From: Martin Packer <packer who-is-at>
Date: Sun Apr 27 2008 - 15:29:55 PDT

I was able to participate virtually in the conference in Moscow on
'Ilyenkov's readings' that was organized last week by Sasha. I'm posting
here a message I sent to him at the end of the conference when the net
connection failed at my end and I was unable to say what was on my mind.

In a moment I'll post Sasha's reply, so we can broaden the discussion to
participants here.

We plan to put a recording of the videoconference online soon, for those who
are interested.


We¹ve just lost the web connection here, probably due to heavy commercial
use in Colombia. I¹m sad that I¹m not able to make a few final remarks.

First let me thank you for the invitation to participate. I must apologize
for my late arrival; I calculated the time difference several times but
apparently was mistaken. But I greatly enjoyed the part of the conference I
was able to participate in.

I am fully in agreement with the project to pursue a scientific but
non-dualistic psychology. I would be very pleased to help with this project
as best I can. Mike emphasized the need for a common phenomenal base to aid
future communication. I would add that a shared background in relevant
theoretical literature would be very helpful too. For example, Sasha has
emphasized the importance of Ilyenkov¹s concept of the ³thinking body,² and
I think we could usefully have discussed this more. It has some connections
with the work of people like Merleau-Ponty and even Bourdieu and Foucault
which it might be useful to share.

I had one concern which I was unable to share during my participation. To my
reading, Ilyenkov¹s concept of ideality, based on the notion of the
thinking-body, is not the same as suggesting that artifacts have a cultural
meaning. To me, this risks reintroducing a dualism between matter and
meaning. It is a short step, to my view mistaken, to the belief that the
natural sciences study matter, while the social sciences study meaning. It
also leads one to think that each artifact has a single meaning. Sasha, when
you said that the child really understands ³the meaning² of the knife, I¹m
sure you would agree that a child cannot grasp the complexity of the
relations that a single artifact like a knife has with society as a whole.
Nor can a peasant understand the full complexity of the social world in
which they are living, even though they have great practical wisdom.

So we need to continue to work on our different interpretations of the ways
to avoid dualism. I will certainly read more Ilyenkov, and I will probably
continue to defend Vygotsky! Once again let me thank you for your invitation
to this very interesting event. This was my first ³visit² to Moscow and so I
am 46 years behind Mike and struggling to catch up. It¹s a struggle I am
enjoying greatly.


Martin Packer, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Psychology Department
Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA 15282
(412) 396-4852

Profesor Asociado Visitante
Departamento de Psicología
Universidad de los Andes
Bogotá, Colombia

