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RE: [xmca] Re: microcosm/unit of analysis and xmca discourse


Thank you very much...

Your explanation is very important despite the tortoise is faster than I.
However, only one more question... In order to exist a sculpture 
of a Minotaur must necessarily exist a Minotaur too? My question 
about ontological pertinence of the unit of analysis to the actual
processual  relations between consciousness and his
exporatory principle was in this sense... Vygotsky said that
consciousness demands an exploratory principle... "an extract
of reality" from with consciousness is function... I wonder 
this "extract" of reality is a real process too... And unity do
not must be pertinent to both (consciousness and its expla-
natory principle)?... Word meaning seems to pertain to both
social relations and consciousness, but I don´t know were specifically
Vygotsky define the "exploratory principle" to conscioussness. 
There a long discution in "The Crisis of Pscychology" about, "motrices
forces" and "explanatory principle" at several pscychologycal 
approachs, but I don't remember what he assumes to his own perspective.
Wertsch talks about changing ranges of motrice forces at distinct 
genetic planes and/or estages... I suppose if reality changes, its unit must
be changing too, if consciousness is a process, its unit must
be a process too... But to focus a unit is also a trial tho grasp 
in our consciousness a whole that we can not absolutely grasp
at all... Sometimes the relations between the methodological
and the ontological meanings of the unit(s) of analysis are not
much intelligible to me...  Zinchenko said that Vygotsky's requirements
to a unit of analysis was not strictly followed by Vygotsky himself, 
when "word meaning" comes to foreground, because it is not
"genetically primary"... I don´t know... but Zinchenko don't talk 
nothing about perezhivanie as unit to the relations between 
personality and environment in Vygotsky too, in order to discusses 
probably more comprehensive units...

What do you think about a set of more than one unit of analysis 
integrated in a same meta-theoretical approach?

Thank you... I will read your note more times and study then well.
The tortoise is really faster than I... Thank you for your patience 
with me.

Best regards.
Achilles (Delari Jr.)

