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Re: [xmca] Natural/Cultural Lines/

Thanks Peter. Interesting.
What I am trying to figure out is Vygotsky's theory of concept formation and
recent posts that have introduced new (for me) distinctions as a way to
understand, say, the concept formation process described in chapter 5-6 of

Re the example. I have no doubt that there was nothing wrong with my taste
buds and  my wife and i appeared to establish "intersubjectivity" that the
soup was yummy in a special way.

Our language does not allow us to put it into words. Perhaps a great chef
would be able to talk to another chef about it, like expert wine tasters.

One question is -- what is the state of our cognitive processes here?
Another question concerns imagination. I am thinking, tentatively, that our
imaginations WERE impaired.
Anyway, an example of the experiencable, the shareably experienceable, but
not formulatable in language.

On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 8:58 AM, smago <smago@uga.edu> wrote:

> On the topic of minestrone soup.....some friends and I have a book on
> teaching writing coming out this fall. One chapter deals with teaching
> middle school kids ways to use sensory detail in their writing. From that
> chapter (written by one of my coauthors):
> Our sense of taste is limited to discriminating salt, sweet, sour, and
> bitter. In contrast, the olfactory sense is capable of discriminating over
> ten thousand scents. Despite the large number of scents humans can
> discriminate, the English language is nearly devoid of words to describe
> smells. We have such words as fruity, resinous, flowery, spicy, putrid, and
> burnt to describe major categories of smells. Unfortunately, these words,
> and a few others, such as rancid, fecund, acrid, fetid, fragrant, sweet, and
> redolent nearly complete our vocabulary of smells in English. Many odors are
> simply named by whatever it is that generates them: carnations, the
> cheesecake factory, the chemistry class, and so on.
> Edgar Allen Poe was a master of using sensory details for effect. Yet in
> "The Pit and the Pendulum" he barely uses the sense of smell, even though
> his narrator can see virtually nothing. Poe describes two important odors in
> terms of the substances that give rise to them: "The vapor of heated iron! A
> suffocating odor," which emanated from the heated walls of the dungeon, and
> "the peculiar smell of decayed fungus" rising from the pit. His description
> of smells is limited to a few general adjectives and the naming of
> particular odoriferous objects.
> So Mike, describing odors and tastes seems to be a problem embedded in the
> language, rather than one of your imagination or gustatory discrimination.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On
> Behalf Of mike cole
> Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 11:46 AM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture,Activity
> Subject: [xmca] Natural/Cultural Lines/
> I would like to take up Steve Gabosch's suggestion a few days back that the
> discussion about precepts/concepts etc be viewed in terms of the natural(
> phylogenetic) and cultural (socio-historical) lines of development a la LSV.
> There are a lot of aspects to the discussion I am still finding confusing
> and am struggling to related to LSV's writings. But I am hoping it will help
> to consider recent work in what are referred to as the "social
> neurosciences." A variety of this work (I attach some examples, one a
> review) appears to make an argument that there are levels of processing
> information about the self and the environment, including others in the
> environment, that do not reach the level of the cortex and happen very
> rapidly, perhaps involving cortical processes in a later stage of processing
> -- or so the story goes. These "cognitive" phenomena appear to akin to what
> people are discussing about percepts.
> On this topic domenstically (as in dinner last night). We had a great
> ministrone that both my wife and I found especially delicious. But we could
> not, even in extended discussion, name the apparently shared feeling of
> excellent taste. We could remember the ingredients, speculate and what might
> have led to the neat combination, but could not name "it" although we could
> both distinguish it.
> For those interested.
> mike
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