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Re: [xmca] Consciousness, Piaget

On Mon, 21 Sep 2009, mike cole wrote:

Whoa!! total agreement. And I Looooove unicorns.
My initial question was something like Martin's. "Tony, what does it mean
(for Peirce) to be 'aware of signs AS signs." Sounds a lot like thing in

First, just to mention -- I think this was before David Ki joined us at Louisiana State University -- when I arrived there we had an Asst. Prof. whose office featured bookshelves full of unicorns (he did not get tenure, but he was hired someplace in the Cal. State system, I think.).

As to "thing in itsef," the Peircean orientation (at least according to Deely, with whom I agree) is resolutely opposed to the Kantian dualistic denial of intercourse between human consciousness and the world of things as they be. Deely writes about "semiotism" vs. realism or idealisml. I use "actualism," not to mark a difference between me and Deely, but to make the same differentiation available to people who are not so familiar with Peircean semiotics as are Deely's readers.

In my classes, i ask students if they have ever seen a unicorn.  No one
ventures a yes. Then I ask them, are unicorns good or bad? They mostly all
raise their hands and say that they are good. Then we get into a good
discussion. Sounds like I have intuited myself toward what you two are
agreeing about.

On Mon, Sep 21, 2009 at 6:51 PM, Martin Packer <packer@duq.edu> wrote:

I completely agree

On Sep 21, 2009, at 7:54 PM, Tony Whitson wrote:

 On Mon, 21 Sep 2009, Martin Packer wrote:

 I've tried to stay out of this thread, because it's a difficult topic and
I'm no philosopher (though I can't seem to put their damned books down!).
But my 2 cents, for what they'll buy, are that one needs to begin with an
acknowledgement that Cs is, as I said in my last message, relational. I
don't mean by this that it is a relationship between mind and matter, I mean
that Cs is a relationship between matter and matter. I think we'd all agree
that Cs is a property, an aspect, only of living organisms. I completely
agreed with your earlier post, Andy, that Cs is not simply present or absent
but is a matter of degree or type. My favorite Hegel is the phenomenology,
which is a story about the education of Cs over time. So not all living
organisms have the same kind of Cs, and humans don't all have the same kind,
of have one kind all their lives. Cs develops. But it is always to be found
in interaction between organisms (material) and other material stuff.

It seems to me that it might help a lot to think of consciousness not as a
property or aspect, but as an activity. It is certainly a relational,
material (with formal) activity, in relation to other activities in
ourselves and in our world.
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