Re: [xmca] Subject: Verb, Object

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at>
Date: Sat Dec 22 2007 - 15:01:35 PST

David in your long and interesting post there are many points that could be
argued about, but I am going to pick out just one, because it is a
long-running xmca issue and bears on my paper.

At 08:33 AM 22/12/2007 -0800, David Kellogg wrote:
>... One of the key differences (for me) between signs and tools (one
>reason I am not willing to the desire to merge them) is that signs have
>this dismantlement built in, both because the other-regulator disappears
>leaving behind only the memory of his/her words and because words
>themselves are elided as understanding increases.

In my paper I mention that Hegel points to three (not 2) processes by which
individuals appropriate and create culture and history (Spirit for Hegel).
Each of these three processes involve using a kind of artefact: (1) labour,
using tools - "the norm of labour", (2) using words - "the tools of Reason"
and (3) raising children - "the natural product of intelligent beings."

Hegel's addition of this third is really interesting isn't it? and I think
he is right on the mark here.

More recently, I have been using the form of expression which says that
these three activities are "paradigmaitic" and the three mediating elements
are "paradigmatic" artefacts. I think it was Tony Whitson (apologies if
not) who pointed out the amount of time wasted by students of C S Peirce,
deciding whether this or that sign is an icon or an index, etc. It is the
same here. If doesn't matter whether a password is a symbol or an index, a
tool or a word. From the point of view of psychology it doesn't matter
(though it obviously matters for engineering). The point is to understand
how the given mediating artefact functions to mediate an idea, aid in
constructing an individual psyche and function in collaborative activity.
The three "moments" or "paradigmatic instances" help to mark out the whole
territory, not to divide it up into paddocks.

So David, no-one is asking you to merge heavy-metal tools and spoken words,
I think, but just to grasp the function of all material artefacts, whether
ephemeral pressure waves in the air, biodegradable newspapers, tablets of
stone or the body of the person you're training up to take over your job
when you retire. To mark out the whole field, leaving every single
instance, not just two or three, for special attention in a common process.

Hope that helps rather than confuses.

xmca mailing list
Received on Sat Dec 22 15:02 PST 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Jan 07 2008 - 10:13:50 PST