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Re: [xmca] Culture & Rationality

On 29 June 2012 17:46, Martin Packer <packer@duq.edu> wrote:

> Huw,
> What I meant by this - unclearly said, for sure, but I'm trying to work
> all this out myself, I don't have a hidden agenda - was that we already
> have lots of studies that claim to show that people in non-western cultures
> employ kinds of rationality that differ from 'ours' - but always that they
> are 'weaker' rationalities.
> On the other hand we have more recent studies that (to generalize wildly)
> claim to demonstrate that 'in fact' these people from other cultures are
> using the 'same' logic that we do. To pick one example, I believe that this
> is what Ed Hutchins did in his study of a Trobriand legal dispute...
> Hutchins, E. (1980). Culture and inference: A Trobriand case study (Vol.
> 2). Harvard Univ Press.
> .. but I've not yet read the whole book.
> What we don't seem to have (much) are studies that show a different
> rationality that is not weaker. Perhaps the Bates & Bates article I cited a
> day or so is one of the few.
> Does this help? What's your take on this tricky topic?
Briefly, which means not doing your questions justice,

1. "Western rationality" describes a means of regulatory conduct, not the
way many in western culture go about their activities.

2. Rationality in this widest sense of 'means of responding to the world'
is synonymous with mediation.

3. With respect to rationality as means of mediation, I would start with
semiotic distinctions of mediation, such as Cassirer's symbolic forms.

4.  Yet I would draw questions around the creativity-forming capacity, that
perhaps goes beyond scientific thinking as a symbolic form, e.g.
contrasting Buber's "You" with "It".

5.  That an alternative means of describing the dominant theme of western
culture is consumerism such as in the consumption of qualifications
(Illich).   In fact Illich would be a useful reference for showing how
various poor cultures have a wisdom that is undermined (attacked) by
institutionalism (consumerism).

Does that help or prompt?


> Martin
> On Jun 29, 2012, at 10:53 AM, Huw Lloyd wrote:
> > How about "demonstrably weaker"?  Do you mean expressively more powerful,
> > such as Bakhtin's assertion that the novel is more expressive than
> earlier
> > forms of writing, or has better survival value, or something else?
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