Sunday, September 4, 2016

Changes and Relatives

This Labor Day weekend has brought a turning point in the weather.   A definite chill in the air in the morning and evening, though the afternoons are still warmer than comfortable.

A few other changes to make note of -- ARA is incessantly verbal.   Her vocal pattern of  conversational jargon interspersed with comprehensible terms is shifting so there is now often a mostly understandable sentence with a few placeholder syllables where she knows that a word belongs (a preposition, conjunction or article usually) but can't quite bring it to mind.   At least that is what I imagine is her strategy, though a baby's mind is mysterious.

My boys, ARA's uncles, mostly learned language differently.   They picked up nouns first and then verb-noun combinations.     They didn't create the mock-up sentences and discussions that ARA does.    They seemed to view language more functionally while she seems to delight in the process of making vocals happen.

It is clear that she has learned past tense verb forms because she makes the common but astonishingly intellectual mistake of putting -ed at the back of irregular verbs.   I have heard her say "getted" and "eated".   I wish I knew what mental process occurs around 24 months of age that allows this.

I remember John Holt talking about this but I can't find the quote.   While looking though, I remembered that the whole back issue archive of his newsletter Growing without Schooling is available online.

I was thinking the other day about unschooling.  I think I am happy I discovered the concept.  I really doubt if I would have started homeschooling without it.   It was the only method that really explicitly observed children rather than focusing on what to do with children.   However, its benefits have been mixed for my family.    It was like discovering fire.   I am sure one of the first fire-users in the human race, whose name has been lost, found out that fire also has its dangerous side.    Perhaps they wished at times they had never heard of it.

I think part of its mixed impact was similar to that of other methods I researched and tried to apply in my homeschool.   I think part of it is my filtering process.   The only way I can accomplish anything is by theorizing and researching, yet it is a big step from that part of my brain to the part which actually makes it happen in real life.   So I made an abundance of mistakes.  Sometimes I listened to advice I shouldn't have; and other times I probably didn't listen to advice I should have.

Another change observed is with my youngest son Ckrylak, who has suddenly decided to make several significant life changes.    He is sitting down with his schoolwork in the morning and spending a lot of time walking.   He's also trying to make healthy food choices.  These are things that he was advised to do last year by several people involved in his life.   At the time he did not seem attentive to their wisdom but either he internalized it or decided on his own that these habits made sense.

 I am getting slightly bored with making shawls, but am not sure what the next project will be yet.   I know that now that the weather is colder, the cottons are going to migrate to the back of my closet and the bulky yarns are going to move forward.

Still working on The Brothers Karamazov.    My husband Inryllm, to use his dragon name, has finished The Picture of Dorian Gray (he was not impressed) and is now embarked on Frankenstein.  He is reading concurrently with a Great Courses lecture series called Classics of British Literature, which he acquired for a giant discount.    These lectures are fun, not as strenuous as some of our other picks.

Today is our Aristotle discussion, and we are on Chapter 7 of Categories.  It's about relative terms.   Relatives are things that make sense in reference to something else.   "Greater", "older" "similar" etc.  It has to be "greater than" or "simlar to" or "knowledge of" or whatever.

Relative terms:
Are sometimes but not always contrary.  Eg virtue to vice, knowledge to ignorance.
Sometimes but not always receive "more" or "less".   Eg "like to unlike", "equal and unequal"

Are always reciprocal, even if they don't seem to be.  In other words, a term like "master" or "boss" always reciprocates to "servant" or "employee" but even ones like "wing" to "bird" reciprocate in a sort of indirect way.   So, "wing" reciprocates to "winged creature", and thus to bird (or bat) because it's a winged creature.   A fun one is that "head" reciprocates not to animal but to "headed creature" because he says some animals have no heads.   I suppose it's true, but I wonder what the set of headless animals was comprised of back in his day.

Many relatives are simultaneous, but some aren't.  For example, double and half are simultaneous because one couldn't exist without the other.   They can be mutually subverted -- if one did not exist nor would the other.   But other things, like "science" and the object of the science, are only unilaterally subversive.  If the thing known did not exist, neither would the knowing of the thing.    But it doesn't go the other way.  The thing in reality does not seem to depend on something knowing it (though that raises some interesting questions.....).  So some relatives are prior to their correlatives.

First substances can't be relative.   So he seems to say.  IE,  A certain man (Socrates) can't be relative to something else. Our rats don't correlate with anything else.   It sounds like you could say that a pet rat was in the possession of someone, or my head belongs to me, so these are not relative terms, but are possessive, which presumably isn't the same.

I guess that my head would be a relative term in the sense that I am a headed animal, but my particular head insofar as it is a substance does not correlate to anything else; does not reciprocate, so can't be relative.   But I'm not actually totally sure about this.    I am not sure if he completely is, either, because at the end he says there is some doubt, but nevertheless it's beneficial to make the inquiry.

He says "hence it is clear, that he who knows any one relative, definitely, will also know what it is referred to, definitely."

In all these categories Aristotle moves from the obvious things, like double and half, to the trickier ones, like the sense in which head or hand is or is not relative.    My son pointed out that he also often moves through different possibilities for a definition of the category, to a final explanation where he says what is peculiar to that category alone.   For example, with quantity it was "equal" and "unequal".   For this one I think it is reciprocality?

I know that when we discuss it, my relatives (all of them very much younger than me, younger being one of those straightforward relative terms) will think of many things that haven't occurred to me in relation to this topic.  

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