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


I would say that Ilyenkov is clear that he is responding not to Hume or
Descrates, but to Kant. It was Kant who simply equated ideality with
individual consciousness. Ilyenkov writes that "Here “ideality” is clearly
understood as a synonym for the “pure” and the a priori nature of
consciousness as such, with no external connections."

The ability to summon Melbourn landmarks in ones imagination is an
impressive feat, but not one we should straighforwardly equate with being
able to navigate the city on foot. Like "inner" speech, it's almost
irresistable to ask *where* such visual and auditory images are located, and
then reply, in the mind! And then to assume that *all* cognitive activity
goes on in the same 'place.' Nonsense! Most of our cognition is in the
world, in practice, in the wild, an embodied intelligence.

But this is *my* objection to internal images. I'm more interested at the
moment in figuring out Ilyenkov's position.


On 2/19/09 12:44 AM, "Andy Blunden" <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Martin,
> I don't know if this will help or make things worse. ...
> I understand your antipathy to the whole idea of "internal
> images". If, as some French philosophers seemed to think,
> nothing happened between Desartes and Saussure, we would
> have to share your antipathy. But the German tradition was
> responding to Hume not Descartes and "internal images" in
> the sense of Locke or Descartes have been off the table
> since 1790-something.
> I think it's like "The Unconscious". We all know that the
> Unconscious exists, it's part of our everyday experience. My
> unconscious does half my work, at least. But from CHAT we
> know that the Unconscious is a product of development which
> only arises fairly late in ontogenetic development, probably
> just in time to know what the words "The Unconscious" mean.
> But if like Freud we make The Unconscious a basic premise of
> the structure of the Mind, then that is entirely something
> else, and may lead to mysticism.
> I think it is the same with "internal images". I could tell
> you with my eyes closed every landmark between here and the
> centre of Melbourne several miles away, without the aid of a
> map or anything. So having such an "internal image" is a
> matter of commonplace experience. But psychological
> experimentation shows that my capacity to reconstruct these
> images in any form is an immensely complex process, at which
> I can arrive only after some development.
> Does that help, or not maybe?
> Andy
> Andy Blunden 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.
>>>>>> _______________________________________________
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>>>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
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