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Re: [xmca] dewey and perezhivanie
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- Subject: Re: [xmca] dewey and perezhivanie
- From: mike cole <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Fri, 4 Nov 2011 18:47:58 -0800
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Thanks for attaching the essay, Andy. A LOT to read just to keep up with
the comments, never mind the original texts!!
On Fri, Nov 4, 2011 at 5:37 PM, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Continuing the sharing of my experience in reading Dewey.
> In 1934, Dewey published "Having an Experience." What he describes in this
> essay is, in my opinion, as near to a description of perezhivanie as you
> are going to get in the English language. For Dewey, "experience" is close
> to "activity" except that in English "activity" carries a connotation of
> objectivity and "experience" carries a connotation of subjectivity, but
> Dewey insists his concept of experience is quite different to the concept
> of experience found in British philosophy: it is "both doing and suffering"
> and "both subjective and objective" and the emotional, practical and
> intellectual are aspects which can be abstracted from experience by
> reflection and discourse, but experience itself is all these things not a
> combination of them.
> Now, "an experience" as opposed to "experience" is an episode which has a
> unity, and comes to a consummation. He discusses it in the context of
> aesthetics (artistic production and aesthetic consumption are inseparable
> in an experience), because "an experience" can only be represented by an
> I'd be interested in hearing what others think of this essay. It is a
> great read in my experience.
> Andy Blunden 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. ...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?
>> 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.
>>> From: email@example.com 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!
>>> 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.
>>> xmca mailing list
> *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>
> xmca mailing list
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