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Re: [xmca] Re: xmca Digest, Vol 45, Issue 47

Andy, only a quick reply because I have to abandon the web for now..

1. yes, of course. 
2. I don't find any internal images in Ilyenkov. But I'll look again...
Personally, I don't see that "every point in between" makes a lot of sense.
We'll have to keep up the struggle!  :)


On 2/18/09 9:00 PM, "Andy Blunden" <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Two things Martin. 1. words are as material as anything
> else, and 2. the formation of an (internal) image of
> something is not mutually exclusive with the formation of
> (external) objects with an ideal character.
> In trying to crack how Hegel made his breakthrough I came to
> the conclusion that he simply dropped the whole business of
> trying to draw a line between internal and external. The
> things of interest existing objectively, in the world, and
> they had some kind of mental existence, too, and they
> existed in a continuum of transformations at every point in
> between. Hegel just called artefacts "thought objects". With
> all due qualifications, I think this was a good move. You
> can have an idea only in and through the prior production of
> material things, such as words, accompanied by the
> modification of your own physiology through the use of the
> thing (such as a word) in the socially prescribed type of
> activity.
> Does that make sense? I confess to the universal propensity
> to get confused from time to time, but i haven't changed my
> position.  :)
> Andy
> Martin Packer wrote:
>> Andy,
>> In an earlier post you wrote:
>> " Also, the Ilyenkov article is interesting in that he winds
>> up with the idea of mind hingeing around the capacity to
>> form an image of the external world through the practical
>> use of artifacts."
>> Perhaps you've changed your position, but I think this is almost the
>> opposite of what Ilyenkov proposes. His suggestion is that in the course of
>> human practical activity, some material things are produced which are
>> "images" of the "form" of another material thing (or, he says, one
>> "embodies," or "expresses" the form of the other).
>> So being ideal has nothing to do with being the meaning of an individual's
>> actions or desires. The plane of ideality is the product of *collective*
>> activity, and it confronts the individual as something objective which they
>> must adapt to.
>> An important part of this adaptation is the formation of consciousness and
>> will. These are products, effects, of living in a system of collective
>> practices which includes an ideal plane, not the other way around.
>> Rather than, as you say, "activity is impossible without an ideal," Ilyenkov
>> argues that ideal objects are impossible without activity. Taken out of
>> activity they lose their ideality. Human activity gives form to the ideal -
>> not out of the individual mind or brain, but out of collective activity. Not
>> all artifacts are "symbolic objects." Most artifacts are just material
>> objects. But words are ideal. It is their movement in human practice that
>> gives them ideal form, not any kind of mental origin. A word, taken out of
>> “the organism of human intercourse” is no more than a mere acoustic
>> phenomenon. But within human interaction it is an image, a symbol.
>> So in this regard, at least, it seems to me that Vygotsky was on the right
>> track to say that word meaning (the "inner aspect" of the word) is a clue to
>> consciousness - well, first to *thinking* and then, since consciousness
>> always operates as a coordinated system, to consciousness as a whole.
>> Martin
>> On 2/18/09 6:29 PM, "Andy Blunden" <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>>> Let's take a coconut for example. In itself, there's nothing
>>> ideal about a coconut ... unless you are hungry and it
>>> becomes the object of your action, the meaning of your
>>> efforts to climb the coconut tree. But perhaps more
>>> obviously if coconuts are the unit of currency on your island?
>>> The point being: there is nothing inherent in the properties
>>> of the coconut which makes it ideal, only the activity in
>>> relation to it. I'm sure that's stating the obvious. But
>>> also conversely ...
>>> If I am a marooned sailor, starving and untrained in the art
>>> of living from Nature on a South Sea Island, then it is
>>> nothing to me but a lump of brown wood. There is no activity
>>> in which I can use the coconut. ... unless and until I am
>>> shown a human way of using the coconut, or piercing it and
>>> drinking from it and later using the shell as a spoon to
>>> drink water from the spring ... Activity is impossible
>>> without an ideal.
>>> Meshcheryakov is best on this. Eating is not activity.