> On Sun, Apr 20, 2008 at 1:27 AM, Alexander Surmava <> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> here is some urgent information.
>> Organizing committee of the IX annual "Il'enkov's readings" international
>> conference informs that
>> 24 and 25 of April the IX annual "Il'enkov's readings" conference will
>> take
>> place in Moscow.
>> 24 of April from 16:00 till 18:00 GMT the international internet video
>> seminar "Il'enkov and revolution in psychology" will be held as a part of
>> the conference. Key note participants of the seminar: recently organized
>> Russian "Dialectical psychology" group ( a part of ISCAR's "Dialectical
>> psychology" section) and professor Mike Cole.
>> There is technical possibility to communicate additional 6-8 participants
>> (channel width). To participate it in full format one needs some special
>> equipment, something compatible with: "hard" MCU ­ Tandberg 880, "soft"
>> MCU
>> ­ Polycom PVX. This equipment is rather conventional for universities. If
>> you like to take part in the seminar you have to perform self testing of
>> the
>> video conference according to the following algorithm.
>> Here is the instruction for self testing of the Video Conference I was
>> given
>> by my Moscow technical supporters.
>> 1. Switch on your client software
>> 2. Attach video server
>> 3. You will see the window with options "Guest" & "test-pvx"
>> 4. You have to choose "test-pvx"
>> 5. If you can see yourself or the picture from the other camera it
>> means that self testing was successful.
>> Hope that testing will be successful.
>> Nota bene, you are testing only video channel, so during testing you won't
>> have any sound.
>> If testing passes successfully you have to send as soon as possible to
>> E-mails (, something like this:
>> Here is our information:
>> - Polycom View Station VSX 7000
>> - Internet2 IP Number:
>> - ISDN Number: 571 3524280 (from 128 to 512 kbps)
>> - Public IP (Just as Backup):
>> Exactly this information was sent from Universidad de Los Andes. Bogotá
>> Colombia, so Number one in the list of participants is already filled.
>> The earlier you send your information the more chances you will have to
>> get
>> to the list of participants.
>> The second form of communication is much easier to organize, because it
>> needs only a PC with browser. The URL (web address) will be announced
>> later.
>> But the number of participants is even less ­ Only 6 participants. And the
>> list is also opened.
>> 1. Andy Blunden - Australia
>> 2. Laszlo Garai - Hungary
>> The Organizing committee apologizes for late announcement (we have to cope
>> a
>> number of organizational and technical problems) and asks you to send your
>> applications (with your IP address) as soon as possible.
>> The programme of seminar will include mutual introduction, two or three
>> short reports and open discussion. The most of reports of Russian
>> participants will be in Russian (with translation into English).
>> The video translation will be recorded and after short time it will be
>> available to download.
>> As an introductory course to the seminar we recommend to look through the
>> following texts:
>> 1. The article, concerning the role of Evald Il'enkov in the history
>> of
>> philosophy "EVALD IL'ENKOV AND WORLD PHILOSOPHY" by Lev Naumenko. It is
>> available in English here:
>> <<
>> ive.php?lng=eng>
>> ve.php?lng=eng>
>> 2. The first two chapters of Il'encov's Dialectical logic (
>> <> 1:
>> Subject Matter and Sources of Logic [Descartes and Leibnitz]
>> <> 2:
>> Thought as Attribute of Substance [Spinoza]) and his classical text about
>> ideality "The concept of the Ideal" (They are available here:
>> <>
>> &
>> <>
>> )
>> 3. Optionally "Life psyche consciousness" and "Presentation" (In
>> English.) by Alexander (Sasha) Surmava. They are available here:
>> <<
>> icles.php?lng=eng>
>> cles.php?lng=eng>
>> In the name of Organizational committee
>> Vladimir Lazutkin
>> Alexander Surmava
>> The characteristic peculiarity of psychology is first of all the unique
>> complexity of its subject matter. A human is equally the summit of natural
>> evolution and the subject of historical development so theoretic
>> understanding of human nature requires from a researcher a special
>> sophisticated theoretic and methodological knowledge. The second even more
>> serious difficultness lies in the exceptional social responsibility of
>> psychologist not merely theorizing about imaginary nature of human sole
>> but
>> putting forward and realizing some practical acts, affecting this very
>> sole.
>> At last, one more peculiarity of a human as a subject matter of
>> psychological investigation consists in special characteristic of a human
>> to
>> be the most elusive object so while he/she is alive he/she is in permanent
>> movement, in permanent making so any finite opinion about him risks become
>> false even early than it will be formulated.
