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Re: [xmca] concepts

On 19 April 2011 09:53, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> 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.


> Andy
> Huw Lloyd wrote:
>> On 19 April 2011 09:01, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:
>> ablunden@mira.net>> 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
>>    epistemology?
>> 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
>>    Andy
>>    Huw Lloyd wrote:
>>        On 19 April 2011 02:01, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
>>        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net> <mailto: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
>>           essence.
>>        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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> --
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> Joint Editor MCA:
> http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=g932564744
> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857
> MIA: http://www.marxists.org
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