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Showing posts from January, 2017

"to encompass and objectify intrinsically ambiguous and contradictory concepts"

In the article whose conceit I borrow, Edward Sapir argues that we use labels, which he characterizes as "empty thrones," in a necessary attempt for ontological and epistemological reasons-to encompass and objectify intrinsically ambiguous and contradictory concepts. Our ability to analyze, or even conduct sociocultural life, is facilitated by a willful finding of commonality among these concepts and by choosing particular labels that help us fix the meaning of concepts ... Sapir's metaphor of enthroning and dethroning through the contextual choice and deployment of contending labels implicates political contingency as well as a struggle over the significance, value, and consequence of particular labels. Insofar as an ethno-racial terrain is involved, labels become polysemic sites in which difference, rather than homogeneity, is made tangible, represented, and foregrounded, as well as challenged and re-construed. (p. 81)Quoted from Vilma Santiago-Irizarry, "Labels, …

"A Process Philosophy of Signs"

What is a sign? We usually think that it is a fixed relation: a red light signifies ‘Stop’. In his bold new book, James Williams now argues that signs are varying processes: seeing the red light triggers a creative response to the question, Should I stop?This looks pretty interesting! - I don't have much longer comments on it right now.  I found it b/c the author reviewed a book by Simon Duffy, who came to mind in the workshop I'm sitting in today."What is a sign?" is indeed long-standing, reaching to antiquity, but I doubt if the process philosophy approach is as novel as the author makes it out to seem. In the abstract of the book offered by the publisher (Edinburg University Press), this process approach is set "in contrast to earlier structuralist definitions" of the sign. But here the time-line seems odd, since structuralist definitions might have been popular some time ago (ea…

points of contact

I noticed this:
In 1878, Bergson became a French citizen, although he could have chosen English citizenship. He was accepted at the École Normale along with Jean Jaurès and Émile Durkheim. He discovered Herbert Spencer with enthusiasm, and studied under Félix Ravaisson and Jules Lachelier. - Bergson is kind of the great-grandpappy of Simondon-style thinking, it would be interesting to use Spencer as a common source (or at least reference point) with Malinowski, per the analysis at The plot thickens (with Herbert Spencer).

The SEP page above also makes this point:
Many philosophers today think that [Bergson's] concept of multiplicity, despite its difficulty, is revolutionary. It is revolutionary because it opens the way to a reconception of community.  Is it possible that Bergson's idea of multiplicity is a cousin of Malinowski's idea of phatic communion?  Something to follow up on at some point.

two schematics: social creativity and phatic communication

It occurred to me that these two images make an interesting pair.

The first one is from the 2015 paper about "Patterns of Peeragogy" and gives a map of ways around creating-the-social.

Briefly, the spirit of the map above is to say that we should look for the foundations of social creativity by a regression to the creation of the social. It gives some hints about what we expect to find constituting this Ur-Creative / Ur-Social level.

The second map is from our joint "Afterword" draft, with the core image itself extracted from an earlier slide deck "A Schematization of Phaticity".

In terms of theoretical levels, the second map is still one level deeper than the one above.   As used here, it suggests that each pre-social attitude, factor, or dimension is rooted in feelings or sentiments.  Thus, for example, we might describe the feelings of a newcomer (nervousness, self-doubt, curiosity, and so forth) as well as feelings towards a newcomer (compassion; …

fun and profit

«The most profitable trajectory for a successful science fiction novel in those days was for an sf book to start life as a magazine serial, move on to hardcover publication, and finally be reprinted as a mass market paperback. If you were writing a novel a year (or, say, three novels every two years, which was then almost what I was averaging), that was the only way to push your annual income up, at the time, from four to five figures—and the low five figures at that.» - Samuel Delany, in "Racism and Science Fiction", 1998. I think this might be the piece of advice on publication strategies that I mis-remembered as "write the book before you seek an advance."  The above plan is reasonably consistent with that strategy however!

Another more contemporary take -- coming from a quite different perspective:
If you want to understand how to get a 7-figure advance in just a few lines, try this: understand how to explain your uniqueness; develop a compelling pitch around …