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Re: [xmca] dewey

On 28 October 2011 07:48, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> And her4e's Dewey on scientific and everyday concepts:
>   "up to this point ... no distinction has been made between common
>   sense and scientific enquiry. ... [In] common sense problems ...    the
> symbols employed are those which have been determined in the
>   habitual culture of a group. They form a system, but the system is
>   practical rather than intellectual.

Dewey is a pleasure to read.  I've a stack of his works for when I find the
time again.

'Practical' is still not quite touching bottom though, is it?

I read practical as 'ostensive' and 'empirical'.  In other words the
knowledge based on the theoretical leads to types based on relations, rather
than knowledge of results of action.  E.g. the empirical knowledge of
walking on the earth and the moon are very different but the theoretical
knowledge of what it means to walk remains the same for both.  Theoretic
examines the context that is taken for granted in the empirical (and

I should have used a skips as an analagoy.  There's some clever skip
manoeuvres going on in my front garden.

> ...In scientific inquiry, then,
>   meanings are related to one another on the ground of their character
>   /as / meanings, freed from direct reference to the concerns of a
>   limited group.... meanings are determined on the ground of their
>   reltations as meanings to one another, /relations/ become the object
>   of inquiry and qualities are relegated to a secondary status" (235-6)
> Nice eh?

Hmmm.  He's a bit washy about qualities isn't he?  Is he referring to
practical qualities or scientific ones?


> Andy
> Michael Glassman wrote:
>> Hi Andy,
>>  This is a really illustrative quote from Dewey for sure.  I see the quote
>> actually having two emphases (which would fit into his whole transactional
>> worldview).  The first, which I think you latch on it, seems to be that is
>> order for any idea to have meaning it must be attached to some symbol that
>> in some way can be recognized by the observer.  You can't go inside of the
>> head of any individual, you can only see what is there in plain view.  This
>> I think was Dewey's attempt to overcome dualism by suggesting mind meets
>> object in the situation itself, and that is the only thing we can
>> comprehend, and it is dangerous to go further.
>>  The second issue brough up by this quote, which I really struggle with,
>> is if the meaning of the symbol is so tied to the situation doesn't that
>> mean that the meaning is going to change as the situation changes.  If there
>> any such thing then as an artifact which maintains meaning across
>> situaitons.  If not, then isn't the concept of mediation secondary to the
>> concept of experience.  A lot of people argued with Dewey on this (Santayana
>> comes to mind, and I wonder if Vygotsky might have as well) - but it is a
>> difficult conundrum.
>>  Michael
>> ______________________________**__
>> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu on behalf of Andy Blunden
>> Sent: Thu 10/27/2011 10:12 AM
>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Subject: Re: [xmca] Cultural memory dewey
>> 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) originateHi
>> 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!
>> Andy
>> Tony Whitson wrote:
>>> Andy,
>>> 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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> --
> ------------------------------**------------------------------**
> ------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> Joint Editor MCA: http://www.tandfonline.com/**toc/hmca20/18/1<http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hmca20/18/1>
> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.**aspx?partid=227&pid=34857<http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857>
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