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

From: Wolff-Michael Roth <mroth who-is-at>
Date: Fri May 18 2007 - 22:06:46 PDT

It may be that Klaus Holzkamp was the one psychologist who pushed
this idea about subjective psychology, as he developed what he called
Subjektwissenschaft ("science of the subject). Klaus had learned his
lessons from Leont'ev, but is, perhaps because he mostly wrote in
German, not very well known in the English speaking world. Jean Lave
knew Klaus, and it may be that Yrjö did so too. I know the two (Yrjö,
Klaus) disagreed on what they thought to be expansive learning, but a
lot of Jean's writing was inspired by what she had learned from
Klaus, and he in tern, references Jean's work. She wrote something
like an obituary article "On learning", which was published in the
journal Klaus had founded, Forum Kritische Psychologie, There are
some English texts available where he elaborated on his ideas on the
science of the subject, I forgot, but it may be in the book that ---
here are the references:

Holzkamp, K. (1991). Societal and individual life processes. In C. W.
Tolman & W. Maiers (Eds.), Critical psychology: Contributions to an
historical science of the subject (pp. 50–64). Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
Holzkamp, K. (1991). Societal and individual life processes. In C. W.
Tolman & W. Maiers (eds), Critical psychology: Contributions to an
historical science of the subject (pp. 50–64). Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.

Charles Tolman explicates a lot of KH's work in his :

Tolman, C. W. (1994). Psychology, society, and subjectivity: An
introduction to German critical psychology. New York: Routledge.



On 18-May-07, at 6:49 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:

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
> 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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