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Showing posts from December, 2015

phatic functions in the brain

The majority of deficits related to the parietal lobe belong to the category of phatic (amnestic aphasia, alexia, agrafia, and acalculia), gnostic and practical deficits.  Deficits in phatic functions develop with damage to the posterior portion of the parietal lobe in the dominant hemisphere and clinical pictures of gnostic functions are not strictly related to the dominant hemisphere. - From "Clinical Rehabilitation" by Pavel Kolar, et al., p. 95 Here the word "phatic" seems to mostly describe linguistic behavior (vocabulary, text understanding, ability to write); the acalculia case seems slightly different from the others.  All of these issues have to do with the parietal lobe, which includes a somatosensorycortex, and which has strong connections to the thalamus.

During maturation of the parietal lobe centers, one's body awareness (somatesthesia) is formed, as well as, its relation to the surroundings.
Even so it is clearly related to language as well, as…

when phatic communication isn't (... or is it?)

HEY, ANYTIME. No biggie. Don't worry about it. Psycholinguistic research reveals that we choose our gratitude acknowledgements pragmatically, proving that such language isn't phatic (devoid of content) after all. University of Western Ontario psychologist Albert Katz suggests men, in particular, may use "anytime" to convey doiminance by signaling they have sufficient means to do the favor again in the future.  -- Conrad McCallum, Psychology Today, March 1, 2008 (emphasis added)
I'm assuming that we would refute the idea that "phatic communication is devoid of content".  Then again, when I just tried to explain what I'm doing research on to the research librarian at the BL, I immediately put it in almost the same simplistic terms.

1. "How are you doing?"

2. "Oh really badly, actually."

3. "Gosh, what's wrong?"

4. "I just stubbed my toe!"

My claim was that Locutions 1-3 are all "phatic" insofar as…

stiegler on simondon and derrida - logos and dialogos, phatic and phasic

Logos is always a dia-logos within which those who enter the dialogue co-individuate themselves -- trans-form themselves, learn something -- by dia-loguing.  This co-individuation can result in discord, in which case each participant is individuated with the other, but against the other -- as occurs, for example, in a game of tennis or chess.  But co-individuation can also result in accord or agreement, in which case it enables the production of a concept that is shared by the interlocutors, who thus together produce a new locution through which they agree on a meaning -- which, in Platonic dialogue, must be produced in the form of a definition corresponding to the question ‘ti esti? ’ -- "What Makes Life Worth Living", p. 18 A bit later on, on page 19, he continues: "It was Jacques Derrida who opened up the question of pharmacology -- within which the hypomnesic appears as that which constitutes the condition of the anamnesic."

The longer quote above seems like it…

a topical issue: radicalization

The relatively lonely, isolated status of most mass shooters means any community they interact with and any media they consume will have an outsized impact on their psyche. -- This article reminds me of the Bruce Alexander thinking about addiction.  It's interesting because it draws parallels between the people who "self-radicalize" and then act alone, and the people who are coached or goaded into becoming violent either through local connections or via online social media.  Regarding the latter:
... And there's a reason almost every issue of Dabiq includes a fawning story about the actions of some suicide bomber: They want anyone contemplating an attack to know their actions will be remembered and celebrated. You're targeting people with a strong sense of humiliation and no sense of community, and promising them great power and social status -- the two things they've never ha…

on the 'evaluation grid' for our literature review, or, a sketch of the simondonian approach

Our current plan for the survey paper revolves around the idea of a "meta-analysis".  There are 35 pages of abstracts -- about 100 abstracts in total ("all papers related to phatics available through EBSCO" - email, 26 Oct 2015).

Part of the plan would be to locate them according to their place in the Malinowski, Jakobson, and La Barre legacies, perhaps developing a "phylogeny" rather than a "taxonomy".  This would show something about how the term evolved.  (Note, the EBSCO papers seem to mostly be recent ones, and we may need to enlarge the corpus to be more accurate as regards earlier dates, but there is certainly plenty there to give us a start.)

The issue on my mind comes from our own latest paper draft (edited 29 October 2015): "Once we acknowledge the immense role of phatic communion [and phatic communication, and other phatic behavior] we are faced with the difficult question of how to study it."  ​ Sorting papers out based on …