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Re: [xmca] Cultural memory dewey
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- Subject: Re: [xmca] Cultural memory dewey
- From: Andy Blunden <email@example.com>
- Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 01:12:02 +1100
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At long last I am reading John Dewey seriously, and I am really
entralled and bowled over.
His conception of "experience" is wonderful. I need time to digest it
before attempting to describe it, but this concept is the heart of the
matter. It is truly a type of Activity Theory. Just now I am reading
"The Pattern of Enquiry." For Dewey, knowledge is a part of the
situation (not something outside the world, in the head. knowledge
changes the world). He is talking about how ideas (concepts) originate
from situations which become problems (and when known clearly become at
first suggestions and then solutions). Get this:
"Because suggestions and ideas are of that which is not present in
given existence, the meanings which they involve must be embodied in
some symbol. Without some kind of symbol no idea; a meaning that is
completely disembodied can not be entertained or used. Since an
existence (which /is/ an existence) is the support and vehicle of a
meaning and is a symbol instead of a merely physical existence only
in this respect, embodied meanings or ideas are capable of objective
survey and development. To "look at an idea" is not a mere literary
figure of speech."
In the context of his conception of Experience this really rounds it off.
And this guy is writing in the 1890s!
Tony Whitson wrote:
Song, as you describe, is indisputably material -- but it is not a
physical thing in the same sense as a flute or a song sheet. It seems
to me you make your position unnecessarily vulnerable by treating
materiality as more a matter of physicality than it needs to be (cf.
the baseball examples).
The Talmud example brings to mind Plato's objections to recording &
transmission via writing (a bit ironic, no?, from the transcriber of
Socrates' dialogues), which I would never have attended to but for
Derrida, in D's treatment of the traditional prioritization of speech
over writing. D's argument for "grammatology" is that speech itself is
fundamentally a kind of "writing" first; but in a sense that I would
say is material, but not necessarily physical.
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