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Re: [xmca] The Meltzoff/Wolves Thread: Mike's "decoupling" and a Sakharovian footnote for David

Yes, I noticed that too. Here's what I make of it. A concept in dialectical logic is really a process: it's the emergence of idea from subject and object (Hegel's Logic). But the concept in formal logic is really a product: it's a definition that includes all and only the members of a set which conform to a particular logical operation, so it's at bottom just an object.
The emergence of an idea from subject (syncretism) and object (complex) is where Vygotsky gets the distinction between "potential concepts" and "true concepts". A potential concept is a concept for others but not for myself. For example, there is actually no word in English for the kind of fake lemon-lime fizz referred to by the trade names 7 Up or Sprite in America, but Koreans refer to it generically as "sai-yi-da", (derived from a misapplication of the English word "cider"). 
For an American coming to Korea, "sa-yi-da" is a potential concept (and a source of potential misunderstanding) since it might apply to any apple juice but not, at least initially, to lemon-lime soda. It's a concept for others but I don't know what it means, and when I use it I may think of it as a misapplied English word rather than a Korean concept. (The same thing is true, of course, for an American going to the UK, where cider is a form of beer made from apples instead of barley and malt).
When the word "immersion" came to the USA (from the Canadian immersion programmes) it was a concept for Canadians but not for Americans. Notoriously, it was used in California, Arizona, and Massachusetts to mean almost its opposite: a one year programme aimed at subtractive bilingualism rather than a programme which incorporated the whole of the child's primary and secondary education with additive bilingualism as its goal.
I think it's understandable that Mike wants to decouple age and schooling; I am always astonished when I talk to American kids about their school life and discover that they conceive of it almost entirely as a social milieu with hardly any academic content. For our kids (and I think for Vygotsky's kids too) it is really the other way around; children here discuss school almost entirely in terms of schoolwork. 
As for Vygotsky, he says that neither chronological age nor school grade is identical with mental age, "(b)ut since the processes of child development are closely connected with the teaching of the child and the separation of teaching into levels depends on enormous practical experience, then naturally breaking childhood up according to a pedagogical principle brings us extremely close to a real division of childhood into spearate periods. (Vol. 5, p. 187). This is why his periodization includes things like "preschool" and "school age"; I'm not sure if he would go for more granularity than that.
I didn't get a chance to comment on your gems, Paula. 
 ". . .just one name for the same colour . . . like all the other names aren't the same colour. . . . So, all the names are actually the colours and there aren't any colours [left] in the middle."

It seems to me that "just one name for the same color" is a tentative hypothesis, which is then falsified by the next statement "like all the other names aren't the same color". The child then hypothesizes that each name includes all the colors "So all the names are actually (all) the colors." That way there are no colors left in the middle, which there would be if there were just one name for the same color, because there are five colors. 
This is consistent with a complex-collection solution. It's also consistent with:
". . . [the] same names can go in the-what-the places the one's called [i.e., the bik corner]"

That is, all the biks can go in the bik corner. 

"What I'm doing . . . I'm turning over the one and if it's the same then I put it next to them [of the same label]".
That is, if it's a bik then it goes next to the biks in the bik corner.

And "So . . . if it's not the same group then you put it in another group that's called the

That is, if it's not a bik then you put it in another group that called the (cev, mur, lag) group.

"It's not easy but it's quite hard".

Actually, "but" often means "and" in many languages including English:"I"m ugly, but I'm gentle." It's not only not easy but it's also quite hard." 

"You can put more less water in here, an'. an. it's more smaller than all the others".

The subject has clearly discovered negative quantities. On to negative numbers!
David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

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