[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

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

Thank you for the good response , Steve . It was very good you didn't react by silence . This proves first your manners which I very truthfully confirmed . Second , your knowledgability , scholarship , fairness , courage to be frank so on so forth . These are quite sincere words . And the only thing I can add to our dialogue is those questions and similar ones at all times WERE MEANT to be asked as SERIOUS QUESTIONS . Why you were adressed , mostly because my evaluation of your stance vis a vis myself was hopefully one of sincerity and closeness and this looks very very natural . As about Sasha , whom I respect , not to intend to defend him , just in passing , we should hear him so truthfully explaining why he prefers to act according to whatever he thinks of , saying NO when required , thought , felt and assertained not thinking in negation lip-servicing confirmation (this being said generally) . Apologies also for the message again being  jumbled .
 What should I do , then ? 
With warmest regards 

--- On Mon, 2/2/09, 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: Monday, February 2, 2009, 9:13 PM

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

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

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

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

I certainly have my thinking cap on ...

Highest regards,
- Steve

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

> Steve,
> 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
> 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
> 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
> very very best wishes
> Haydi
> 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.> >
> > > 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
> 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 >
> 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> > >
> xmca mailing list> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu >
_______________________________________________xmca mailing list
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list
> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca

xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list