final paper for L697

okay, on jackie’s insistence, this one will go up as well.

allow me to say that the point of this paper was just a little end-of-semester jaunt into what all the reading about the philosophy of information had left us thinking about. a good deal of the readings got me thinking about the work i did as an undergraduate looking at women’s autobiography, and the development of personal identity. so before the paper was due i asked Dr. Jacob just how far off the deep end i could go, and she told me to “go for it” so i did. and this is the result:

Where the hell are we?
An Investigation into the Role Personal Agency Plays
in the Creation of Space and Place

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2 comments
  1. jackie said:

    i really like that distinction between space and place. also, i’d have to disagree with your example regarding getting a beer out of the fridge– you have a need (thirst, etc), and in that place you have control over whether or not it will be met, and the agency to do so, and the confidence that it will be met, which is something I think we value, on a micro or macro scale, in every aspect of our lives.

    i really like how you link the pre-existence of compulsory hetero and space, and the fact that only our will and agency moves us on either spectrum. What you say about the possibility of ever actually living on the lesbian end of the spectrum reminds me of what someone said (Gramsci, maybe? a guy I read lot in school) about how winning the fight is not what’s important, but the struggle, that the battle continue and not die. Even if we can’t ever be fully unique, it’s the striving that counts, that must take place.

    man, i need to go back to school. I enjoyed this too much!

  2. I was intrigued by the distinction you made between space and place. Since i can only really understand these arguments from my own tinted worldview, I will relate it back to what I know about the brain. Some recent data reports that different regions of the brain process spatial vs. contextual information. “Space” meaning the physical environment, and “context” meaning the sort of interoceptive, experience-dependent environment that the animal inhabits. Indeed, there has been a lot of disagreement over whether these two things can be differentiated in terms of how animals process information. The best example I can think of is about place cells. Place cells preferentially fire in response to actually being in certain parts of an environment. The neuroscience community traditionally believed that these cells encoded “places” and nothing more. Nevertheless, it has become clear that the firing of these so-called place cells can be modulated by memory, or by retrieval of experiences that are associated with these places. Thus, they don’t really encode place exclusively, but can be affected by events associated with specific places. I don’t know where I’m going with this, other than to say that we can find evidence for dissociable “spaces” or “contexts” or, we may find evidence (like the latter example) that they are actually very difficult to tease apart. Ultimately, does it come down to not possessing the language to adequately describe, and therefore differentiate these spaces vs. places? Is it all really a matter of seeing what we expect to see? Anyway, don’t know if this actually brings anything new to the table…but what the hell….

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