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Re: [xmca] Meltzoff, More Wolves, and Leontiev Erratum

Dear Mike:
Yes, that's it. I'm sorry if I sounded upset; I guess I am a delicate soul, and I am easily annoyed by titles that include the word "new" followed by articles which do not include any actual new content. But that is irascibility rather sensitivity; everything out there is new somewhere. 
This morning I had a not particularly new idea about Paula and Carol's paper, which still seems underdiscussed to me. One of the very few outstanding xmca lacunae is that readers don't always write and (I speak as one of the most obstreperous writers) let it be said that writers sometimes don't always read.
It's this: if we treat the blocks test as a kind of IQ test or even as a "schizophrenia" test or if we focus purely on the product, we come up with a concept of the concept as NOUN: the  archetypical concept is a BLOCK, and consequently the prototypical thought is really a PERCEPTION. 
If you think a little bit about Leontiev's problems describing the act of reading you will see that many of them stem from his desire to reduce reading to an act of unconscious perception. As I said, I think at the very least one needs to treat reading as an act of focal (that is, volitional) attention, and volitional attention is not at all the same thing as awareness, particularly not if we have Vygotsky's idea of the mind as a system of psychological systems in mind.
But this view of the static, noun-filled world of the concept ENTIRELY changes when we treat the blocks test the way that Paula and Carol have chosen to treat it; as a dynamic form of guided interview which center on the question "why?", as in "Why did you put that there?" I think this is the way Vygotsky actually DID do his research; it explains why he's not that interested in the actual results and never bothers at all with scoring his data. 
As soon as we treat the blocks test as a "conversation piece" (like the paintings which eighteenth century gentlemen commissioned to focus the flagging conversations at their dinner parties) or a "bonne a penser" (a "handmaiden of thought", as Levi-Strauss liked to say of his myths), the fit between Chapter Five of T&S and Chapter Six becomes a lot closer. 
After all, the kids must justify their sortings with "because" and "although". And the artificial concepts ("lag", "mur", "cev", and "bik") really are similar to the academic concepts of the new social science curriculum ("exploitation", "socialism", "proletarian", and "revolution") as far as the child's hands on experience is concerned. 
David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education
PS: Andy has pointed out that some of the page numbers I gave Monica do not really match up with the versions he has. I just got back to Seoul and checked my library: the ref to Problems of Development of Mind matches the 1981 Progress Publishers edition, but the pp 66-65 ref which I just gave is actually from:
Leontiev, A.N. (1979, 1981) The problem of activity in psychology. In J.V. Wertsch (ed.) The Concept of Activity in Soviet Psychology. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, pp. 37-71. 
Sorry, Monica!

--- On Tue, 8/18/09, Mike Cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>
Subject: [xmca] Fwd: Meltzoff Science paper
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture,Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Date: Tuesday, August 18, 2009, 7:03 PM

David-- Is this the piece that upset you?


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