From: Ed Wall <ewall who-is-at>
Date: Mon Apr 28 2008 - 12:36:11 PDT


       Now I'm confused. You say 'use a hammer' and then 'not use the
concept of a 'hammer."' I suspect I don't know what a 'concept' of a
hammer is, but wouldn't it include a bit of use?


On Apr 28, 2008, at 12:18 PM, Martin Packer wrote:

> David, I'm confused. Are you saying it would be impossible for
> someone to
> use a hammer and not use the concept of "hammer"?
> Martin
> On 4/28/08 7:25 AM, "David Kellogg" <> wrote:
>> 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?
>> Elinami.
>> 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 “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? The latter is something banal
>>>> and
>>>> doesn’t need the first. No one of semiotics will disagree with the
>>> statement
>>>> that each artifact has some “cultural meaning? while all of them
>>>> have
>>>> hardly ever heard the very concept of “thinking body?and
>>>> evidently don’t
>>>> need in this notion.
>>>> As well we never declare something like the statement “that 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 “of 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
>>>> “scientific 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
>>>> “scientific
>>>> 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 “the
>>>> 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 can’t 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
>>> can’t 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 = pon’atie, and Vorstellung = predstavlenije.
>>>> The highest form in development of thinking is obviously pon’atie
>>> (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 Pon’atia) are so called “artificial notions?
>>>> from
>>>> Vygotsky-Sakharov’s 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 “artifcial notion?we
>>>> have an
>>>> evident example of general definition (obshchego
>>>> predstavlenija), not
>>>> understanding (ne pon’atie). 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. (I’m
>>> going
>>>> to ask Peter Moxhay ?the translator of Davidov’s latest book -
>>>> how he
>>> cope
>>>> the problem with insufficiency of English terminology in this
>>>> case.)
>>>> As for the idea of “thinking 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 “thinking?body) according to the
>>>> shape of the
>>>> other body, taken in the moment of its live realization.
>>>> All this was fundamentally explored in Ilyenkov’s 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
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list
Received on Mon Apr 28 12:41 PDT 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu May 01 2008 - 17:14:14 PDT