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Re: [xmca] Re: xmca Digest, Vol 45, Issue 53

Nicely put, Martin.

On Fri, Feb 20, 2009 at 8:57 AM, Martin Packer <packer@duq.edu> wrote:

> I want to echo some of David's remarks about "Thinking & Speech." In many
> ways it is a beautifully crafted book, despite being hastily assembled. One
> of the beauties is the way it begins and ends with the largest of
> ambitions:
> an understanding of consciousness as a whole. An enourmous task, which V
> has
> to trim to manageable proportions. Consciousness, he proposes, is always a
> system of dynamic relations among the various psychological functions.
> Perception, memory, attention, thinking, speech are continually working
> together as a unified whole. Their relations are dynamic, changing as the
> child develops. To understand this system we should not separate functions
> for study in isolation. We need to study their relations. Analysis of the
> relationship between thinking and speaking, then, contributes to the larger
> project of understanding consciousness, but this relationship has to be
> approached as dynamic, and always having the other functions in the
> background.
> The word is perfectly situated for the analysis of the dynamic relation of
> thinking and speech, for it is the unit of sound and meaning, of social and
> individual, of linguistic and cognitive (as generalization), of thought and
> communication, of intellect and affect, of subject and object.
> And so it is the "inner aspect" of the word that is studied - its internal
> organization as, again, a complex whole. "This is the word viewed from the
> inside." This is what V calls "word meaning" - inside the word where
> thinking and speaking are united. V admits that not all of these
> relationships within the word could be studied - including the relation of
> verbal thinking to the whole of consciousness. So although at the end of
> the
> book his focus broadens again from the word to consciousness as a whole,
> the
> work is unfinished. But it is clear to me that the project he defined in
> Crisis, that of a scientific, materialist study of consciousness, was still
> what he was pursuing at the end of his life. "Thinking & Speech" was his
> final word, sadly, but it was not the conclusion of the project. It was an
> examination of consciousness from only one perspective. It was able to
> articulate the ontogenetic transition from one form of consciousness -
> sensation - to a more advanced form - thinking. 'Thinking' in the narrow
> sense is merely a part of 'thinking' in this larger sense of a form, a
> mode,
> a manner, of conscousness that the word makes possible.
> Martin
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