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Re: [xmca] concepts for LSV and us

Martin & Jay & Anna and others

Commognition as a term Anna has coined to capture a relation between
communication and cognition has an historical context that is a particular
example of what I think Anton Marty is referring to as *inner form* .  The
article Martin posted by W. Leopold  in 1929, exploring Anton Marty's notion
of inner form, [that challenged Wundt's principle of parallelism of mind and
language as a DIRECT outgrowth of mind] was helpful to try to grasp Marty's
notion of inner form and Martin's further elaboration.

For Leopold and Marty the SOURCE of language is NOT self-expression but
rather the DESIRE for communication.  Creation therefore is purposeful,
teleological and USES an inner form by CHOOSING EXPRESSIONS which are
generally associated with the meaning the speaker is attempting TO EVOKE
intersubjectively in order to communicate.  The speaker chooses a particular
form that will LEAD [mark] the hearer to the correct *understanding*.
However Leopold suggests if a universally associated form is not available
[in the discourse community],

"he selects another form, the habitual meaning of which is closely enough
related to the actually desired one, by either contiguity or analogy, to be
likely TO LEAD the hearer to the correct understanding with the help of the
context.  Such an AUXILIARY concept Marty called (with Steinhal) the
*etymon*, or, more frequently, the inner speech form." (p. 257)

This auxiliary meaning LEADS or EVOKES in the hearer "primarily a conception
which was NOT the desired meaning, but which helped to grasp it.  Leopold
suggests EVERY metaphor falls under this category of *inner form* as
auxiliary concept.  A speaker can boldly choose to create a new form as
auxiliary meaning to EVOKE a specific meaning better than the conventional
terms.  Anna's term *commognition* can be seen as an example of evoking a
specific meaning that relates communication and cognition.

Jay, you qualified your post with the comment,

I just want to say that IF LSV meant that conceptual thinking happens ONLY
through verbal signs, then I would disagree insofar as I believe it happens
through more complex multi-modal sign resources, including not only
language, but also visual signs, motor actions functioning as signs,
emotional feelings functioning as signs, and pretty much anything
functioning as a sign insofar as it can be "imagined", i.e. function in
inner-directed meaning-making. (For outer-directed meaning-making actual
physical objects / artifacts can also play a part in the total mix.)

I hope as this conversation moves forward that *images* as they relate to
commognition and concepts are elaborated.   I  agree with you that emotional
feelings function as signs.  In conclusion, when talking about the place of
*desires* in development the centrality of the desire to communicate
[intersubjectivity, not self-expression] as foundational to
cultural-historical/subjective development seems a good place to start


On Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 11:58 PM, Jay Lemke <jaylemke@umich.edu> wrote:

