From: David Kellogg <vaughndogblack who-is-at>
Date: Mon Apr 28 2008 - 05:25:09 PDT

I don't understand, Elinami. How is it possible to be a language user and NOT use concepts like "subject", "verb", "speaker", "grammar" etc.? Even if you say that concept use has to be conscious, isn't the self itself a concept?
  David Kellogg
  Seoul National University of Education

Elinami Swai <> wrote:
  I cannot resist Andy, who are these tribal people?

On 4/27/08, Andy Blunden wrote:
> Sasha,
> I just wanted to probe you little on this question of concept (Begriff) vs
> "abstract general" (or complex or "representation", etc).
> It seems to me that all of us, unless we have a psychiatric problem or brain
> damage or something serious, by the time we become adults operate with
> concepts. I notice that most theorists do not understand well what a concept
> is and even the average Nobel Prize Winner cannot distinguish clearly
> between an abstract general notion and a genuine concept. But nonetheless we
> all use genuine concepts. Difficulty in theoretically making this
> distinction explicit is a matter really of whether you have been exposed to
> Hegelian ideas or Marx, Vygotsky, or other philosophy which incorporates
> these insights. Tribal people for example, just as much as Logical
> Positivist philosophers, use concepts. Is that your understanding as well?
> Andy
> Martin Packer wrote:
> > ------ Forwarded Message
> > From: Alexander Surmava
> > Date: Sun, 27 Apr 2008 13:01:03 +0400
> > To: 'Martin Packer'

> > Cc: Mike Cole
> > Subject: RE: Life, psyche, consciousness.doc
> >
> > Dear Martin,
> > You write:
> > To my reading, Ilyenkov's 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 "the meaning" of the knife, I'm
> > 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.
> >
> >
> > I entirely share your idea that ³Ilyenkov's concept of ideality, based on
> > the notion of the thinking-body, is not the same as suggesting that
> > artifacts have a cultural meaning? The latter is something banal and
> > doesnıt need the first. No one of semiotics will disagree with the
> statement
> > that each artifact has some ³cultural meaning? while all of them have
> > hardly ever heard the very concept of ³thinking body?and evidently donıt
> > need in this notion.
> > As well we never declare something like the statement ³that the natural
> > sciences study matter, while the social sciences study meaning?
> > As for a child with a knife we do insist that to have a real
> understanding,
> > real idea of knife a child needs only to be taught by adult how to use it
> in
> > historically developed cultural manner. The knife is a tool which helps
> > humans to cut something and a child who practically grasps this mode of
> > operation and adequately utilizes the knife has a valid idea of knife. All
> > complexities ³of the relations that a single artifact like a knife has
> with
> > society as a whole?can add nothing to this plain fact. The role of
> society
> > consists in elaborating the artifact and in teaching new generations the
> way
> > to utilize it.
> > The knife is something basically simple. The absolute majority of mankind,
> > those who use knifes in their everyday life needs and have only practical
> > notion of knives. On the contrary something that pretends to be a
> > ³scientific notion?of knife is something ridiculous and scholastic.
> > In exactly the same way illiterate, but experienced peasant has real,
> > practical notion say of melon, while a schoolboy with all his ³scientific
> > definitions?is far from real comprehension of it. He can successfully eat
> > melon but he hardly can plant it. And here just as in previous case ³the
> > full complexity of the social world in which they are living?has nothing
> to
> > do with the idea of melon.
> > Surely there are objects which canıt be grasped practically by a single
> > person. Thus for example an idea of agriculture as a socially and
> > historically developed system of relations which combines individual
> forces
> > of people over the cooperative process of production and distribution
> canıt be realized in abstract practical manner. Such attempts can be
> resulted in a
> > way similar to famous fable about three blind and an elephant.
> > The same we can say about such an object as atom or nuclear particle. A
> > single person never deals practically with such objects. Only a
> theoretical
> > culture ?which is essentially a special type of cooperative practice ?lt;br>> can
> > grasp the notion of such objects.
> > Explaining all this I meet a great difficultness with the lack of proper
> > English terminology (or, probably, my poor knowledge of English). In
> German
> > and in Russian there is a clear distinction between two notions, and two
> > terms: Begriff = ponıatie, and Vorstellung = predstavlenije.
> > The highest form in development of thinking is obviously ponıatie
> (Begriff).
> > And in the same time it is the universal form of thinking. While
> > predstavlenije (Vorstellung) is subordinated notion. The obscheje
> (general)
> > predstavlenije is understood in dialectical culture as a meaning of word,
> > like something that enables us to distinguish among the known and fixed in
> > the matter of language culture objects. But one can have predsatavlenije
> > without having understanding of the essence of the object.
> > Thus the brilliant illustration of such divergence of two forms of
> thinking
> > (Predstavlenija and Ponıatia) are so called ³artificial notions?from
> > Vygotsky-Sakharovıs experiments, as well as many similar constructions
> from
> > psychological theory. The artificial notion is an empty notion, which is
> > something that cannot be understood not because their utmost complexity
> but
> > because their utmost vacancy. Logically as ³artifcial notion?we have an
> > evident example of general definition (obshchego predstavlenija), not
> > understanding (ne ponıatie). So it corresponds not with dialectic logic
> both
> > in its Hegel and Marxist form, but with formal logic, with logic of John
> > Locke.
> > And this distinction is not something academically formal but the core
> > distinction for dialectically thinking researcher. Thus Davydov based all
> > his theory of developmental instruction just on this distinction. (Iım
> going
> > to ask Peter Moxhay ?the translator of Davidovıs latest book - how he
> cope
> > the problem with insufficiency of English terminology in this case.)
> > As for the idea of ³thinking body?it is equal to basically new and in
> the
> > same time genuine Marxist and Spinozian idea of thinking as not banal
> > manipulation with words and other conventional signs, but as a special way
> > of acting of one (active or ³thinking?body) according to the shape of the
> > other body, taken in the moment of its live realization.
> > All this was fundamentally explored in Ilyenkovıs works and I agree with
> you
> > that the joint rereading of this works would be extremely useful for all
> of
> > us as a step to rethinking the traditional understanding of CHAT.
> > Sincerely,
> >
> > Sasha
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > xmca mailing list
> >
> >
> >
> >
> --
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Andy Blunden +61 3 9380 9435 Skype andy.blunden
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

Dr. Elinami Swai
Womens' and Gender Studies
University Hall 4220-A
The University of Toledo
Toledo, OH, 43606
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Received on Mon Apr 28 05:26 PDT 2008

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