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Re: [xmca] Measuring culture

Going back a bit, could you provide more detail on the following:

"it started up precisely because we did not listen to Merleau-Ponty's
remark to the effect that structuralism's main crime was not valuing
structure ENOUGH to link it firmly enough to value"

Would love to hear/read as much as you'd be willing to write.
(M-P has come on the LCHC radar lately... and I like language).


On Fri, Apr 20, 2012 at 2:53 PM, David Kellogg <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com>wrote:

> Larry and Rob:
> I wasn't really accusing Rob Lake of being a structuralist succubus--I
> think I would probably not accuse him of anything except an incurable
> affability, an attitude of ready openness towards people and ideas that I
> often wish I had more of.
> I was responding to the TED talk on N-grams, which seems to me an example
> of corpus linguistics redux: the behaviorist fallacy that with infinite
> instantiation we approach the idea of infinite potential.To me the idea
> that a very large number of instances is a "snapshot" of meaning potential
> denies future development; the future is not something that actually shows
> up in snapshots.
> Yes, I guess I see in Larry's Gadamer summary some overlap with what I had
> to say too, but it's really because the Gadamer stuff seems to me  to lap
> overmuch, like the Odyssey's shelving sea. I feel that I'm floundering, and
> I really need some examples of what it might mean to leap out of one's own
> historicity and above all some examples of why one might wish to do such a
> thing.
> Here are some examples that occurred to me just in the last twenty four
> hours. See if you agree that they are what Gadamer means. If so, I am more
> than interested.
>  I sometimes use children's counting rhymes to teach my teachers about
> metricity (they are bound to the written word and find it hard to 'feel'
> the stress-unstress patterns of English, and this is one of the things that
> makes it hard for them to grasp prepositions and articles as they bound by
> in the unstressed sound stream).
> My students and I came up with the following, which goes fetchingly with a
> painting by Delacroix and has a lot of the 'near rhymes" that Chinese poets
> love (Chinese poetry is rather more tonal than rhyming):
> "Will you race?" the lion said
> "I will bless the fastest beast"
> So the rabbit ran his best
> And the lion ate him last
> http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/eugene-delacroix/lion-devouring-a-rabbit-1856
> Now, try this:
> a) "Will you race? the lion said.
> b) "I will bless the fastest beast," the lion said.
> If you are a native speaker of English, like me, you probably have UP
> intonation when you say the reporting clause, viz. "the lion said" in a)
> but not in b). My wife, who is not a native speaker of English, does not
> intone EITHER reporting clause upwards.
> What we can say is that for me, and for most English speakers, the
> subjective viewpoint of the lion leaks into the reporting clause. Volosinov
> argues that this is quite a recent historical phenomenon--it's a product of
> the breakdown of the idea of the all-seeing narrator, and the birth of
> quasi-direct discourse (and also the extremely recent invention of the
> quotation mark).
> On the Seoul subway, the announcer uses (the Korean equivalents of)
>  "left" and "right" to indicate which door is opening when the subway
> reaches a stop. Since most of us are facing the side of the train rather
> than facing forward or back, this deictic is essentially ambiguous.
> However, it never causes any confusion whatsoever, because the hearers
> always adopt the point of view of the train driver, no matter how they are
> standing.
> I have observed the same response in allegedly "egocentric" children, who
> consider that left and right used by the teacher always assumes that the
> teacher is facing the children, even when this contradicts their own left
> and right and even when the teacher is facing the blackboard.
> Yesterday evening I sat down with a former supervisee who is studying
> gesture. Although I am no longer involved in research with children, I am
> still very interested in this topic, because I can see in the videos that
> he has brought that the children are using gestures for three quite
> specific purposes:
> a) They are using gesture to locate the stress--even when the word itself
> is absent because the child cannot recall it.
> b) They are using gesture to try to displace a misplaced stress. Because
> they are very used to reading, stresses come monotonously at the ends of
> sentences, and they use gesture to move the stress towards the new
> information in the sentence.
> c) They are using gestures to enact meaning--they are trying to replace
> meaningless 'beat' gestures with pointing gestures or metaphorics (e.g. the
> ubiquitous 'container' gesture we see all over the TED talk!)
> Mr. Kim, on the other hand, insists they are using gesture for one purpose
> only--to recall words that they cannot remember. When I ask him how this
> works, he gives me a quote from Ausubel and says that the sentence is
> stored in various places in the brain and the gesture helps to assemble it.
> I point out that there can be no empirical evidence whatsoever to back up
> such a claim (we cannot dissect the child's brain and recover pieces of
> sentence from it, and even if we could it would hardly explain how gesture
> might reassemble them). And there is actually quite a bit of evidence that
> contradicts it (e.g. the child says "Let's go picknee" instead of the
> correct "Let's go on a picnic" and one can hear another child whispering
> the wrong sentence to him just before he uses it).  But he will not look
> beyond his Ausubel.
> Frustrated, it occurs to me that Mr. Kim really has a EUROPEAN rather than
> an ASIAN idea of the social: families do grow out of the legal association
> of individuals, and nations from leagues of city states. So too do
> sentences grow out of the various functions of the human mind/brain. He
> will write a very good thesis, I am sure. But I am also very glad that I am
> no longer supervising it!
> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> --- On Fri, 4/20/12, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
> From: Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Measuring culture
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> Date: Friday, April 20, 2012, 6:08 AM
> David, Robert
> The following quote on narrative is also exploring similar terrain to
> Gadamer,
> Ubiquitous, stories have encouraged narratologists to expand their purview
> beyond the literary corpus and take the "narrative turn," embracing fields
> as diverse as psychology, sociology, ethnology, history, the law, corporate
> management, digital technology, and more. But whatever the universals
> common to all narratives, literary scholars, psychotherapists,
> sociologists, ethnologists, historians, jurists, advertising executives and
> AI experts view narrative in significantly different ways and as serving
> purposes that may be wholly at odds from one field to another. What, then,
> is the influence on narrative of genre – not necessarily in the sense of
> traditional literary scholarship, but possibly in that of "speech genres"
> (Bakhtin), those "relatively fixed forms" that bridge the gap between units
> of language or other signifying systems and discourse in its prolific
> manifestations? Then, too, is the question of narrative in non-verbal forms
> – the plastic arts and music – but also narrative in its pluri-medial
> forms.  Yet other questions arise. If, as Barthes stressed nearly half a
> century ago, narrative is a universal anthropological phenomenon, to what
> extent is it constitutive of culture? Can similar lines of inquiry be
> pursued with regard to *homo narrans*, the storytelling animal?
> In particular I want to amplify this section of the above quote
> *those "relatively fixed forms" that bridge the gap between units of
> language or other signifying systems and discourse in its prolific
> manifestations? Then, too, is the question of narrative in non-verbal forms
> – the plastic arts and music – but also narrative in its pluri-medial
> forms.*
> Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics invites us to enter  horizons of
> understanding which mediate  the *relatively fixed forms* [historically
> formed traditions] *in* which we dwell [and which constitute the
> prejudice-structures of ALL understanding].  Gadamer would caution us that
> in the *narrative turn* we don't become fixated on methodologies of
> understanding but rather focus on unveiling the interPLAY between the
> historically constituted prejudice-structures and the living hermeneutical
> situation of the present moment.
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