> Martin and all,
> I too have been puzzling over various things LSV says about what his
> translators call word-meaning. I think my view is pretty close to Martin's
> (below), but maybe not exactly the same, and my Russian is too moribund to
> help me. I may engage Mike in some conversation about a few key points when
> he gets back to San Diego and the lab.
> I am also very sympathetic to Anna's position on many points. So I don't
> see quite the polarization of views that some others do.
> I think it is a problem that the translators have not figured out nearly as
> well as we've been trying to do, just what LSV meant in some key passages,
> and as a result the translations may be more misleading than any translation
> inevitably is.
> Znachenie slov, for instance, sure doesn't strike me as "word-meaning".
> Shouldn't it be something more like "a word as a meaningful sign"? But
> beyond that, it's a unit in "inner speech", which I take to be
> "inner-directed speech" or "self-directed speech" and it is also sometimes
> called the "inward-facing meaning of the word". Functionally, in the larger
> picture LSV seems to be painting, SOMETHING is a unity or fusion of what
> makes for speech (outer-directed, other-directed, communicative
> word-meanings-in-use) and what makes for thought/thinking (inner-directed,
> self-directed, word-meanings-not-fully-realized-as-spoken-words).
> That SOMETHING I take to be what LSV means (at least some of the time) by
> "concept". If so, it is not much like what almost anybody else means by
> "concept" and certainly not like what mainstream psychology and a lot of
> philosophy has meant by it. It is, however, in my opinion, a far better
> notion for most purposes than the standard view/usage. And as  in this view
> a "concept" is a unity between two aspects, BOTH of which are realized and
> can exist ONLY in and through linguistic-word meaning, there is no room for
> a separate, idealist realm of mental realia, at least not at the level of
> conceptual thinking.
> I would also note that apparently Anna is also using concept in something
> pretty close to what I take LSV's meaning for it to be, though I'm not
> totally clear from what she's said so far that she, like LSV, emphasizes the
> dynamic struggle-and-juggle between the inward-facing and outward-facing
> aspects of the unity. But I would think she probably does, because her
> context of action and research is how kids learn math "concepts" in
> processes of communication. Indeed her coinage "commognition" (which
> unfortunately I think has little chance of catching on) tries to speak a
> fusion of communication (outer-directed word/sign-mediated meaning-making)
> and cognition (inner-directed word/sign-mediated meaning-making).
> If all this makes sense, it still leaves open the major question of just
> what's going on within/between these two aspects of meaning-making.
> Socially-historically, I'd agree with Martin's formulation, not really very
> different from Halliday's or many functional linguists who look at language
> change, that (official pronouncements in dictionaries, etc. aside) usage
> patterns from events and text accumulate over relatively long timescales to
> produce changes in the typical meanings in different contexts that people
> learning to use a word use it to make. It's already clear from how I said
> that that that process is just the long-timescale, community-level aspect of
> what's going on developmentally in learning a language (first language in
> particular), minus the details of what's happening in
> interaction-communication and its effects on individuals' usage. What is a
> lot less clear is just those details, which I think LSV was trying to
> describe, or at least pointing us toward what needs to be better studied and
> described: what is the relationship between inner-speech and outer-speech,
> over time, not just in initial child development (where LSV focuses on the
> key threshhold of fusion of inner/thinking and outer/speech) but for the
> rest of the lifespan as well?
> What needs to be described when we move beyond meanings made word-by-word
> to meanings made with complex, extended texts/arguments? Again, between the
> outward-facing aspect and the inward one? What happens when we add to what
> was known in LSV's time what has been learned since about the structure of
> informal conversational language, which in many ways looks a lot more like
> "inner speech" than it does like any analysis of communicative
> speech/writing known in LSV's time, particularly for adults?
> And what of what LSV calls at the end of T&S "the final Why?" about the
> meanings we actually make: their rootedness in desires, motivations, and
> emotions?
> JAY.
> PS. While there are a LOT more issues in our conversation, I just want to
> say that IF LSV meant that conceptual thinking happens ONLY through verbal
> signs, then I would disagree insofar as I believe it happens through more
> complex multi-modal sign resources, including not only language, but also
> visual signs, motor actions functioning as signs, emotional feelings
> functioning as signs, and pretty much anything functioning as a sign insofar
> as it can be "imagined", i.e. function in inner-directed meaning-making.
> (For outer-directed meaning-making actual physical objects / artifacts can
> also play a part in the total mix.)
> Jay Lemke
> Senior Research Scientist
> Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition
> University of California - San Diego
> 9500 Gilman Drive
> La Jolla, California 92093-0506
> Professor (Adjunct status 2009-11)
> School of Education
> University of Michigan
> Ann Arbor, MI 48109
> www.umich.edu/~jaylemke <http://www.umich.edu/%7Ejaylemke>
> Professor Emeritus
> City University of New York
> On Apr 26, 2011, at 4:11 PM, Martin Packer wrote:
> > My last few messages were knocked sideway by Andy, in his new-found role
> of intellectual running back. So I'd like to try again to explain the way
> I'm reading Thinking & Speech these days.
> >
> > It's not news that LSV highlights word-meaning, the meaning of the word.
> But what are we to take this to be? It seems to me that during the book LSV
> draws a series of distinctions between word-meaning and what we might think
> that it is, but it is not...
> >
> > First, and easily, word-meaning is not the sound of the word. Some people
> reduce words to their mere sounds, but LSV won't let us do that.
> >
> > Second, word-meaning is not to be confused with the objective reference,
> the object referred to. This too is a common mistake that LSV wants us to
> avoid. LSV turns to Frege to draw this distinction. But his word-meaning is
> not the same as Frege's 'sense,' because the latter is supposed to be
> objective and unchanging (though how Frege considered the sense of the 'The
> victor at Jena' to be timeless I really don't know! What status did it have
> before 1806? There's actually a literature on this very issue.)
> >
> > For LSV word-meaning is not timeless. It changes over time; he didn't
> study philology for nothing! But it is, however, objective. (This is what
