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Re: [xmca] Vygotsky's Plural Discourse!!

Haydi, yes, I continue to be in agreement with Engels and the theory of the labor origins of human society. I view labor as a special case of activity, 'special' by virtue of it being activity that is associated with producing necessities for human survival and development. I am not certain how to strictly distinguish labor from activity in general. In any case, all the discoveries by classical Marxism about labor still very much hold, in my opinion.

I am at a point where I am trying to catch my breath and catch up with the flurry of complex questions being discussed.

The questions that I believe you are emphasizing in your post, Haydi, are totally germaine. Is there or is there not a fundamental conflict between Leontiev's view of activity as the unit of life, and Vygotsky's view of word-meaning as the unit of consciousness? How can both be true? If one is true, doesn't that mean the other has to be false? And if Engels was right, while this may or may not make Leontiev right, doesn't it make Vygotsky wrong?

To ask this question another way, to pick up on Sasha's dialogue with me: isn't trying to combine the theories of Vygotsky and Leontiev a classic example of eclecticism?

Since we are discussing these two trends, I will also bring up one more, which Sasha speaks to: that of Ilyenkov and A. Meshcheryakov. All three of these trends - LSV, ANL, and I/M - claim to follow in M&E's footsteps. Sasha argues that these three approaches are mutually incompatible at the level of psychological theory, and have fundamentally different approaches to life, culture and history, and consciousness.

Sasha provided a chart comparing these three trends in his December post, comparing them according to whether "life" is taken into account, whether "culture and history" is taken into account, and what "unit of analysis" was being used. Jussi provided a chart comparing three time periods of Vygotsky through which he developed his theory of signs as semiotic mediators, comparing "explanatory concepts" and "methodology of inquiry" in each period.

Could continuing with a comparative approach like this help us? What questions could we ask the writings left behind by Vygotsky I, II and III, AN Leontiev, Ilyenkov, and Meshcheryakov - and for that matter, Marx and Engels - that could help us sort out how their theories would respond to specific questions about life, activity, culture and history, consciousness? How could we formulate these kinds of questions precisely and usefully? What questions could help drive out things like what units of analysis and what explanatory concepts did each writer (and time period of each writer, where applicable) employ for specific areas of inquiry? What other kinds of questions like these could we ask?

In other words, in the spirit of comparative methodology, what relevant **questions** could we ask each of them that would render **different responses**?

I certainly have my thinking cap on ...

Highest regards,
- Steve

On Feb 2, 2009, at 4:01 AM, Haydi Zulfei wrote:

There were very kind responses . Thank you all !

