Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The network and the message

In looking at phenomenology, one of the very distinct perceptions of the tradition is that in transforming it from its origins with Husserl into a French context with Merleau-Ponty, the movement was transformed not only by by reflection into the French philosophical culture, but also  by translation into the French language.  I find myself again looking at it after a double translation, as I see it through the lens of commentators in English on both aspects of the movement.
What is interesting is that the process of translation seemed to strengthen and clarify the core values of the movement.  Thus an extension and amplification of a system of thought has appeared as an emergent property of its transmision through the network.
In education we take our understanding of the subject and translate it into terms which we expect our students to understand.  There must be a translation, because if there was no translation then there would be no learning involved.
At times this translation is merely a communication, but at other times the translation is much more involved, involving paraphrase, analogy and simplification.
The question here is what new and more powerful concepts are going to emerge from this translation, and how can we maximize the potential of their engendering?

All links are to the current version of The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Principal Editor: Edward N. Zalta  URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/,The Metaphysics Research Lab Center for the Study of Language and Information Stanford University, Stanford Ca.

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