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Re: [xmca] Valsiner and pseudoconcepts

Cool, thanks Denise. That makes it crystal clear, Valsiner does not agree with Vygotsky on this issue. I wish Vygotsky had lived a litle longer to furher explain and develop his views on concepts, but in this instance I still agree with Vygotsky!

BTW, people should have look at :


Paula Towsey, David Kellogg and Mike Cole on Vygotsky's Concepts.



Denise Newnham wrote:
Hello Andy, the reference as you saw to pseudoconcepts is in his book 'The
guided mind' 1998 and the other is : The development of the concept of
development: Historical and epistemological perspectives. In W. Damon, & R.
Lerner(Eds), Handbook of child psychology. 5th Ed. VOl.1. Theoretical models
of human development (pp. 189-232). New York: Wiley.

I quote (1998): 'Vygotsky and his colleagues (Luria would be the closest
example) attributed and overly idealized role to the role of concepts in
human reasoning. The role fitted with his emphasis on the hierarchy of
mental functions (i.e. higher mental functions regulating lower ones), yet
by this exaggerated emphasis the focus on the process of semiogenesis is
actually diminished. In contrast, it could be claimed that pseudo-concepts
(i.e. specific unified conglomerates of concept and complex qualities) are
the core (and highest form) of human psychological functioning. The claim
would fit with the unity of representational fields (of Karl Buhler,
described and extended earlier) and with the central focus of abduction
(rather than induction or deduction) in the process of making sense (along
the lines of Pierce).

I read you paper 'when is a concept really a concept' and heard that there
was a debate on XMCA but as I was not connected at that time have not heard
or read this debate.


-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On
Behalf Of Andy Blunden
Sent: 05 August 2010 10:22
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [xmca] Valsiner and pseudoconcepts

Can you give us the full reference for "see Valsiner, 1997d", Denise, and maybe even the context? I just find it incredible that someone could know as much about Vygotsky as Valsiner does and place pseduoconcepts at the top of the development hierarchy.


Denise Newnham wrote:
Dear Larry and others,

I am new to this game so perhaps am doing something out of turn so if so
me know. Larry I read your reply and this extract below made me think of
Valsiner's work on semiotic mediators and concepts where he states that
pseudoconcepts (1998, p.278-279) should be placed at the top to the
developmental hierarchy as the hierarchy should be seen as 'open to
or formation of intrasensitive order- [see Valsiner, 1997d]' (2001, p.
85).This brings ot my mind Markova's discussion on the spontaneous of
intuitive in knowledge formation (2003) and I think that Cole's fifth
dimension attests to this argument. There is an interesting paper by
Galligan (2008) "using Valsiner" on the web.

'These reflections of linking up multiple perspectives lead to the
developmental question of how  socially situated microgenetic experiences
get "generalized" into "higher" levels of organization that organize
experience across situations [and organize the relation of the "lower" and

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On
Behalf Of Larry Purss
Sent: 04 August 2010 19:04
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Fwd: [COGDEVSOC] Call For Papers: Special Issue on
Mindreading, Review of Philosophy and Psychology

Hi Leif and Katerina

I have recently read Daniel Stern's latest book "The Present Moment" and I
agree that he has a fascinating perspective on the topic of "engagement"
that emphasizes a "non-mind reading interpretation" of engaging with
others.  I will look up his earlier work discussing Vygotsky and Glick.
is also interesting that you mention Joseph Glick. Glick's articles on
Werner are also fascinating as they suggest that Werner was also focused
"microgenesis" as central to developmental accounts.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "accept metaphor" but generally I
accept metaphor as a central way of understanding "human science" as
interpretive and "perspectival".  As I read  Glick's interpretation of
Werner's microgenetic developmental theory, I was also REFLECTING on Mike
Natalia's focus on the microgenetic social situation of development, and
also my attempt to link these perspectives with neo-Meadian notions of
social ACTS [interchangeability of actual social positions].  These
reflections of linking up multiple perspectives lead to the developmental
question of how  socially situated microgenetic experiences get
"generalized" into "higher" levels of organization that organize
across situations [and organize the relation of the "lower" and "higher"

