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Re: [xmca] concepts

You miss my point, Huw in the 1st paragraph. Having "Activity" as a fundamental concept is the only way I know to *avoid* the mental/physical dichotomy. But I wouldn't go so far as to try to avoid the "distinction." Would you?

You mention: "subject/organism/host of the epistemology". Are you suggesting that something other than a human being can have an epistemology?


Huw Lloyd wrote:

On 19 April 2011 02:01, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    Huw, I think any scientific theory should aspire to be
    philosophically rigorous. Philosophial rigour though is not
    something that depends on results as "scientific" rigour does. For
    example, is we use the concept of "activity" in our scientific
    work as a relation between the mental and the physical for
    example, then we need to be aware that this introduces a dichotomy
    which is ultimately unsustainable. On the other hand, it is almost
    impossible to talk about, let alone explain, Activity without
    referring to "states of mind" and so on. This is the difficult
    distinction between communicative action and concepts.

The mental/physical distinction looks like a dead-end to me beyond the sphere of social discourse, though I understand your gist here to be about coherence. Yes, I'd only offer mild surprise that you'd willingly employ an incoherent theory. The distinction between the "-graphy" aspects of science and the "-ology" may be apt.

    On concepts: It is true that a concept **can** be conceived of
    within a matrix of similarity and differences, but I think that is
    a view which really misses what a concept is and fails to capture
    the full breadth of meaning of the word. It has the effect of
    replacing the study of a concept with the study of "features"
    ultimately leading to an arbitrary decision on what counts as an
    "irreducible" "chunk" or "feature". I think there is a difference
    between problems of recognition or categorisation, on one hand,
    and conceptulisation on the other. Concepts actually always have
    fuzzy boundaries, and focus on boundary problems often misses the

Yes. Most definitely. Although these fuzzy boundaries exist (or are far greater in proliferation) when the subject/organism/host of the epistemology entailing the concepts is considered as an open system rather than a closed system. I agree about the semiotic aspects, although I fear if it is insisted that this aspect part of the definition of a concept (rather than part of it's generation), you will create more confusion and disagreement in your wake, especially in the positivist camp.

The only other pithy point I have to make about the commonalities & differences view of concepts right now is that you can cover a lot of ground with a few mirrors. The uniqueness and variety of our minds and behaviour is also a function of the uniqueness and variety in the world, sometimes this variety and fuzziness may simply be a reflection of it, not something intrinsic to our own epistemology.

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