[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [xmca] Consciousness, Piaget

Steve et al--

I have not been a real part of this discussion because I have been meeting
up-close deadines and trying to read very carefully through Anna Sfard's
book.*Thinks as Communicating. *I also find Ilyenkov very difficult and
have, thus far, only "cherry picked" ideas that seemed to give
voice to intuitions I have had during years of teaching, but could find no
relevant formulations for. So I cannot respond adequately here, Steve, to
your question, although taken in its present context, I find it very
difficult to believe that " ideality (roughly, the social meanings of
things) is independent of human will and consciousness as well." Partly this
is because I assume the artificial to be the embodiment to prior human goal
achieving actions that have
survived to be present in our current activities.

Recently Jay published a review of Anna's book in MCA which is well worth
reading, but
as i work my way through it, her ideas reverberate with the traces of the
current discussion
I am able to grok in passing, or feel like I am "getting."

One of these is her suggestion that a concept is " a word or other signifier
WITH ITS DISCURSIVE USE (my emphasis). That complicates identifying words
and concepts and moves us toward a Wittgensteinian notion of word meaning.

I also think that reading the Davydov materials posted by Andy is important
because VVD
was quite critical of Vygotsky's notion of concept.

I am also trying to think about how to extended the into-image-making
"level" of consciousness, which occurs, "behind our backs" (or beneath our
notice) and other forms of
imagination which are clearly linguistically mediated and quite deliberate
-- A book on
"Rational Imagination."

I sure wish there was a way to allign our temporally and geographically
distributed musing
and wonderings. For now, getting the XMCA archive fixed up and stable is the
next best step
I can manage.

Thanks to you and David and the others who are doing close readings and well
summaries, evaluations, and extrapolations. Keeps the golden ring just
almost within reach.


On Thu, Sep 10, 2009 at 3:38 PM, Steve Gabosch <stevegabosch@me.com> wrote:

