Re: [xmca] Vygotsky's "objective" psychology

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at>
Date: Fri May 18 2007 - 18:49:14 PDT

In Chapter 1 of "Crisis in Psychology" Vygotsky talks a lot about
"subjective psychology", which might shed more light on exactly what he
meant by "objective psychology".
I think he is talking about the methodology for collecting and analysing
data. "Subjective Psychology" regards data accessible by introspection as
the only truly valid data for psychology. As opposed to psychoanalysis,
behaviourism, reflexology and his own methods of experimentation, which in
different ways demand that material data determined by observation by
another person must form the basis for scientific study.
At 03:40 PM 18/05/2007 -0500, you wrote:
>This summer I'm trying to catch up on some long-overdue reading. I've begun
>with Vol. 3 of the Plenum series, the Collected Works of L. S. Vygotsky:
>Problems with the History and Theory of Psychology.
>First, Rene van der Veer's Foreword and introductory chapter are well worth
>reading, particularly in informing our periodic discussions of problems with
>translation from one language to another; and especially of translating
>Vygotsky, who "never rewrote a text for the sake of improving its style and
>readability" (van der Veer, p. v).
>Vol. 3 of the English-language version is actually Vol. 1 of the Russian
>collection, and it includes Leont'ev's introduction to the Russian series
>(Leont'ev's intro is titled "On Vygotsky's Creative Development"). I'm
>puzzled by some of the phrasing, and wonder if I'm coming up against a
>translation issue (which happened when I first read of Vygotsky's "genetic"
>method, which is developmental and not biological, as I'd originally
>assumed). Leont'ev says that Vygotsky sought "to build a new, objective
>psychology." I'm having trouble with the term "objective" here. My sense of
>Vygotsky's project was that it involved what we now think of as
>constructivism, which is typically positioned against objectivism. At the
>same time, I know that some use the term "object" to refer to the
>goal-oriented nature of activity. Can anyone help me with my trouble in
>understanding the use of the term "objective" in this context?
>One final thing: I'm aware that there's some disagreement over the extent to
>which Vygotsky's work is Marxist. Leont'ev unambiguously describes
>Vygotsky's work as inherently Marxist (e.g., "[Vygotsky's] new psychology
>which dealt with the most complex phenomena of the mental life of man,
>including consciousness, could only evolve on the basis of Marxism"
>(Leont'ev, p. 15). I'm not sure why others would think differently--perhaps
>someone who finds Vygotsky insuffiently Marxist could clarify.
>In any case, I hope that your own summer work is off to a good start.
>Peter Smagorinsky
>The University of Georgia
>Department of Language and Literacy Education
>125 Aderhold Hall
>Athens, GA 30602-7123
> /fax:706-542-4509/phone:706-542-4507/
>xmca mailing list

Andy Blunden. The Subject -

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Received on Fri May 18 19:51 PDT 2007

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