Re: [xmca] Rote, Role, Rule

From: David Kellogg <vaughndogblack who-is-at>
Date: Tue Dec 16 2008 - 11:07:57 PST

Amazing! I knew we were missing something with your long absence.
Actually, I didn't mean the mathematical quipu. As I understand it, the quipu was used to send messages the same way as a notched stick or a knotted handkerchief or a string around the finger. (My unreadable marginal notes in "Thinking and Speech" function in teh same way.)
With a quipu, the runner has a mnemonic, but only the runner really knew what the knots were supposed to signify. It wasn't so much a means of communication as an "aide de memoire", a form of self-directed speech which was used to stimulate other-directed speech.
But what you say makes sense. LSV remarks that the first writing systems (think of Mike's Sumerian classrooms) were really numerical systems. These might have been "exapted" as forms of self-directed speech by treating them as having elided arguments (e.g. "iiii" is treated as meaning "four papyri").  These abbreviated forms could then have been elaborated by adding explicit predications (e.g. "I have four rolls of papyrus") and so to the invention of writing.
I think what I find really useful in Mescharykov's contribution is that it manages to reverse engineer LSV's argument into a rather elided form in precisely this way, as four genetic "laws" (sic), which are nevertheless clearly linked:
1) nature-->culture: the differentiation of cultural functions from naturally given ones, e.g. counting from quantity.
2) social-->individual: the differentiation of cultural functions into socially given and then individual functions, e.g. counting by yourself from counting in a classroom.
3) extramental-->intramental: the differentiation of individual functions into externally self-directed and internally self-directed, e.g. verbal memory from self-directed speech (the quipu).
4) spontaneous-->scientific: the differentiation of intramental functions into every-day conceptions based on contextually bound, syntagmatically analyzeable experience and scientific concepts based on universal, paradigmatically analyzed abstract meanings, e.g. foreign languages from native languages.
If what you say is true, then the quipu is just what LSV was looking for: a mediational means that represents a transitional form between the third genetic law and the fourth one!
David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education 

xmca mailing list
Received on Tue Dec 16 11:09:36 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Jan 06 2009 - 13:39:39 PST