>>> Eating is only activity when a spoon is used, and in the way
>>> a spoon was intended to be used too, when eating becomes
>>> social and cultured.
>>> Andy
>>> Martin Packer wrote:
>>>> Andy,
>>>> My reading (thus far) of Ilyenkov is that only certain kinds of artifact
>>>> can
>>>> be said to be ideal, as well as material. This would include dollars, hand
>>>> gestures, words - but not, I think, a wine bottle or an automobile. Or not
>>>> necessarily so: under certain circumstances these could function as
>>>> representations, of status, for example. I confess I'm not yet completely
>>>> clear on how Ilyenkov is drawing the distinction, but draw it I am sure he
>>>> does. And activity does not have this kind of ideal form. If it is the
>>>> child's contact with ideal artifacts, as he suggests, that produces
>>>> consciousness then contact with (participation in) activity would not be
>>>> enough. Dealing with words, on the other hand, since these are both
>>>> material
>>>> and ideal, would foster consciousness.
>>>> Martin
>>>> On 2/18/09 5:56 PM, "Andy Blunden" <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>>>>> In "Learning by Expanding", Engstrom quotes V P Zinchenko as
>>>>> claiming that "word meaning" is very close to being a
>>>>> special case of "tool mediated action". I think this is
>>>>> correct and one could add "joint" as it is invariably other
>>>>> people that one shares meaning with, not things, and meaning
>>>>> which is not shared is nothing.
>>>>> A word is no more nor less ideal than a key or a dollar or a
>>>>> wine bottle or a white shirt or an automobile or an open
>>>>> hand, but how can we counterpose words or any artefact to
>>>>> activity? Activity uses artefacts and is impossible without
>>>>> them; things are only artefacts insofar as they are
>>>>> incorporated in Activity.
>>>>> Andy
>>>>> Martin Packer wrote:
>>>>>> But Andy, if we're following Ilyenkov's lead, don't words have an ideal
>>>>>> character that activity lacks?
>>>>>> Martin
>>>>>> On 2/17/09 9:11 PM, "Andy Blunden" <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>>>>>>> (2) Apart from artefacts, is also activity. Doubtbless
>>>>>>> activity is implicit in meaning in some way, but it is
>>>>>>> unclear to me. I think it is a mistake to make the
>>>>>>> foundation of consciousness just words, rather than practice.
>>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>>> Mike Cole wrote:
>>>>>>>> Without the time (or skill to switch to cyrrilic!) I have been thinking
>>>>>>>> about Kolya's questions, ,David.
>>>>>>>> For those who forget in the stream of xcma chatting, Nikolai asks:
>>>>>>>> where Vygotsky posits word meaning as
>>>>>>>> unit of analysis of human consciousness?
>>>>>>>> In which text and on what page? From what Vygotsky's work it is taken?
>>>>>>>> Could
>>>>>>>> I ask you to make a quotation from Vygotsky?
>>>>>>>> Thank you in advance
>>>>>>>> Nikolai
>>>>>>>> I was thinking how nice it would be to know how to search the vygotsky
>>>>>>>> corpus online in Russian, which I do not know how to do.
>>>>>>>> And remembering fragments of why I thought David's comments resonated
>>>>>>>> strongly
>>>>>>>> with my own intuitions, formed in part, by LSV.
>>>>>>>> such as (no quotations or page numbers, just failing memory here):
>>>>>>>> meaning is the most stable form of sense-- every totally stable?
>>>>>>>> really?
>>>>>>>> word meaning changes in development
>>>>>>>> the closing of *Speech and Thought *that David points to, the drop of
>>>>>>>> water,
>>>>>>>> perhaps,
>>>>>>>> being in my eye.
>>>>>>>> The citation of the fragment from Doestoevsky where a bunch of guys are
>>>>>>>> standing
>>>>>>>> around saying, it seems, the word "product of defecation" (oh poo!) and
>>>>>>>> every one
>>>>>>>> is using the same word and every one is both saying the same thing and
>>>>>>>> saying something different.
>>>>>>>> Don't all of these and many other examples (Paula, are the Sakharov
>>>>>>>> -LSV
>>>>>>>> blocks of any help here?) point to the general conclusion that David
>>>>>>>> was
>>>>>>>> asserting?
