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Re: [xmca] activity (was concepts)


Please explain to me how someone can "wield a concept"?  I am not even 
sure about the expression "grasp a concept".  When there is a word that is 
generalized to the extent of; hmmm....let's pick moon; it is not a 
decisive tool of distinction but rather, as LSV points out, "word meaning 
is the elementary cell that cannot be further analyzed. . . it is the 
unity between thought and word"   We cannot say that our earth has THE 
moon.  But in conversation we can state, "The moon is out and bright 
tonight."  I can provide a crowd with my moon but perhaps get arrested and 
a smiling cherub of a child could display their moon of a face.   IMHO 
moon's word meaning is the concept present in these thoughts and words. 
Not something weilded or grasped but perhaps active?

what do other's think?  bill blanton or bill borowy out there?


From:   Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com>
To:     lchcmike@gmail.com, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" 
Date:   04/20/2011 12:32 PM
Subject:        Re: [xmca] activity (was concepts)
Sent by:        xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu

On 20 April 2011 10:43, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:

> I appreciate all the thoughtful good will going into the attempts to 
> common grounding and explore one's own thinking in this/these
> thread/threads.
> I fear i violated Tony's reasonable 2 cents rule because I, too, have 
> too little time to write and the intermixing of pieces of threads and 
> added to the difficulties.
> I believe that Andy identified one problem when he pointed out that Huw,
> coming from a somewhat different (and relevant!) tradition(s) introduced
> concepts such as activity as he understood them from, say, Maturana or
> Bateson. So, for example, he pointed to Jim Wertsch's *Mind as Action* 
as a
> source for explication of the concept of activity using the pole 
> example.

Kind of.  I'm saying mediation and activity go together.  In, for example,
the scheme Wertsch provides (p204, VATSFOM):

Activity -- Motive
Action -- Goal
Operation -- Conditions.

A good place, it seems, to locate the use of concepts (i.e. those things
gained during dual stimulation experiments) is in the regulation of 

However, I'd say that the concept used influences the dynamics, as it can
change the situation.

Consider this simplified account.  A man is queuing at a supermarket.  He
only has 10 dollars (or some other currency), yet he needs the food to 
his family.  He's got a number of items, all of which he needs, though 
might tally up to more than 10 dollars.  Let's say they add up to 9.99. If
he can confidently do the math and has done so, his whole experience will 
different to the circumstances he'd be in if he found those kind of
conceptual operations difficult.  He wields these concepts in the act of
doing the math (the concepts mediate this act).  But these circumstances
will also mediate his activity as a whole as they influence his


> But, Jim uses this example to talk about mediated action in
> context, his preferred unit of analysis at the time (at the end of
> *Vygotsky
> and the Social Formation of mind-*- which you can find whole on the
> internet
> but not download- he DOES discuss notions of activity following LSV).
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