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RE: [xmca] Influence

I am presently reading Vol. 6 of the Collected Works (Scientific Legacy),
which includes the long essay "The Teaching about Emotions." In this essay
Vygotsky expends great energy demonstrating that Spinoza's views on emotions
were distinct from those of Descartes, the two of whom were apparently
linked in much writing that preceded LSV. Given Vygotsky's remarks about
Spinoza throughout this section and his dismissal of Descartes, I would
agree that he was influenced by Spinoza.

Peter Smagorinsky
Professor of English Education 
Department of Language and Literacy Education
The University of Georgia
125 Aderhold Hall
Athens, GA 30602

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On
Behalf Of Andy Blunden
Sent: Saturday, August 08, 2009 10:31 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [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 

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) 
Orders: http://www.erythrospress.com/store/main.html#books

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