Just some hints (or more of necessity) to avoid misunderstanding :
[[Btw, am I reading from your remarks correctly, that I sounded to you annoyed with Jussi's paper?]]By no means ! You've always been top in manners ! I hope my mention of annoyance refers to some past misinterpreted personal feeling ! My apologies for this misplaced mentioning . One good thing I've learnt late : At whatever risk being on the list is much better than being off .. [[As for Vygotsky and activity theory ... to my knowledge, Vygotsky himself did not formulate an activity theory.]]As he did not name his theory * Cultural-Historical * himself either . [[For some, perhaps many, it has always been an uneasy alliance.]]Since years years ago , I've been accustomed to depicting the origin of language around what follows by Leontiev ; At the moment I don't have a fresh mind , but think sort of George-Thomspson-name , Christofer Caudwell , etc.etc. were scarcely available in translation in the form of pamphlets ; maybe that's why I cannot be so critical of some alliance , convergence , divergence , whatever . Quotes could really be optional in reading :Leontiev : Development of Mind : --thanks again to Andy and Michael--{{II. The Origin of Human Consciousness(page 183 to 197 full contiguous pages)1. The Conditions for the Emergence of Consciousness...2. The Forming of Thought and Speech... The last point on which we must specially dwell is that of the form in which man’s conscious reflection of the reality around him occurs. The conscious image, notion, concept have a sensory basis, but conscious reflection of reality is not just sensory experience of it. Even simple perception of an object is reflection of it not only as possessing form, colour, etc. but at the same time having a certain objective, stable significance, as, for example, food, a tool, etc. There must consequently be a special form of the conscious reflection of reality that differs qualitatively from the directly sensory form of psy-chic reflection peculiar to animals. What is this concrete form in which men’s consciousness of the objective world around them really occurs? It is language, which is, in the words of Marx and Engels, men’s ‘practical, real consciousness’.37 Consciousness is therefore inseparable from language. Language, like man’s consciousness also, arises solely in the labour process, and to-gether with it. Language, like consciousness, is a product of men’s activity, a product of the group; only therefore does it also exist for the individual person. Language is as old as consciousness, language is practical, real, consciousness that exists for other men as well, and only therefore does it also exist for me.38 The origin of language can be understood only in relation to the need developing for people in the process of labour to say something to one another. How then did speech and language take shape? People, as we have seen, necessarily enter into relations with one another in labour, into intercourse with one another. Originally their labour actions proper and their intercourse were a single process. Man’s work movements, in acting on nature, also acted on the other participants in production, which meant that his actions acquired a dual function in these circumstances, viz. a directly production function and a func-tion of affecting other people, a function of intercourse. Subsequently these two functions became separated. For that to happen it was sufficient for people’s experience to show them that even when a work movement did not lead to its practical result for some reason or other, it was still capable of affecting others involved in production, was able, for example, to draw them into joint fulfil-ment of a given action. Movements thus arose that preserved the form of the corresponding work movements but lacked practical con-
37 Marx and Engels. “German Ideology.” Op. cit., p 44.
38 Ibid.
tact with the object, and consequently also lacked the effort that con-verted them into real work movements. These movements, together with the vocal sounds that accompanied them, were separated from the tasks of acting on an object, and separated from labour activity, and preserved in themselves only the function of acting on people, the function of speech intercourse. In other words they were con- verted into gestures. A gesture is nothing else than a movement sepa- rated from its result, i.e. not applied to the object at which it is aimed. At the same time the main role in intercourse was transferred from gestures to vocal sounds; vocal, articulated speech arose. The content of some sort signified in speech was fixed, consoli- dated in language. But for a given phenomenon to be signified and reflected in language, it had to be singled out consciously, and that, as we have seen, happened originally in men’s practical activity, in pro-duction. Men began, in fact (Marx wrote), with their appropriating of some things of the external world as means suitable to satisfy their needs, etc. etc.; later they came to designate them verbally as well as what in practical experience they were for them, namely means to satisfy their needs, things that ‘satisfied’ them.39 The production of language, and of consciousness and thought, was originally directly interwoven in production activity, in men’s ma- terial intercourse. The direct connection of language and speech with men’s labour activity was the chief and basic condition through which they were evolved as bearers of the ‘objectified’, conscious reflection of reality. By signifying an object in the labour process, a word singled it out and generalised it for the individual consciousness precisely in its ob-jective, social relation, i.e. as a social object.}}

I don't have too many problems with this text ; I said I've been repeatedly exposed to similar ones .

[[This concept, so seemingly obvious to many today, was genius-level thinking in the 1920's in the USSR.]]

Really , actually so ! People learn from each other (albeit critically); So do scholars . Is Pavlov to be blamed for all pure American Behaviourism at the time ? Forget Introspectionism ? All or nothing issuance ? In the Ilyenko article , there's a mention . This does not mean activity/consciousness removed from investigation , non-refutation of the S====R .

Excuse me I can't preserve all your very long nice partially affec- laden writing .

[[To my knowledge, to the extent he dealt with the concept of "supremacy," he maintained an unwavering materialist and dialectical understanding of the relationship of matter and mind, being and consciousness, external (out of body) and internal (within body) aspects of mind and culture, in all his writings, including Thinking and Speech.]]

See ! dear Steve ! Leontiev says activity is a "unit of LIFE" for better or worse . I dare say he compresses all universe in man's activity emenating from Marx's Labour Activity . With matter and mind (above) , I'd like to know if you still believe in the WORK being the cause of the conversion (Engels) . With this in mind , what about Vygotsky with all features you recounted in his great great capacities ? I mean I'd like to believe in it ! I say my problem is Vygotsky , as you say , fathomed the * word meaning * to explicate what consciousness is . And if I'm not mistaken , he utters * word meaning is the microcosm of the world of CONSCIOUSNESS * , not of life , not of the universe , not of what and what . Even in the present quote , you can see traces of the same judgement with Leontiev . The big problem is the genesis of the very MACROCOSM , that is , consciousness . This is for the nth time : WHERE DOES THAT CACROCOSM COME FROM ? IS THAT INNATE (DESCARTES , CHOMSKY , ??) AND IF YOU GO OUTSIDE FOR IT , YOU SAY THE INDIVIDUAL ONE (CONSCIOUSNESS) IS THE COPY OF THE COLLECTIVE ONE ? IT'S YOU AND MARX SAY * BEHIND CONSCIOUSNESS IS BEING * . AND ENGELS SAID BEING (HUMAN) CAME FROM WORK !! ENGELS DID WRONG ? IF SO , WHAT ESLE ? I SAY WHEN YOU PAY , YOU GET THE OBJECT , NOT THE WORD FOR IT , BETTER , NOT THE MEANING OF THE WORD FOR IT . YOU JUST COMMUNICATE WITH THE LATTER !!
very very best wishes

