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

Re: [xmca] Play and the Owl of Minerva

I also want to thank you for Rosch's article which I just read.
Andy, does this article speak to your triangle that puts "concept" at the apex MEDIATING mind-world ( or at a less abstract level sel-other).
When reading the article's critique of the term "representation" I was reminded of Markova's historical recognition that the original meaning in the 13th century in France was of a construct that was mediational and ONTOLOGICALLY communicative.
It was in the 14th century when translated into English that representations moved inside the "mind".
The notions of concepts as MEDIATING or BRIDGING social acts is what Markova and Gillespie are exploring with their engagement with Mead's and Moscovici's ideas.
I just want to amplify Mead's concept of SIGNIFICANT symbols which I see as similar to Rosch's proposals. This summary is from page 19 & 20 of Gillespie's book "Becoming Other: From Social Interaction to Self Reflection"
If a gesture, whether vocal or otherwise evokes only one perspective, or response, then in Mead's terminology it is a symbol.  When these gestures EVOKE two or more perspectives WITHIN A SOCIAL ACT Mead called them SIGNIFICANT symbols. This FUNDAMENTAL distinction in Mead's theory is usually overlooked.  Mead's significant symbol is genuinely INTERSUBJECTIVE and DIALOGIC in its INTEGRATION of two or more different perspectives.
Gillespie points out that Buhler and Piercr both point out pottential divergences in the meaning of the sign.  "However they do not coceive of this divergence as INHERENT in the STRUCTURE of the sign" (p.20"
Example. The concept "buy"is seen as having a meaning the act of purchasing. However, situating for Mead, SITUATING the SIGNIFICANT symbol "buying" within the social act of BUYING AND SELLING we see the concept has different meanings and different perspectives when considered from the actor position of buyer or sellor.  The activity is INTERSUBJECTIVEand the concept is INTERSUBJECTIVE. to the extent that BOTH the buyers and sellors arise WITHIN THE SAME PERSON. 
Gillespies point (and Meads) is that the SIGNIFICANT symbolic meaning of the concept "buy" CONTAINS DIVERGENT PERSPECTIVES
Gillespie emphasizes that in all cases SIGNIFICANT symbols are microcosms of SOCIAL ACTS. The divergence of perspectivesbetween people interacting are present IN THE VERY STRUCTURE of significant symbols or concepts and SOCIALLY REPRESENTS the complimentary (figure/ground) perspectives.  Therefore Gillespie summarizes ALL KINOWLEDGE is linked to self, TO IDENTITY.
To understand a significant symbol is to experience the social act from multiple perspectives SIMULTANEOUSLY and thus experience ones own position within the social act.
For another post, Moscovici is working out a similar world view with his concept of social representations.  I see a lot of congruence with Rosch's re-visioning of her notion of concepta


----- Original Message -----
From: Martin Packer <packer@duq.edu>
Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 6:49 pm
Subject: Re: [xmca] Play and the Owl of Minerva
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>

> Andy, a quick reply and then I have to go. I keep trying to 
> argue, in various ways and places, that LSV did not buy into the 
> representational theory of mind that dogs much of cognitive 
> science and is characteristic of Piaget, a result of his 
> Kantianism. One challenge that LSV's emphasis on concepts 
> introduces is that it becomes difficult to block the 
> interpretation that LSV was proposing just a social kind of 
> Piaget - co-onstruction of conceptual knowledge, internalization 
> of mental representations. 
> There are to my mind numerous indications that LV was in fact 
> doing something quite different. But to make the case 
> convincingly one has to find in his writing a different approach 
> to concepts than the dominant one. What I like about Rosch's 
> article is that (1) she makes a pretty strong case for the 
> inability of cognitive science, or at least the representational 
> theory of mind form of cognitive science, to provide either a 
> cogent theory of concepts or explanations of the empirical data, 
> and (2) she offers a different way of thinking about concepts 
> that begins with a non-dualistic approach to mind-world. To 
> quote just one paragraph:
> "Corollary A: Concepts Are Not Representational. Since the 
> subjective and objective aspects of concepts and categories 
> arise together as different poles of the same act of cognition 
> and are part of the same informational field, they are already 
> joined at their inception. They do not need to be further joined 
> by a representational theory of mind, such as that of working 
> cognitivism, and they cannot be separated by the solipsistic 
> representational theory of mind of strict cognitivism. Concepts 
> and categories do not represent the world in the mind; they are 
> a participating part of the mind-world whole of which the sense 
> of mind (of having a mind that is seeing or thinking) is one 
> pole, and the objects of mind (such as visible objects, sounds, 
> thoughts, emotions, and so on) are the other pole. Concepts -- 
> red, chair, afraid, yummy, armadillo, and all the rest -- 
> inextricably bind, in many different functioning ways, that 
> sense of being or having a mind to the sense of the objects of mind."
> This is just what one needs to develop a position in which 
> people think using concepts, but concepts are not mental 
> representations. But what does this have to do with LSV? I've 
> just been re-reading chapter 5, and there are any many things 
> that LSV writes that are compatible with this way of viewing 
> concepts. No time for details at the moment, but he writes of 
> the adolescent who thinks using concepts as actively picking out 
> attributes and synthesizing them, always dealing with a 
> practical problem. (Cf also Barsalou's articles, which Rosch 
> cites, proposing that concepts are always formed "on the fly," 
> in real time.)
> Martin
> On Mar 17, 2010, at 8:34 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:
> > Ineresting paper, Martin.
> > 
> > I liked the suggestion of "concept" being an approach to the 
> study of "situation," rather than the other way around. I agree.
> > 
> > Also appreciate the "prototype" approach. Am I right, I think 
> this idea comes to us from the Schleiermeier/Bahktin route 
> rather than the Hegel/Vygotsky route? A powerful approach, which 
> I think needs to be integrated with approaches with an Hegelian 
> heritage.> 
> > Pity about Vygotsky being lumped with Piaget and thrown in the 
> Cognitivist basket. And pity that the guy who wrote the Science 
> of the Concept in 1813 is skipped over as if he never existed.
> > 
> > :)
> > Andy
> > 
> > Martin Packer wrote:
> > .. 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:
> >> <http://psychology.berkeley.edu/faculty/profiles/erosch1999.pdf>
> >> Martin
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> xmca mailing list
> >> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> >> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> > 
> > -- 
> > ---------------------------------------------------------------
> ---------
> > Andy Blunden http://www.erythrospress.com/
> > Classics in Activity Theory: Hegel, Leontyev, Meshcheryakov, 
> Ilyenkov $20 ea
> > 
> > _______________________________________________
> > 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