Glick's article "Werner's Relevance for Contemporary Developmental
Psychology"  points out that Werner thought developmental processes got
organized "at one of  three different levels: the sensorimotor, the
perceptual, or the symbolic." (p.562)  Metaphor organizes experience at
3rd symbolic level and at this level we can have metaphoric models of
[for example: conversation, text, computers, dance, orchestra, etc.]
However, this still leaves us with questioning  the RELATIONAL process of
linking language and metaphor to the other levels of organization at the
sensorimotor and perceptual levels.
Stern, Reddy, Werner, Glick, Gillespie & Martin, Mike and Natalia, and
others are exploring the possible dynamic fluidity of the capacity for
organizing and structuring the 3 levels of experience that may be more
reciprocal [and possibly simultaneous assemby] than a linear teleological
dynamic.  The question becomes, how central are the sensorimotor and
perceptual ways of "constructing" or "forming" experience once social
situations of development are  symbolic [and metaphorical]?  As Glick
out, Werner believed these language and symbolic functions "undergo a
differentiation process from deeper sensorimotor roots." (p.562) However
these deeper roots are NOT TRANSCENDED but continue to organize
The notion of "leading activity" implies an INVARIANT linear process where
specific leading activity DOMINATES each stage of development.  An
alternative perspective emphasizes the fluidity of these "leading
activities" as continuing to remain central for development. For
example functions such as "affiliation" are not only dominant in one
specific stage of developmentand then recede into the background, but
ACTUALLY continue to ACTIVELY organize experience [depending on the
microgenetic situation of development].  Whether the previous "leading
activity" recedes or remains active is dependent, not on the stage of
development [age determined] but rather on the particular social situation
of development. Mike's point that particular school contexts correlate
particular ages of students allows 2 alternative models of development.
Stage theory that is age "determined" or layered development that is
socially situated [schools CONSTRAIN affiliative activity which recedes
the background]  If the 2nd alternative guided how we structured schools
affiliation and interchangeability of social positions was VALUED,
and concept development would be altered.
My personal fascination, working in schools, is the idea of the
of creating institutional structures which promote the "interchangeability
of social positions in social acts" and how to facilitate social spaces
which nurture this interchangeability. An example of this is the creation
the 5th dimension METAPHORICAL SPACES where interchangeability of
is fluid and dynamic and leads to the development of "agentic capacity"
where ALL participants experience being recognized and experiencing
RESPONDING to their recognition.  This affiliative activity is formative
particular "identity" characteristics [communal self] and also "concept
development" formed within microgenetic moments of development. The reason
appreciate  neo-Meadian accounts of development are
there privileging the centrality of ACTUAL INTERCHANGEABILITY of social
positions [which simultaneously organize and regulate sensorimotor,
perceptual, and symbolic experiences].  I also believe this "ideal" of
actual interchangeability is fundamentally affiliative and dialogical as
participants openly share perspectives.  This also creates social
spaces where cognitive development [and reflective capacity] is nurtured
"grown" [cultured]


On Wed, Aug 4, 2010 at 7:32 AM, Katerina Plakitsi
Larry, with "trans situated" do you mean that you accept "metaphor",
is been considered as a constructivist argument?
Katerina Plakitsi
Assistant Professor of Science Education
Department of Early Childhood Education
School of Education
University of Ioannina
tel.: +302651005771 office
fax: +302651005842
tel.: +6972898463 mobile
e-mail: kplakits@cc.uoi.gr

From: "Larry Purss" <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, August 03, 2010 8:43 PM
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Subject: Re: [xmca] Fwd: [COGDEVSOC] Call For Papers: Special Issue on

Mindreading, Review of Philosophy and Psychology

Hi Martin
This topic of "mind-reading" vs  "non-mind reading" models of young
CAPACITY for attending to and ENGAGING with other "minds" [persons] is a
fascinating topic which has been discussed previously in CHAT
on this listserve.
I recently read V. Reddy's book which recommends a 2nd person societal
interactional microgenetic model of non-mind reading. I have sympathy
this particular perspective. However, I would like to read more widely
this particular topic.

Do you or others on this listserve have any recommendations for further
articles which  engage with the pros and cons of the various models in a
spirit similar to the proposed intent of the special issue of the Review
Philosophy and Psychology?

