Re: [xmca] motive/project

From: Paul Dillon <phd_crit_think who-is-at>
Date: Fri Dec 19 2008 - 10:42:46 PST

Hi Michael,

You wrote:  "So what the unit is, is itself a historical result that goes to before the beginning." and later used the word "bootstrap" to describe what we could euphemistically call "a quantum leap" (in Bohr's original sense of the term, not the sci fi series).

I think Marx answered this and that Ilyenkov clarified it in their discussion about why Aristotle couldn't answer the question:  "Why does one thing (a table, iron) get exchanged in a given proportion for another thing (two oxen, corn)?"  It's a historical process, individuals don't make the leap, the concepts emerge out of the historical process itself.  This is one way to understand (as Leslie White tried to say so long ago) what has been called "independent invention"; .e.g., Leibniz and Newton and the calculus. 

Not sure how we can get on top of that, I guess it has to do with our motive(s) for pursuing the question itself.

Best regards,

--- On Fri, 12/19/08, Wolff-Michael Roth <> wrote:
From: Wolff-Michael Roth <>
Subject: Re: [xmca] motive/project
To:, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
Date: Friday, December 19, 2008, 10:21 AM

Paul, you are right, we get a continual differentiation of the unit, and this is so in Bakhtin, too, whose analyses of the evolution of literature are entirely consistent with the historical method Marx proposes to us.But how does it, the unit, come out? Any basic form, any basic is the result of a transaction between an organism and its Umwelt, so that 'the same tree' will be different for the bug taking delight in its juices, the bird going to the tree to capture bugs, and the human being  feeding himself capturing birds in trees.
So what the unit is, is itself a historical result that goes to before the beginning. This is why the psycholinguist McNeill has to backtrack, use the repetition when it is clear that it is a repetition to look at the moment that an idea first emerges. He uses both Vygotsky and Merleau-Ponty on this emergence, which can be detected only after it is already apparent.
Same position on language by RIchard Rorty, in Contingency, irony, solidarity

There is a moment of bootstrap into the system, and this problem of the fatherless father is one that preoccupied the great philosophers of the world, Plato to Derrida, and in recent years, Levinas and Nancy. First philosophy, is not only their term but one that Bakhtin himself (1993, Philosophy of the Act) uses.

On 19-Dec-08, at 10:06 AM, Paul Dillon wrote:
I have a problem with Andy's idea of "choosing a unit of analysis".  Doesn't the unit analysis come out of a process of movement from the abstract to the concrete, a process that Marx first described in the Grundrisse, "The Method of Political Economy"?  

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Received on Fri Dec 19 10:44:01 2008

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