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[xmca] Influence

Do people have any opinions on this?

I suspect that the concept of "influence" is more widely applied than can be justified. When is a "source" an "influence"?

For example, Google gave me the following quotes:


"Vygotsky was influenced by Marxist theorists" (wik.ed.uiuc.edu)

"Vygotsky was influenced by Dewey" (Cambridge Companion)

"Vygotsky was influenced by his contemporaries" (Peter Lloyd, Charles Fernyhough)

"Vygotsky was influenced by thinkers like Spinoza, Freud, Marx and Piaget" (www.oise.utoronto.ca)

"Vygotsky was influenced by the writings of Marx, Engels, and Hegel. He was also influenced by Piaget, Blonskii, and Werner" (Moll)

"Vygotsky was influenced by Janet's ideas on ..." (Grigorenko)

"Vygotsky was influenced by and influenced many theorists. Jean Piaget, Jerome Bruner, Albert Bandura, Etienne Wenger, and Dewey are just a few." (jonliu.com)


I think the first three are tenable, but the rest are not. We are "influenced" by people we interact with and those answering to the same times and problems as us. But what can I make of a claim that Vygotsky was "influenced" by Spinoza, who lived about 250 years before him? Everyone contributes to an intellectual situation and we respond to that situation, but does that amount to "influence"? "Influence" belongs to a behaviorist's lexicon I think, as it discounts any agency on the one being "influenced."

I'm sure I'm not the first person to raise this. Is there a distinction which is usually brought to bear here?


Andy Blunden (Erythrós Press and Media) http://www.erythrospress.com/
Orders: http://www.erythrospress.com/store/main.html#books

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