On Feb 1, 2009, at 2:49 AM, Haydi Zulfei wrote:> > Steve, > To tell you the truth , I still don't know the weight , height , and place of AT within the whole CHAT . Is there , in principle , such a thing as AT within the works of Vygotksy ? Where is it ? Where are they ? Apparently , if the division is right whether with Jussi or with David , whoever , Vygotsky III said a irreversible good-bye to the AT . Then why CHAT ? Don't you think Faith overshadows Reason when supporting Sign-Belief ? You might ask me the same question vis a vis Leontiev : OK ! I'm not yet in the position to say for certain if Vygotsky went wrong at some point and if he did , where exactly was it ? I really need to read more . But with Leontiev , I don't see so many things wrong . Just I know Leontiev here occupies a very lower case UNFORTUNATELY as Marx does . One very good respectable learned active participant once wrote to me Leontiev was one of those whom he should stay away from . Now , I sent you the article/lecture by Ilyenko > on Alexandr Meshcheryakov , which now will be sent to others . This and these we owe to Dot Robbins . I'm not so indeterminate over providing sort of a discussion ; however , when I read the writing , for a moment I thought as if Ilyenko were alive and knew about the discussion , so he aimed at this article . Most and majority of the lines are direct responses to the Sign-Belief . The secondary , derivative position of sign and all semiosis vis a vis real object , artificial objects , actions with them etc.etc. is so clear in this writing which leaves no doubt as to the rejection of the supremacy of SIGN over ACTION (within bounds of AT) when compared one to the other . > When reading Jussi's paper , I marked as usual the points I liked to think about afterwards , but after reading Ilyenko's writing , which is also marked , I saw they could be seen as contrasts . And there is always the option of * delete * for non-enthusiasts . I , as one , always say * welcome * to whatever is sent to us from comrades , let alone getting annoyed .> Best > Haydi > --- On Fri, 1/30/09, Steve Gabosch <stevegabosch@me.com > wrote:> > From: Steve Gabosch <stevegabosch@me.com> > Subject: Re: [xmca] Vygotsky's Plural Discourse!! > To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"<xmca@weber.ucsd.edu> > Date: Friday, January 30, 2009, 2:47 PM> > Some comments on Jussi's very interesting paper. Semiotic mediation, > socio-behaviorism, epistemological breaks.> > ********************************> First, on semiotic mediation.> > Jussi's discussion of Vygotsky's theory of semiotic mediationbeing the > basis of consciousness, formulated late in Vygotsky's short career,and how > it transitioned from an instrumentalist concept, seems to be hispaper's > strongest aspect, where Jussi assembles the most persuasive quotes and > arguments. I believe this assemblage adds up to an unfortunately narrow > assessment of Vygotsky's overall approach to psychology andconsciousness, > but Jussi makes a strong case that needs to be taken very seriously. I applaud> his scholarship and work on this. He offers a worthy argument. It appears that > his work dovetails very nicely with many of David Kellogg's insightsinto > Vygotsky's last and most important work, Thinking and Speech,including > David's emphasis on semiotic mediation.> > I owe Sasha a serious response to his recent comprehensive post, which replied, > among other things, to my objection to what I perceived as an erroneous > reduction of Vygotsky to a theory of sign mediation. Again, as above, I claimed> that reducing Vygotsky - meaning, Vygotsky I, II or III, to use David's > terminology - to his 1932-34 theory of semiotic mediation, is a narrow > assessment of his approach to psychology. Have I managed to climb my way out on> a limb? We'll see ... :-))> > My question at this point, since Jussi has spoken so well, is to Sasha - what> is your evaluation of Jussi's take on Vygotsky's theory ofsemiotic or > sign mediation? Do you agree, for example, with Jussi's descriptionof > Vygotsky's views on sign mediation, for example, in the section"Sign > and Meaning" (pg 11) where Jussi says things like:> > "If the lower forms of activity are characterised by the immediacy of > psychological processes, the higher psychological functions are characterized> by sign-mediation."> > "It is clear for him [Vygotsky] that the sign mediation ‘is themost > important distinguishing characteristic of all higher mental functions.’(L. > S. Vygotsky, 1999b, 41)."> > "The use of signs results in a completely new and specific structureof > behaviour in man, a structure that breaks with the traditions of natural > behaviour and creates new forms of cultural-psychological activity. (L. S. > Vygotsky, 1999b, 47)."