> Date: Fri, 27 Feb 2009 01:54:32 -0800
> From: vaughndogblack@yahoo.com
> Subject: RE: [xmca] Re: microcosm/unit of analysis and xmca discourse
> To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> Achilles:
> I just got back from our two-day graduate "orientation training". There was a good presentation on "What kind of question is an open question?" which looked at what kinds of questions get many classroom answers (either from one student or from many students or even from the teacher). 
> One of the good things about this question is that "What kind of question is an open question" is really an open question. It allows many kinds of answers: grammatical, discoursal, functional, formal, and conceptual. 
> Let's take the least interesting of these answers as an example. It's possible to arrange questions grammatically in terms of degrees of freedom (df) where df = n-1, and n-1 represents the number of choices in the answer. Like this:
> a) Are you well? (n-1 = 1)
> b) How are you? (n-1 = x, where x is a restricted number of adjectives and adverbs for a preferred answer [e.g. "fine'], but an infinite number of adjectives, adverbs, and clausal constructions for a dispreferred one ["terrible", "so sad", "been down so long that it look like up to me"]. 
> c) Tell me how you feel. (n-1 = infinity)
> On the basis of this grammatical explanatory principle, we can then analyze exchanges into initiate-response units and look to see if there is a significant difference between the number of answers we get with a) and the number of answers we get with b). (Because we are using elementary school English data, there are no examples of c] in our data.)
> The result is statistically significant (p <.007, t = 2.705), but not very substantial (an average of .9 answers for the wh-questions and .64 for the y/n questions). This suggests that we have a rather poor explanatory principle, and we need to keep looking; no teacher in her right mind is interested in the difference between .9 answers and .64 answers. 
> But it also suggests that we know where to look, namely at the dispreferred results. We look, for example, at 
> a) wh-questions which have FEW answers and 
> b) y/n questions which have MANY answers and we try to figure out WHY. 
> Now, it turns that in category a) the wh-questions that have FEW answers look like this:
> T: Kyeong-rok! Kyeong-rok! Who is Kyeongrok?
> S (silently raises a hand).
> Category b) is somewhat more interesting because almost all of these are STUDENT questions to which the teacher provides multiple answers from which the kids choose. But let's stick with the boring bit.
> On the way back from our grad retreat I got stuck in a four hour traffic jam with one of our foremost grammarians. He INSISTED that "Who is Kyeonrok?" is NOT, in fact, a wh-question at all, because it only admits a single answer. 
> You can see IMMEDIATELY what this man has in mind. He wants to expand the category of grammar (the distinction between y/n questions and wh-questions) to INCLUDE the number of answers. In other words, he wants his own field, grammar, to take over my field, discourse.
> So according to my colleague we can ONLY call wh-questions by the name wh-questions  when they have many answers.This means that our explanandum is now coterminous with the explanans. The analytical unit, the question-answer exchange, is isomorphic with the explanatory principle, and we find that some question-answer exchanges get many answers because...well, because they are wh-questions, i.e. many-answered exchanges. 
> OK--now let me turn this posting over to my friend the Tortoise. I really only dip into philosophy the way I dip into the toilet when it's plugged. It's not that I disapprove of it; on the contrary, it seems to answer a very real and essential need. It's just that I'm slow, and I never seem to be able to catch up with the swift-footed ones on the other thread. 
> ACHILLES: "But what we can say about non-tautological relations between object of psychology, explanatory principle and unit of analysis?"
> TORTOISE: We can say that the object of psychology is not an object, but a process, and that a process changes in real time and in fact changes with the scale of resolution (delicacy) that we use. For example, the process we study when we look at the phylogenetic evolution of consciousness is adaptation. But the process we study when we look at the sociocultural development of consciousness is more like exaptation. And the process we study when we look at the ontogenetic growth of consciousness is development, while the process we study when we look at the microgenetic changes of consciousness is learning. 
> Since the process changes, we can certainly expect that the analysis into units will have to change. For example, we may analyze phylogenetic evolution into species, but we cannot do this with sociocultural history. We can analyze sociocultural history into modes of production, but applied to ontogenesis this is Stalinist rather than Marxist. We can analyze ontogenesis into stages, but no teacher thinks of some of her children as sensorimotor and others as formal operational.
> We can also expect that what was a explanandum on one semio-historical time scale will become a PARTIAL explanans in the next. For example, the (rather inadequate) physical endowment of newborn humans does PARTIALLY explain cultural-historical progress (but not without remainder). The cultural endowment of the child will PARTIALLY explain his or her development (but, pace Karpov, not without remainder). The ontogenetic endowment of a child will PARTIALLY explain microgenesis (but, pace Gesell, not without remainder).
> ACHILLES: "I wonder that if the object cannot explain itself and demand a "extract of reality from which it is function" (explanatory principle), perhaps a criteria to think "unit of
> analysis" could be its role in permits to the searcher establishes some
> kind of indirect relationship between the object of study and its explanatory
> principle... if we assume that these relations are not isomorphic nor
> tautological."
> TORTOISE: Ah...my good friend Vygotsky writes that his good friend Marx writes that if objects could explain themselves science would be unnecessary. He's a careful man; he never gives us a functionalist explanation without adding a structural, a logical, and even a historical one.
> Take evolution, something we tortoises are particularly fond of (because it has largely left us alone, and because like us it tends to take things fairly slowly). Functionalist explanations lead to Panglossian paradigms ("It evolved that way because everything always evolves for the best"). Panglossian paradigms cannot explain the many EXAPTATIONS we find in nature, when something evolves for one purpose (e.g. the tongue for eating and the lungs for breathing) and is co-opted for something quite different (e.g. dinnertable conversation).
> ACHILLES: "Must the unity of analysis be ontologically pertinent to both
> "planes" (or spinozian "modes") of reality: "object of study" and its "explanatory principle" (for instance, consciousness and the extract of reality from which its is function - perhaps "social relationships"(?)) to permit a concrete analysis?
> TORTOISE: Answers have to be pertinent to questions. That's what coherent discourse means, and study has to be a coherent discourse. The plane we are on is always the same; we are studying.
> ACHILLES: Or this ontological pertinence is not necessary and we can speak about more formal kinds of units?
> TORTOISE: I never heard of form without content. Form is the how of a sculpture, and content is the what. Neither one is the material: a sculpture of Achilles is not a sculpture of a block of marble. I can't seem to imagine a sculpture of Achilles without Achilles. Wouldn't that just be a block of marble and not a sculpture at all?
> When we are studying psychology, we have to have a coherent discourse in order to study it. Of course, we don't need this in order for there to be psychology; that will exist whether we study it or not. But in order to study it, we need questions that at least potentially have answers, and for that we need answers that will match the questions.
> David (the Tortoise) Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
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