't think this is an
> outrageous intepretation; Peirce knew his German philosophy and must have
> been as familiar with Feuerbach as with Hegel. So if Michael thinks that
> Peirce does not believe in the independent existence of real things, I'd
> really like to know why.
> I see why Valsiner doesn't! I'm still scratching my head over that passage
> in "The Social Mind" where he says that the zone of proximal development can
> NEVER be operationalized or experimentally verified, because there is no way
> to know whether the child's solution of the problem actually incorporates of
> external assistance or constitutes an independent discovery (p. 379). To me
> this ineluctably suggests dualism--UNLESS you take the step of denying the
> primacy of external reality, in which case the distinction between
> interpersonal knowledge building and intrapersonal construction really is
> uninteresting. But in that case, whence (and whither) development?
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
> _______________________________________________
> 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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