> > "There is no sign without meaning. ‘The formation of meaning is themain > function of sign. Meaning is > everywhere where there is a sign --- meaning is inherent in the sign..’ > (Vygotsky, 1997h, 134, 136)."> > Also, Sasha, if you would, please repeat, even if ever so briefly, whatyou > find incorrect about Vygotsky's views here, as Jussi has expressedthem. > > ************************************* > Second, on socio-behaviorism.> > Another theme in Jussi's paper is that Vygotsky went through threestages, > the first, behaviorism.> > David sees Jussi's three stages as overlapping quite a bit with his > Vygotsky I, II, and III, which he bases on Norris Minick's analysis. > Similar how? They strike me as quite different, except for perhaps seeing > 1932-1934 as a specific phase. I like Minick's analysis myself - itis a > good starting point for a very important study. Certainly, Vygotsky wasin > constant transition his whole career.> > But was there really more than one Vygotsky? Were there enough Vygotskysto > satisfy both David's and Jussi's sequences? Are there enoughLSV's > for each of us to have several Vygotsky's of our very own? :-)) Anyway, > Plenum CW Vol 1 is on Google Books (yay!) and here is the Minick article. > "The Development of Vygotsky's Thought: An Introduction" Isee no > discussion of a behaviorist phase by Minick, btw.> > http://books.google.com/books?id=u8UTfKFWb5UC&pg=PA17&lpg=PA17&dq=vygotsky+collective+works+minick&source=web&ots=VAYusF0J-0&sig=xOE1A6IM58poswGLWdrpqawx7hU&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=3&ct=result#PPA33,M1 > > > Jussi does well discussing the aspects of the transition from an instrumental > to semiotic viewpoint, from early to late CHP, but I find his discussionof > Vygotsky's so-called "socio-behaviorist" phase unconvincing. His > focus on pg 3-5 in his paper on a 1925 essay by Vygotsky, found in Plenum CW Vol > 3. Jussi offers a reading of that essay that is, in an important way, the > opposite of mine. I appreciate that Jussi's paper got me to take thisclose > look at Vygotsky's 1925 essay. I had looked at it before, but somewhat > quickly. This time, I read it with great interest. In some passages, Vygotsky > does sound like a behaviorist. And it is true that in this essay Vygotsky > restricts himself to the terms of the behaviorism-reflexologism of histime, > which was dominated by Pavlov (and according to Minick, Bekhterev) in the Soviet> psychology of the time. My reading, which is certainly somewhat speculative, > not having done the thorough study of Soviet psychology in the 1920'sthat > this kind of inquiry requires, is that Vygotsky was doing everything he could to > prove, using Pavlovian terminology and his persuasive writing abilities, that > the central subject of psychological research should be consciousness, not > reflexes, and that behaviorism was simply dead wrong about that and a lotof > things. My reading is that Vygotsky was attempting to **defeat** behaviorism in > that essay, using its own terms. Or more precisely, relegate it to the study > only of animal and human reflexes, which it indeed was making important > discoveries in.> > I think Jussi is right on a very important observation: Vygotsky is certainly, > from our point of view looking back, being somewhat contradictory at this point> in his career, in 1925. But rather than assess Vygotsky as "committed to> behaviorism," I would assess him has committed to **anti**-behaviorism and > **anti**-reflexology, but still not having found sufficient arguments and > evidence to fully dismiss and move beyond them, that is, replace them. So, as > part of his searing critique (and Vygotsky sure could cook, one of the things> we love about him), he is forced to use behaviorism's own discoveries and> terms to try to defeat them as serious contenders for hegemony in Soviet > psychological research. At the time, this was a David and Goliath endeavor..> > For that moment in time, the behaviorist approach was one of the most advanced> materialist psychology's available, but hopelessly and erroneously committed > to denying the importance or even existence of consciousness and will. It was a> materialist counterpoint, but a badly mistaken one, to subjectivist psychology..> Vygotsky, to my knowledge, was unwavering in this assessment of behaviorism - > its objectivist materialism was equally erroneous in its approach to human > psychology as was the subjectivist idealism of other schools. One understated > mind and ignored it, the other overstated and isolated it. That 1925 essay may > have been, in fact, LSV's goodbye letter to behaviorism, his funeraladdress > to it. He was going to go study consciousness, and so should all psychologists.> 'Nice knowing y'all. 'Bye!'