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Re: [xmca] concepts
- To: email@example.com, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: Re: [xmca] concepts
- From: Huw Lloyd <email@example.com>
- Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2011 10:13:50 +0100
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On 19 April 2011 09:53, Andy Blunden <email@example.com> wrote:
> Huw, I think by dissolving all distinctions you also dissolve all meaning,
> and the result is meaningless. What on earth do *you* mean by "epistemology"
> if "any organism" has an epistemology? What on earth does "physical" mean to
> *you* if it does not mean anything distinct from "mental".
They're synonymous, or rather different aspects of a process that we
conventionally label as the slow part and the quick part.
> Makes great bar-room chatter, but no science.
Does the bar have a thermostat? Preferably an old clunky, non-electric one
so that we can observe its material workings.
> Huw Lloyd wrote:
>> On 19 April 2011 09:01, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:
>> email@example.com>> wrote:
>> 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?
>> Adopting the words of Beer, I'd dissolve the distinction. :)
>> I've been thinking about it, though I don't think that cybernetics entails
>> the 'fundamental' concept of activity and yet meets all the conceptual needs
>> I've had for it to date.
>> You mention: "subject/organism/host of the epistemology". Are you
>> suggesting that something other than a human being can have an
>> You can point to any organism and say it knows something. To know that
>> you know is just another kind of knowing or affirmation. In the sense of
>> models and Godel.
>> Huw Lloyd wrote:
>> On 19 April 2011 02:01, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org
>> <mailto:email@example.com> <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
>> <mailto:email@example.com>>> 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
>> which is ultimately unsustainable. On the other hand, it is
>> 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
>> 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
>> between problems of recognition or categorisation, on one hand,
>> and conceptulisation on the other. Concepts actually always
>> 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.
>> xmca mailing list
>> firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
> *Andy Blunden*
> Joint Editor MCA:
> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857
> MIA: http://www.marxists.org
> xmca mailing list
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