> blows Andy's socks off. Take a deep breath, my friend.)
> >
> > Yes, word-meaning is objective. Or if you prefer, intersubjective. I
> tried to explain briefly in a previous message that German romanticism was a
> rejection of the way the early Enlightenment had disenchanted the world by
> placing all value, meaning, truth and beauty in the individual mind. No!,
> exclaimed the angry Germans (Prussians?)! There is truth and meaning and
> beauty and value in the world! How? Because the world is mind, spirit,
> Geist. The whole darn cosmos. Each individual mind is just a budding off of
> the cosmic mind.
> >
> > And Marx, while drawing the line at such a wacky view of the cosmos,
> accepted the proposal that there is objective value in the world. A
> commodity has value (two types of it, no less) by virtue of its constitution
> in social practices, quite independently of whether anyone knows this or
> not. The dollar bill in my pocket has value not because I believe this, but
> because it moves in a complex network of social-economic practices. (That's
> why derivatives crashed despite the fact that everyone *thought* they had
> value; because objectively they did not.)
> >
> > (I think one can actually push this line of argument down into biological
> functioning. A toxic mushroom is just *bad* for me to eat, objectively bad,
> whether I know it is poisonous or not, by virtue of its relationship to my
> biological functioning. I thinks that's where pragmatism heads. But that's
> an additional wrinkle that we needn't get in to today.)
> >
> > In the same way as a commodity has objective value, LSV wants to convince
> us that language has objective meaning that is independent of individual
> consciousness. Let me give two examples. The infant who cries out "pancakes"
> simply by virtue of hearing the sounds repeatedly is taken by others to have
> said something meaningful, though it was certainly not what she intended.
> Or, sometimes when I'm teaching in Spanish I make an error of pronunciation
> or grammar, and say something I didn't intend. My students hear and
> understand it, and laugh into their sleeves, but I have no idea what I said.
> >
> > So, the meaning of a word is *not* only what we put into it. Language is
> a shared, social, objective system. The kind of 'word-meaning' that LSV is
> keen to introduce to us is *in* the language. It is inner, internal, inside
> 'the word' (where 'the word' can signify an individual word or extended
> discourse or...).
> >
> > But let's get back to LSV clarifying word-meaning by differentiating it
> from what we might confuse it with. T&S continues with two chapters devoted
> to demolishing two appealing theories of development: early Piaget's
> proposal that development is socialization (enculturation?), and Stern's
> proposal that development is simply a matter of putting new content into the
> symbolic (conceptual) form that a child develops as soon as they start to
> use words to name things, about 24 months. That all seems rather unrelated
> to word-meaning, except that LSV is developing his own proposals about inner
> speech, which is all about how 'the word' gets "inside" an individual
> consciousness. And this will turn to be crucially important in the last
> chapter. (It's also interesting that LSV doesn't reject Stern's appeal to
> Brentano's "intentionality" as a characteristic of infant language. He
> reinterprets it as affective and volitional rather than intellectual. So our
> relationship to the world, which will with time become intellectual, is
> fundamentally emotional and grounded in practice. It turns out LSV was
> siding here with Wundt and against Husserl, but that too is another story.)
> >
> > And then (gulp) we get to the chapters in concept formation. I believe I
> can line up a selection of textual evidence to show that LSV is also drawing
> a distinction between word-meaning and concept, though evidently I haven't
> convinced too many people yet. (I may have convinced Andy that I am an
> idiot, but that's another matter.) For example, why is there a struggle to
> put our thoughts into words, if the concepts we think with are the same as
> the words we speak with? Why would thought be "completed," or even
> "incarnated," in words, if words and concepts are the same? Or, why does LSV
> propose that concepts are always part of a system of generalization in which
> each involves two components - an attitude to some portion of the world and
> a way of grasping that portion - all without mentioning word-meaning once?
> But there's no space to go into this in more detail here. More later, if
> anyone wants it.
> >
> > We have to make one additional distinction here, one that LSV is not too
> clear about. He wants word-meaning to be relatively stable, changing over
> historical periods of time, not from day to day. At the same time,
> word-meaning develops *for the child,* ontogenetically.
> >
> > And finally, in chapter 7, LSV builds on Paulhan to draw a distinction
> between word-meaning - relatively stable, again - and sense, which varies
> with context and even from moment to moment. In the movement inwards from
> word to thought there are two external planes in the word (sound and inner
> form), then the plane of inner speech (with its abbreviation and functional
> variation), then the plane of thought itself. On this plane, thinking has
> largely left words behind (but surely not concepts?), with the "volatization
> of speech," and it deals not with meaning but with sense. LSV emphasizes
> that sense can be disconnected from words, where word-meaning cannot.
> >
> > David K and I have been mulling over the final sentence of the book: "The
> meaningful word is a microcosm of human consciousness." Here, surprisingly
> and importantly, the term LSV uses for "meaningful word" is Осмысленное
> слово, whereas for the whole of the book word-meaning has been "значений
> слов." (Осмысленное only occurs five times in the entire book.) It really
> should be translated as "sensible word." Why? Because here LSV is writing
> *not* about the objective meaning of words, but about the personal,
> motivated, action-related sense a word has when someone speaks it. As
> thinking moves outward to speech, in the "materialization and
> objectification" of a thought, sense has to be "reconstituted" in words.
>  "The base units of thinking and those of speech do not coincide," so this
> requires a structural reorganization, a creative process that is not simply
> a matter of lining up ready-made units of meaning.
> >
> > And this explains, in fact, why word-meaning is indeed not fixed and
> unchanging, because each time someone speaks, the 'inner form' of the word
> is nudged a little in one direction or another, worked on and worked over,
> spiced with new connotations. Language is, of course, not completely
> independent of what people actually say and do. As our thoughts change, so
> our language will slowly change too.
> >
> > Touch down!  Cheerleaders go crazy!
> >
> > Martin
> >
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