> > In other words, my take on the 1925 essay Jussi cites is that Vygotsky was > using dialectical thinking to challenge and stretch this mechanical materialist > trend to its extremes, to force it over the boundaries it refused to cross, with > a very deliberate intent on breaking its back in the process. His 1924 speech> that started his Moscow career was in that spirit, as was his 1926-27 Crisis> monograph wherever it mentions behaviorism, and to my knowledge, everything he > ever said about behaviorism was also written with these intents. No one > confuses cultural psychology or cultural-historical research with behaviorism in > any way today. The record shows Vygotsky always opposed it. It does not appear> historically supportable to characterize Vygotsky as a behaviorist, a > socio-behaviorist, a reflexologist, or a reactologist, even for a month,let > alone from say 1917 through 1927. He was a die-hard opponent, and neveran > advocate of those schools. Yes?> > I should add that I don't think discarding this aspect of Jussi'spaper > takes away from the insights he offers in the above-discussed portions. If > anything, it removes a distraction.> > Something that is always hard to do from a distance, and especially fromthe > future, let alone a different country, is fully grasp the rhetorical issues and > contexts that drive a given piece of ideological writing. Vygotsky in 1925 was > still establishing his own turf, still even getting his doctorate, still > integrating himself as a psychologist. Things were changing very fast in the > USSR, and all over the world. These observations are only indicative, and of> course don't prove that my reading is "better" thanJussi's. > My point is that there can be much more going on than meets the eye whenone > studies the meanings of quotes. To understand the quotes Jussi offers, we need> to look at them historically for their full meaning.> > One interesting viewpoint on this 1925 essay and Vygotsky's view of > behaviorism, is that of AN Leontyev, who wrote and introduction to the Russian> version of this volume of the CW, "On Vygotsky's Creative > Development," where he discusses this essay and Vygotsky andbehaviorism on > pg 14 of the Plenum Vol 3 of the CW. There is no hint from Leontyev that > Vygotsky went through a behaviorist phase. (Btw, what is > "socio"- behaviorism?) I am interested in who else has offered > commentary on the relationship of Vygotsky and behaviorism. I know I for one > would benefit from others that have looked into this. And Jussi may have more> insights and views in addition to those he shared in his paper.> > ******************** > Finally, on Vygtosky's supposed epistemological breaks.> > Here, Jussi, in my opinion, is on very thin ice. I am afraid that neither > Althusser nor Foucault are much help to Jussi's thesis, since neitherwere > discussing Vygotsky. Just because it might rain in London does not mean it is. > The biggest problem with Jussi's thesis is that Vygotsky never claimedor > observed he underwent a change in outlook of the magnitude of an > "epistemological break." (Or am I wrong? Please correct me onthis if > I am!) The second biggest problem is that Vygotsky was very clear, fromat > least the early 20's, that he was ontologically and epistemologicallya > dialectical materialist. From this he never budged - in fact, he consistently > grew more confident and capable as a Marxist theoretician. He consistently > applied the methodology of dialectical and historical materialism to psychology. > As a matter of fact, he made some significant improvements to Marxist > methodology, making him one of the preeminent Marxist theoreticians of the 20th > Century. In my opinion, no epistemological assessment of Vygotsky makes sense > without fully assessing him as a Marxist philosopher and methodologist. > > This is part of the content of those sharp words, "narrow," > "one-sided," I have used in this regard. For me, to viewVygotsky as > first and foremost a semiotic mediationist, a theoretician of sign mediation, > would be like regarding Marx as first and foremost an economic analyst with an> interesting theory about labor. This would be a narrow, one-sided assessment of> Marx's work, as I think it is Vygotsky's.> > At the same time, Jussi's chart and discussion of "Thedevelopment of > Vygotsky’s theory of signs as semiotic mediators" needs to bescrutinized > closely and given serious consideration. He suggests not one but two > epistemological breaks, one between LSV's supposed socio-behaviorismphase > and instrumentalist (early CHP) phase, and another, which he puts aquestion > mark over, between early CHP, and late CHP, when LSV solidified his his semiotic > approach to consciousness. I like, by the way, the way Jussi looks for > "explanatory concepts" and "methodology of inquiry" tomake > his analytical comparison. Thumbs up to the thinking that went into that. It> does not demonstrate epistemological breaks, in my view, but it does suggest> ways to look at the development of many of Vygotsky's ideas, in addition to> his theory of signs as semiotic mediators.