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Re: [xmca] concepts
- To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: Re: [xmca] concepts
- From: mike cole <email@example.com>
- Date: Mon, 11 Apr 2011 18:07:29 -0400
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I agree, Monica. Its odd that we make such distinctions and then worry that
we do not
know what a key term in the discussion (in this case, concept) is supposed
to mean (we all find a way to make sense of it for ourselves however!).
Martin and other conceptual knowers. LSV and Luria insisted that words were
generalizations. How is that idea of generalization related to the idea of a
A con-cept. With-cept? I have no conception!
On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 1:13 PM, Monica Hansen <
> I have enjoyed reading your back and forth on this topic of concepts.
> Examining the concept of concepts is indeed problematic, but it is the crux
> of the whole issue. Social/individual, internal/external,
> physiological/mental, concrete/abstract, etc.
> You ended with this:
> "But to sever completely the links between everyday discourse and
> discourse would be to prevent the informing of the former by the latter
> LSV found so important."
> I would just like to go one further: severing the links between everyday
> discourse and scientific discourse would prevent the former(everyday) from
> informing the latter(scientific). There can be no higher psychological
> processes, no scientific concepts without everyday concepts because it is
> the specific and local nature of experience that informs all the others
> is informed by the others as well). It is the dialogic nature of concepts
> that makes them so fascinating and so powerful.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On
> Behalf Of Martin Packer
> Sent: Sunday, April 10, 2011 11:33 AM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [xmca] concepts
> On Apr 10, 2011, at 12:33 PM, Martin Packer wrote:
> >>> Maybe the notion of a "concept" might be a bit like that of a "gene" in
> the sense that a gene is a sort of functional unit, but it has no simple
> material reality in itself.
> Jay's opening sentence neatly illustrates the difficulty of eliminating
> 'concept.' He writes of 'the notion' of a concept - which is to say, to
> write about concepts he has to employ a concept, namely that of 'concept'!
> (If that seems odd, try reading some Frege!)
> As the Stanford Encyclopedia article points out, no one has satisfactorily
> defined a concept. But the seeming unavoidability of invoking something
> 'concept' follows from the fact that we humans (and perhaps animals too;
> another seemingly intractable debate) deal not so much with particularities
> as with generalities. We talk and write not about this think and that
> but this 'kind' of thing and that 'type' of thing. We write not about the
> specific concept of 'rabbit,' but about 'the notion' of concept.
> As Henry James once wrote, "The intellectual life of man consists almost
> wholly in his substitution of a conceptual order for the perceptual order
> which his experience originally comes." One may disagree with the
> of the two order that James' words seems to suggest, but it seems
> implausible to deny that there are *two* orders.
> Do this order of generalities involve complex interrelations or systems, as
> Jay suggests? Are they specified in practice, in ways that depend on
> context? Yes, of course. I am deep in the middle of chapter 6 of T&S, and
> LSV wrote of all this, 70 years ago. We have already discussed here his
> notion [!] of a system of generality, represented metaphorically by lines
> longitude and latitude on a globe. He conceived of this system as
> in acts of thought that actively grasp their objects. He saw both the
> dependence of generalities on language, and their distinction.
> Should we avoid, as Jay recommends, claiming that "there are concepts as
> such"? I'm not sure what this claim would amount to. There are, and can
> only be, "concepts for us." Should we avoid reifying concepts? Certainly!
> Should we remove the term from all scientific discourse, leaving it only as
> an "everyday locution"? That's a matter of taste, I suppose. But to sever
> completely the links between everyday discourse and scientific discourse
> would be to prevent the informing of the former by the latter that LSV
> so important.
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