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Re: [xmca] Play and the Owl of Minerva
David has used the example of play a couple of times to point out that Wittgenstein and Vygotsky made quite different claims about it. It was W's favorite example of the concept that turns out to be a family resemblance, where members look similar but actually no one feature is carried by all, while LSV identifies not just one but two shared features. David suggests that W had hold of an everyday complex, which LSV was getting hold of a truly scientific concept.
It's a fascinating point, and one I find very troubling, as someone who for years has been trying to think of science as just another everyday activity, when all is said and done. Do scientific concepts really have the kind of organization that LSV attributes to them? Was he not demonstrating a rather old-fasioned Enlightenment view of science? Was he in fact turning to Hegel for this idea of a concept, so that by Science he meant something closer to philosophical inquiry than empiricist experimentalism?
I don't wish to dodge the other issues that are currently playing out (pun intended) in this forum. Actually, this can be read as another take on the play/reality, irrationality/reason discussion, and perhaps also David Kirschner's cognitive/social skepticism. Lacking any conclusion I went web surfing, and stumbled across (well, not quite. I was doing background research for Friday's class on chapter 5 of Thought & Language) this wonderful paper by Eleanor Rosch. She is famous for her work in the 1970s on prototypes; in this paper she takes head on the problems that cognitive science has in actually specifying what a concept is, and she recommends that we need to rethink our views of both mind and world:
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