>>>>>>>> Might our Russian friends join Nikolai and help us to understand the
>>>>>>>> core
>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>> the issue
>>>>>>>> David raised? Is he incorrect? Can you search the corpus and help us to
>>>>>>>> understand
>>>>>>>> if we are misleading each other?
>>>>>>>> mike
>>>>>>>> On Tue, Feb 17, 2009 at 5:26 PM, David Kellogg
>>>>>>>> <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com>wrote:
>>>>>>>>> Dear Professor Veresov:
>>>>>>>>> Let me begin by saying how much we enjoy your work here in Korea. Our
>>>>>>>>> group
>>>>>>>>> has been discussing your 2005 "Outlines" article "Marxist and
>>>>>>>>> non-Marxist
>>>>>>>>> aspects of the cultural historical psychology of L.S. Vygotsky" since
>>>>>>>>> we
>>>>>>>>> read it last year, and I found your 2006 article "Leading activity in
>>>>>>>>> developmental psychology" very useful in figuring out why I don't
>>>>>>>>> accept
>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>> whole construct of "leading activity".
>>>>>>>>> I think that BOTH works are really quite central to the periodization
>>>>>>>>> problem under discussion, but I also think that BOTH works refer
>>>>>>>>> mainly
>>>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>>>> centrally (and thus for me somewhat misleadingly) to a period of
>>>>>>>>> Vygotsky's
>>>>>>>>> oeuvre that is quite different from the one I have in mind.
>>>>>>>>> The 2005 article places a good deal of stress on early Vygotsky, a
>>>>>>>>> Vygotsky
>>>>>>>>> who is almost non-Vygotskyan, or at least non-psychological, Vygotsky
>>>>>>>>> in
>>>>>>>>> his
>>>>>>>>> early twenties, a student of the humanities with a very strong sense
>>>>>>>>> that
>>>>>>>>> nothing human is alien to them.
>>>>>>>>> The 2006 article in contrast seems to me to place a great deal of
>>>>>>>>> stress
>>>>>>>>> on
>>>>>>>>> the post-Vygotsky period, and I was very surprised and pleased to read
>>>>>>>>> that
>>>>>>>>> the work on "leading activity" is really not as far as I had thought
>>>>>>>>> from
>>>>>>>>> the fragments LSV left behind in his unfinished "Child Development".
>>>>>>>>> Elkonin, at any rate, seems to have been fully aware that the "leading
>>>>>>>>> activity" is in no way typical or characteristic of a particular
>>>>>>>>> period
>>>>>>>>> (though Leontiev and lately Karpov have said exactly the opposite).
>>>>>>>>> The
>>>>>>>>> problem remains that I do not see any place for the crisis in this
>>>>>>>>> work,
>>>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>>>> there is no question but that MY Vygotsky, LATE Vygotsky, the Vygotsky
>>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>>> Thinking and Speech gives the crisis an absolutely central (one might
>>>>>>>>> even
>>>>>>>>> say a critical) role.
>>>>>>>>> Of course, when I said that word meaning is a unit of analysis for
>>>>>>>>> human
>>>>>>>>> consciousness I am not simply repeating what others have said (e.g.
>>>>>>>>> Werstch
>>>>>>>>> 1985). On the contrary, I mean what for me is the most mature and
>>>>>>>>> therefore
>>>>>>>>> in some ways least characteristic moment of Vygotsky's own work; I
>>>>>>>>> might
>>>>>>>>> even call it the "leading activity" of his thinking.
>>>>>>>>> I meant, especially, the very last three paragraphs of Thinking and
>>>>>>>>> Speech.
>>>>>>>>> I have always found this to be a little like the last page of "Origin
>>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>>> Species", rather more than a conclusion, but a whole revolutionary
>>>>>>>>> program,
>>>>>>>>> complete with a clarion call in the very last six words:
>>>>>>>>> Осмысленное слово есть микрокосм человеческого сознания.
>>>>>>>>> David Kellogg
>>>>>>>>> Seoul National University of Education.
>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>>>>>>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
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