Re: [xmca] Water Into Wine

From: bella kotik <bella.kotik who-is-at>
Date: Sat Sep 22 2007 - 02:46:42 PDT

Thank you, David for stimulating me to reread these pages of "Educational
Psychology" (in Russian, 1991). I really enjoyed LSV's discussion of the
ways of transmitting of velues and moral principles from the positive
perspective. Before he speaks about punishment/reward, he speaks about the
general context of moral education, about harmfulness of fear of negative
things because "Forbidden fruits are sweeter".
And there is really some problem in translation.
"...(E)very form of punishment is harmful, from the psychological point of
view, and there is no place whatsoever for punishment in Soviet ( there is
no such word in the original text instead there is "nastojashzaja", which
means "Ideal" or "real") schools. The very idea of a child committing some
misdeed always ponts to a defect in the educational process."

And below is another thranslation of the next citation

"The question arises as to what in our educational system can replace
the positive aspects of the system of rewards and punishments as measures.
If this system must be eliminated from our schools because of its harmful
influence, then it is nevertheless undoubted that some aspects of its
influence must be retained. In other words, in the matter of moral
education we must make use of the nature of childish attractions, as a
powerful motivational force for their conduct. These positive aspects must
be preserved in such form as will reflect any action of a child back to him
in the form of the impression made by his conduct on those around him.
Nothing so influences us in our actions as the satisfactions they bring."

This is bettter understood in the context of his discussion on the previous
pages that the social conditions ( like rules in a game) are main factor in
moral development rather then reward/punishment. Thus reflection means more
of an attitude of social environment.
And I did not find the word "Soviet" only "our" but I do not have an earlier
edition, has to be checked because I think itis really important to know
whether it is translation or later edditing. I tend to think that LSV used
"our" because it reflects better his universality. But it has to be checked.

Bella Kotik-Friedgut

On 9/22/07, David Kellogg <> wrote:
> About a year ago, Mike was reading Chapter One of Thinking and Speech with
> his class and they were discussing the example of the water molecule on p.
> 45 (Collected Works Vol. 1), which I said was from Mill. Sure enough, here's
> the original quote. But what a difference!
> "Men are not, when brought together, converted into another kind of
> substance, with different properties; as hydrogen and oxygen are different
> from water, or as hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and azote are different from
> nerves, muscles, and tendons. Human beings in society have no properties but
> those which are derived from, and may be resolved into, the laws of the
> nature of individual man. In social phenomena the Composition of Causes is
> the universal law." Chapter 7: 1
> You can find the WHOLE thing here:
> You can see that Mill means exactly the opposite of what Vygotsky is
> trying to say; Mill thinks that societies really are reducible to
> individuals. It's all a bit like when LSV mangled Ribot and ended up with
> something much truer. My (ex-)grad student Yongho likes to say that LSV was
> peculiarly constructed so that his lips could not touch water without
> turning it into wine.
> A propos, a vexing question. On p. 235 of Educational Psychology, LSV says
> And then a page later, he says:
> "Though rewards and punishments have to be banished from Soviet schools
> because of their harmful influence, it is nevertheless beyond question that
> some portion of their effect will have to be retained, for otherwise the
> nature of children's drives, which happen to be a powerful motivation of
> their deeds, will have to be made use of in the realm of education (?). This
> positive element (?) should be retained and manifest itself through the
> reversion or return of every one of a child's actions back to him in the
> form of the impressions of the effect it has on those around him."
> This makes no sense at all to me. Is it just a terrible translation? Can
> anyone turn it back into wine?
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
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Sincerely yours Bella Kotik-Friedgut
xmca mailing list
Received on Sat Sep 22 02:48 PDT 2007

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