> Mike, David, all:  I have a question about the how some of Ilyenkov's views
> on thinking and consciousness align with the comments on consciousness that
> you make, Mike, in your 2006 article, which you linked us to the other day
> (see post below).  Keeping in mind that this article had a more specific
> purpose, to make the case for the intertwining of phylogeny and culture in
> human mental life, it nevertheless makes a brief but very interesting point
> about consciousness itself.
> I find myself agreeing with both Ilyenkov, and the observations in this
> article.  But there seem to be some links missing between the two views,
> which I am puzzling over.
> Ilyenkov, for his part, makes it clear that he believes the world of
> objects is independent of human will and consciousness.  In my
> interpretation of the passages from Problems of Dialectical Logic that David
> and I have been discussing, Ilyenkov also believes that the **connections**
> between human thought and the world of objects are independent of human will
> and consciousness.  Furthermore, in Chapter 8 of his book Problems of
> Dialectical Logic (1974/1977), and in his essay The Concept of the Ideal
> (1962/1977), Ilyenkov argues that the ideal, that is, ideality (roughly, the
> social meanings of things) is independent of human will and consciousness as
> well.
> My question is:  How do Ilyenkov's claims - or perhaps put another way,
> **do** his claims - align with Mike's thoughts on consciousness?
> Here are Mike's comments about human consciousness in this 2006 article,
> which seem very reasonable to me:
> "A provocative way to think about phylogeny–culture–cognition relations
> among humans is to consider the combination of processes that appears to be
> necessary for an adult human to experience a visual image of the world (the
> same processes presumably apply to images in other sensory modalities but
> the relevant data are lacking)." p 237
> After a very helpful description of human vision processes, (which, after
> reading this, could be said to be discontinuously continuous and
> continuously discontinuous!), Mike concludes:
> "Following the logic of this line of research on what might be termed ‘‘the
> components of the visual image” we can conclude that one component is highly
> specified by factors arising from human beings’ phylogenetic history and one
> part from the individual’s culturally organized experience, which itself is
> the residue of the cultural history of the individual’s social group.
> However, these two sources of experience are not sufficient to provide a
> coherent image of the object before one’s eyes. Rather, it requires a
> ‘‘third component,” the active reconciliation or filling-in by active humans
> seeking to make sense of their experience for an integrated, veridical image
> of the world to arise and be maintained.
> "In addition to its value as a reminder of the tripartite nature of human
> conscious experience, the stabilized image experiment is valuable in
> underlining the fact that the causal relations between the brain and culture
> are bi-directional and that neither constituent of psychological processes
> is sufficient; the active resolving activity of the human being striving to
> make sense of the world is a necessary component of normal consciousness as
> well."  p 239.
> - Steve
> On Sep 3, 2009, at 4:18 PM, Mike Cole wrote:
>  Your multi-lingualism, as always, David, is very helpful, along with your
>> broad and close readings.
>> I am a very late comer to the issues of consciousness, having been raised
>> in
>> the era when the term
>> was exorcized by American psychology. You can find my first halting steps
>> at
>> coming to grips with
>> the idea in *Cultural Psychology, *in the chapter where I describe the
>> analysis of question-asking reading that Peg  Griffin invented and which I
>> still work with as a  teaching tool. There we replace the solid triangle
>> with a triangle that is "open at the front end" putting time along the
>> bottom line and having a gap
>> between the mediated and direct connections between subject and object.
>> That
>> process of filling that
>> gap is the process of consciousness. This idea appears in a different
>> nascent form in analysis of
>> fixed images on the retina that can be found at
>> http://lchc.ucsd.edu/People/MCole/PHYSIO326.pdf
>> The fixed image data make clear that tripartate nature of HUMAN
>> consiousness, where discoordination is constituitive of consciousness.
>> elsewhere i have written about taking the russian term,
>> voobrazhenie  into-image-making as THE fundamental cognitive act.
>> All of these involve, I believe,
>> a) awareness
>> b) noticing
>> c) selection
>> d) potential anticipation
>> But there are so many more and many different ways of thinking of the
>> matter. False consciousness is a term I worry about a lot.
>> Color me self conscious.
>> mike
>  On Thu, Sep 3, 2009 at 4:03 PM, David Kellogg <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com
>> >wrote:
>>  Tony, Mike:
>>> We translated Piaget's "prise de conscience" as "seizure of
>>> consciousness",
>>> except that in Korean the verbal noun has the more psychological sense of
>>> "grasping" as when you grasp a meaning that you didn't really understand
>>> in
>>> a phrase that you have heard many times. So, to nominalize, the "prise de
>>> conscience" is the "graspture of awareness" or the "rapture of
>>> awareness".
>>> Every child is an awareness raptor.
>>> I think that one important thing to grasp here is that "conscience" in
>>> French is not really the homuncular "consciousness" we have in English,
>>> any
>>> more than it is the obvious false friend, the meaning of a moral
>>> "conscience" that we find in English writings on ethics. It has a number
>>> of
>>> OTHER meanings that attracted Vygotsky to Piaget, to wit:
>>> a) awareness
>>> b) noticing
>>> c) selection
>>> d) potential anticipation
>>> It seems to me that all of these can be conceptualized as moments in the
>>> passing of the child from a relatively passive, reactive state to a much
>>> more voluntary, volitional one.
>>> Last night, I was re-reading Engestrom's old book "Learning by
>>> Expanding",
>>> which some of our teachers are busy translating into Korean. In Chapter
>>> Five
>>> he does try to tackle the question that I think gives the "prise de
>>> conscience" its real importance, which is the question of whether and at
>>> what point learning is REVERSIBLE--at what point the laying down of
>>> socioculturally accumulated experience becomes the creation of new
>>> content
>>> for the next phase of sociocultural progress.
>>> I think Engestrom sees Vygotsky's preliminary considerations of history
>>> (which he describes, it seems to me incorrectly, as phenomenological),
>>> his
>>> laboratory experiments (what Paula and Carol replicated), his empirical
>>> classroom observations (Chapter Six of T&S) and his theorizing as moments
>>> of
>>> a single process which can be REVERSED in order to yield the next, higher
>>> phase of expansion. The first process works from outside in, and the
>>> second
>>> from inside out.
>>> The problem, it seems to me, is the crisis. the "prise de conscience" is
>>> really a crisis par excellence, and a crisis is by definition NOT
>>> reversible. For example, awareness is not simply the end point of
>>> noticing
>>> done backwards, nor is noticing the endpoint of attentional selection in
>>> reverse. Obviously, active anticipation requires awareness, noticing,
>>> and attentional selection, but not vice versa.
>>> So the crisis obeys different laws, and we can also expect post-critical
>>> development to be different from precritical development in important
>>> ways.
>>> In physics, a shock wave cannot, by definition, be understood with the
>>> same
>>> mathematics we use to describe continuous phenomenon. And the shock
>>> reverberates: if a crisis is generally restructuring, we have to expect
>>> that
>>> the laws of the next phase of social progress are going to be in some way
>>> fundamentally different.
>>> David Kellogg
>>> Seoul National University of Education
>>> ---
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> xmca mailing list
>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>>>  _______________________________________________
>> xmca mailing list
>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list
> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
xmca mailing list