Re: [xmca] Psychology and formalization

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike who-is-at>
Date: Tue Jul 22 2008 - 12:02:49 PDT

Seems like the issue is to have formalizations that are helpful in revealing
more about the cultural constitution of human development.

Estes as exemplary in the following respect: He did not try to find psych
phenomena that neatly fit some math formulas he knew about. Rather, he
sought forms of math to further
interrogate phenomena he was studying.

So, what formalization for what purpose? Ed Hutchins and Brian Hazelhurst
have exciting computer models of (very simple) culturally mediated learning.
See hutchins web page at


On Tue, Jul 22, 2008 at 11:35 AM, Jorge Fernando Larreamendy Joerns <> wrote:

> Hi, all,
> I've been reading these days some of Edward Tolman's work trying to trace
> some points of departure that preceded the cognitive revolution. It's a
> fascinating work. One of the most striking features of Tolman's prose is
> Tolman's attempt to phrase theories in a formal manner, either logical or
> mathematical, and attempt that is strengthened by the molecular kind of
> concepts and phenomenic distinctions he draws. Certainly, formalization is,
> as Baudrillard suggested, concurrent to attempts to mathematize reality, to
> model it, a cornerstone of modern science. And psychology is full of
> examples, some of them successful, some of them failed, from Hull's learning
> theory to Estes' notions of statistical learning, from John Anderson's
> production systems to recent theorization on causal learning as a Bayesian
> net or development as a dynamic system. What's the take of cultural
> psychology on formalizing phenomena? That is, beyond the use of mere
> pictorial representations or the use of statistics on aggregate data. It
> seems to me that it's even an interesting issue with regard to Vygotsky, who
> certainly had the intellectual means and the mathematical and logical
> resources to have taken that road.
> Cheers,
> Jorge Larreamendy
> Jorge Larreamendy-Joerns
> Profesor Asociado y Director
> Departamento de Psicología
> Universidad de los Andes
> xmca mailing list
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Received on Tue Jul 22 12:05 PDT 2008

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