> > But restricting one's view of Vygotsky's overall trajectory, > ideological development, research work and discoveries to just his work on signs> - and judging "epistemological breaks" therefrom - to me losessight > of far too many other important contributions by Vygotsky - and this isvery > important - the contributions of Vygotsky **and his associates**. Vygotsky was > the leader of something much bigger than himself, something which was broken up > by the Stalinist machine - but by no means killed off. Just delayed..> > What is this something? As I hope I emphasized above, Jussi makes some > valuable contributions to better understanding some important **parts** of this > something. But, I think, one has to step back and look at much more than just> Vygotsky's innovative ideas about the role of semiosis (sign use) in human > consciousness and meaning-making to evaluate his work epistemologically, > methodologically, and above all, as the founder of this"something," > place-named for the time being cultural-historical psychology. Much more. Yes?> > Best,> - Steve> > > > > > > On Jan 29, 2009, at 10:42 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:> >> David, I am being quite frank when I said I know nothing of this topic. I> responded because I was asked to. But in any case, re Vygotsky vs. Behaviourism,> I think I was basing myself on the Introduction to "Mind in Society"> so perhaps Mike could clarify for me.>> >> Andy >> >> David Kellogg wrote: >>> In defense (!) of Louis Althusser. He is really talking about the > youth of a science being the SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS of newness, and as suchit's > a pretty good metaphor. It's in the context of Althusser's essayon > Freud and Lacan (in Lenin on Philosophy and other Essays). My dear Andy, > behaviorism was the official psychology of the USSR in 1923, when they barely > even had an official army? When the Commissar of War, Leon Trotsky, was a fan of> Freud's writings? And Vygotsky "trashed" behaviorism in apaper > that claimed that consciousness could be explained as the structure of behavior?> Doesn't seem likely, does it? >>> Unlike Andy, I agree completely with Jussi's point onsemiotics. > Why else would LSV say that word meaning is a microcosm of human consciousness? > When Vygotsky says that the mind is made of semiotic material, he is explaining > exactly how it is that it becomes possible to internalize social relations as > psychological ones and exactly why it is that human minds develop from the > outside in rather than from the inside out. >>> In Hegel's Phenomeonology of the Mind (section 157) hediscusses > the "inverted world", the moment where two modes of existenceare > mapped on to each other (e.g. being onto concept). We find this particular trope> throughout Vygotsky whenever we pass from (e.g.) the phylogenetic > semiohistorical timescale to the sociocultural one, or from the sociocultural > semiohistorical timescale to the ontogenetic one. (And also from the ontogenetic> to the microgenetic.) >>> In the inverted world, the first shall be last and the last shallbe > first. (Or, as Mike says, the only thing we really know for sure about the > mirror is that right is left is right is left.) For example, on the phylogenetic > timescale sex differentiation is late emerging but on the sociocultural > timescale it's very early. This, and not some purely functionaldifference, > is why tools are different from signs. Tools are late emerging in phylogenesis, > but they are very early emerging in sociocultural history, but the mastery of> tools is late again in ontogenesis, and on the other hand comparatively early in > the microgenetic mastery of a skill. Signs (in the form of signals) arevery > early emerging in phylogenesis, but very late (in the form of written symbols)> in sociocultural history, and again very early in ontogenesis. The SIGNIFICANCE > of signs (that is, there signifying as opposed to their indicative function) is> late emerging in microgenetic development. >>> It seems to me that THIS more than anything accounts for the CRITICAL > differences we find in development when we change time scales. Of course, on one> level, it's a little like comparing weather and climate (or climate and > global warming). We are always talking about time and the changes wrought > thereby. >>> But the changes wrought are qualitatively different and not simply > quantitatively so. When we change semiohistorical timescales (when ontogenesis > erupts into sociocultural history, as when children grow up and create social > progress, or when sociocultural progress changes the course of evolution,as > when clothes replace fur and houses replace caves), the very order of things is> changed. >>> At some point the first must BECOME last and the