3V0329.02 Reflections on putting (12/17/78)
If Peggy has yet to distinguish the interior of objects from the surfaces (in the sense of not understanding hollowness, how can it make sense to say that she is putting one thing ONTO or INTO another ? What is required is an imputation of a goal to her — one impossible to infer with confidence because when we see Peggy put one object ON another, we can’t tell if she is trying to get it IN and failing. Despite the caveat, that is precisely what we must try to do in the hope of trying to appreciate what reality the baby is constructing. The only (way?) of describing this may be through specifying the specific problems the infant is trying to solve, e.g. why do cups go together in one place, boxes sometimes do and balls never do ?
I speculate that “putting into” is the more profound of the relations being explored because it connects directly with the problem of surfaces and substance. The latter is an essential problem to solve in the construction of the visual ordering, i.e. three dimensional descriptions of 2 dimensional signal reception. “Putting onto” may have, as Marvin claims, profound consequences for the logic of thought — but surely it can be no more profound that the construction of space with objects.