>> It follows from this that the only possible way of comprehension of human
>> nature can be delivered by dialectic in its modern materialistic
>> redaction.
>> A dialectic is not an abstract methodology, it's not a kit of formal
>> rules,
>> technologies and workarounds. Even less it is a sectarian ideological
>> symbol or password. We, a group of investigators belong to theoretic
>> tradition of Vygotsky, Leont'ev and Il'enkov and follow the dialectic
>> tradition in philosophy and psychology, we insist, that without dialectic
>> the psychology is doomed to remain not a rational humanistic discipline,
>> but
>> a cross between inhuman scientistic technology and applied magic.
>> Dialectic is opposed both in the history of psychology and now with
>> dualism
>> as an abstract metaphysical principle.
>> The history of CHAT displays the drama of successive attempts to overcome
>> multilateral dualism as a nightmare of psychological theory. The key
>> figures
>> in those attempts in the past century were Vygotsky, Leont'ev and Il'enkov
>> who did their best to find a resolution of psycho-physical problem in all
>> its forms, as problem of interrelation of mind and body, of "external" and
>> "internal", of mind and affect, of culture and nature, of "free
>> subjectivity" and "enforced marionette", of personality and society.
>> We entirely share Vygotsky's idea that the logic of interaction (the
>> interaction of mind and body) is prescientific logic. Leont'ev stood on
>> the
>> same theoretic position. Nevertheless both founders of CHAT failed in
>> their
>> bold attempt to overcome old Cartesian dualism despite the fact that both
>> tried to be guided by Spinoza and Marx. Hence the special inconsistency
>> and
>> contradictoriness of some theoretic ideas of the same Vygotsky, e.g. his
>> idea concerning the thinking of so called "primitives" allegedly differs
>> from "genuine theoretic" or "scientific" thinking of modern literate
>> Europeans and Americans.
>> The perspective of the fundamental leap forward towards overcoming this
>> dualism and consequently to solving sharp social-psychological and
>> social-pedagogic problems of the present was offered by Il'enkov who put
>> forward basically new and in the same time authentic interpretation of
>> Spinoza. The idea of "thinking body" not only overcomes the dead end of
>> psychophysical problem, but opens a new breathtaking perspective for
>> theoretic and practical psychology.
>> We don't consider ourselves as a sect of followers of the next in turn
>> popular guru anxious about "authentic interpretation" of his sacred texts.
>> First of all we share with our teachers the preassurance in existence if
>> objective truth and the attitude to search it. We share with
>> predecessors
>> the common understanding of social objectives and the human and social
>> responsibility in achieving of these objectives. To realize in theoretic
>> researches and practically the enormous heuristic potential of dialectic
>> tradition, to target and concentrate our efforts on the most difficult
>> problem of democratization of the educational system, on the problem of
>> creating of basically new school, the school which doesn't kills an alive
>> thought, but contrary helps to develop it, a school which doesn't crowns
>> and
>> "culturally" mount the process of taking children to the opposite sides
>> of
>> social fences, but energetically resist and oppose to social segregation ­
>> that is a little bit of tasks which join us in "Dialectical psychology
>> group".
>> The most part of the participants of our group are active ISCAR members.
>> Others are going to join ISCAR recently. We consider our group as an
>> inalienable part of "Dialectical psychology" section established during
>> the
>> first ISCAR Congress in Seville and invite all colleagues who share
>> dialectic approach to cooperate with us.
>> Lev Naumenko ­ retiree, Ph.D., member of ISCAR from 2002
>> Elena Sokolova ­ Psychological Department of Moscow State University,
>> Ph.D.,
>> member of ISCAR from 2002
>> Viktor Arslanov ­ University of Russian Academy of Education, Ph.D.
>> Vladimir Kudriavtsev - Vygotsky Institute Russian State University for
>> Humanities, Ph.D., member of ISCAR from 2002
>> Sergey Mareev ­ Modern Univesity for the Humanities, Ph.D., member of
>> from 2002
>> Vladimir Lazutkin ­ assistant of State Duma deputy, Ph.D.
>> Alexander Simakin - Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, member of
>> ISCAR from 2002.
>> Gennady Lobastov - Vygotsky Institute Russian State University for
>> Humanities, Ph.D.
>> Alexander Surmava ­ Vygotsky Institute Russian State University for
>> Humanities, Ph.D., member of ISCAR from 2002 - coordinator of the group
>> (,
>> _______________________________________________
>> xmca mailing list
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Received on Sun Apr 27 15:31 PDT 2008

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