last must BECOME > first. That critical tipping point is not a matter of smooth development; > it's a moment of violent crisis. In ontogenesis, signs do not replacetools > in a gradualistic, benevolent, Biblical manner after the beatitudes; they must > lay violent hands upon them and overthrow them by force. The same is true of> microgenesis, at least from what I've seen. The transition from afirst > language to a foreign one is a profoundly uprooting experience and onlymuch > later liberating (In first language learning, we find that deliberate control of > phonemes is very late, but in second language learning it's at thevery > beginning; conversely, in first language learning, fluency occurs almost > immediately while in foreign language learning it comes late if at all.) >>> Contrary to what Foucault says (and what Stalin thought), discourse is > part of the SUPERSTRUCTURE of society. That is the very opposite of what > Stalinist linguists like Ya Marr (and also Stalin himself) claimed.It's > also AGAINST what Halliday and Ruqaiya Hasan say today (they believe that > language is the base and not the superstructure of society). >>> Of course, if we say that language is part of the ideological > superstructure and not part of the productive base of socioculturalprogress > (that is, cultural historical change), this does not mean that it is > insignificant. But it DOES mean that it is not causative, at least with respect> to cultural history. Language does not by itself bring about a transformation in > the relations of production. On the semiohistorical timescale of cultural > history, language cannot create or destroy state power; it is a result and not a > reason, a consequence and not a cause. Of course, as we know, results can become > reasons, and consequences can become causes. But when that happens, there is a> qualitative change in the very domain, the timescale, of history. >>> But late Vygotsky, Vygotsky III, knows that ontogenesis isspecial, > distinguishable, distinct from cultural history. It's distinctprecisely > because in ontogenesis (but not in cultural history) language IS a reason and > not just a result, word meaning IS a cause and not just a consequence. In fact,> verbal thinking and imagination (and of course play) are precisely the result of> the INABILITY of object oriented human activity to provide for the child's> wants, needs, and desires. Here, actually, there IS a parallel with cultural > history, for throughout sociocultural change, man has created literature and art > precisely as a result of the INABILITY of human labour to provide fromman's > wants, needs, and desires for a harmonious society without the exploitation of > man by man. But of course in sociocultural history, play is late emerging and in> ontogenesis it's quite early, because the first shall always be last and the> last shall be first. >>> I also agree with Zinchenko's point on two paradigms: theparadigm > of mediated action at the core of activity theory is NOT the paradigm of word > meaning at the core of a cultural historical psychology. I think that Mike and > other founders of CHAT founded it as a loose federation between two rather > incompatible Vygotskies, the Vygotsky of mediated action and the Vygotsky of wod > meaning, with the assumption that a common tradition and a set of common > practices would hold it together. That assumption has proved quite justified. > In China, we say that a good marriage is the same bed and differentdreams. > Otherwise, what do you talk about over breakfast? David Kellogg >>> Seoul National University of Education >>> _______________________________________________ >>> xmca mailing list>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu >>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca>> >> -------------------------------------------------------------------------- > > Andy Blunden http://home.mira.net/~andy/ +61 3 9380 9435 Skype > andy.blunden>> Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden: >> http://www.marxists.org/admin/books/index.htm >> >> _______________________________________________ >> xmca mailing list>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu >> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca > > _______________________________________________> xmca mailing list > xmca@weber.ucsd.edu> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/ xmca> > > > <ILYENKO ON MESHCHERYAKOV.pdf><Copy (2) of Vygotsky_still_alive_JS_final .doc>_______________________________________________ > xmca mailing list> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu > http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/ xmca _______________________________________________xmca mailing list xmca@weber.ucsd.eduhttp://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca

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