I'm curious about the various theories of young infants capacity for
engaging with others within sociogenesis, ontogenesis, and microgenesis.
However, I'm also interested in how the various  models of "infants
with others" become transformed in the transition to
TRANS-situational understandings  [the development of "higher" mental


On Mon, Aug 2, 2010 at 12:57 PM, Martin Packer <packer@duq.edu> wrote:

Begin forwarded message:
From: Victoria Southgate <v.southgate@bbk.ac.uk>
Date: August 2, 2010 4:22:07 AM GMT-05:00
To: cogdevsoc@virginia.edu
Subject: [COGDEVSOC] Call For Papers: Special Issue on Mindreading,
Review of Philosophy and Psychology
Social Cognition: Mindreading and Alternatives

Special issue of the Review of Philosophy and Psychology

Guest Editors:

Daniel D Hutto, University of Hertfordshire

Mitchell Herschbach, University of California, San Diego

Victoria Southgate, University of London


          Deadline for submissions: 1 December 2010

Human beings, even very young infants, exhibit remarkable capacities
attending to, and engaging with, other minds. A prevalent account of
abilities is that they involve “theory of mind” or “mindreading”: the
ability to represent mental states as mental states of specific kinds
to have concepts of “belief,” “desire,” etc.) and the contents of such
mental states. A number of philosophers and psychologists question the
standard mindreading and wider representationalist framework for
characterizing and explaining our everyday modes and methods of
understanding other people. One possibility is that infants may be
exhibiting sophisticated yet non-conceptual, and possibly
non-representational, mind tracking abilities that do not equate to any
of mindreading.

Proponents on both sides of this debate must adequately accommodate
recent work in developmental psychology. Experiments involving a
nonverbal tasks — e.g., the “violation of expectation” paradigm and
anticipatory looking tasks, as well as nonverbal tasks involving more
responses —suggest that young infants can understand others’ goals,
intentions, desires, knowledge/ignorance, and beliefs. Perhaps most
prominent are studies suggesting infants as young as 13 months of age
selectively responsive to the false beliefs of others, well before they
able to reliably pass standard verbal false belief tasks around 4 years
This special issue of the Review of Philosophy and Psychology aims to
create a dialogue between the mindreading and non-mindreading
basic social cognition. Contributors are asked to clarify their
commitments; explain how their accounts compare with rivals; and how
propose to handle the emerging empirical data, particularly that from
developmental psychology. Themes and questions to be addressed include
are not limited to:

-       Infants as young as 13 months old display a systematic
sensitivity to the beliefs of others. Does it follow that they must be
operating with a concept of belief, or indeed, any concepts at all?
-       Normally developing children become able to attribute false
beliefs to others between the ages of 3 and 5. Does it follow that they
be operating with a “theory of mind” or the equivalent?
-       What does mental attribution minimally involve? What exactly
distinguishes mindreading from non-mindreading approaches to early
cognition? Are there theoretical reasons to prefer one over the other?
-       What exact roles are mental representations thought to play in
mindreading approaches? What kind of mental representations might be
involved? Can a principled dividing line be drawn between
and non-representational approaches?
-       How precisely should we understand the explicit/implicit
distinction as invoked by certain theorists?

Invited contributors

-       José Luis Bermúdez, Texas A&M University

-       Pierre Jacob, Institut Jean Nicod

-       Andrew Meltzoff, University of Washington

Important dates

-       Submission deadline: 1 December 2010

-       Target publication date: July 2011

How to submit

Prospective authors should register at:
https://www.editorialmanager.com/ropp to obtain a login and select
Cognition: Mindreading and Alternatives” as an article type to submit a
manuscript. Manuscripts should be no longer than 8,000 words.
should follow the author guidelines available on the journal's website:
http://www.springer.com/13164  Any questions? Please email the guest
editors: d.d.hutto@herts.ac.uk, mherschb@ucsd.edu,

About the journal

The Review of Philosophy and Psychology (ISSN: 1878-5158; eISSN:
1878-5166) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by Springer
focusing on philosophical and foundational issues in cognitive science.
aim of the journal is to provide a forum for discussion on topics of
interest to philosophers and psychologists and to foster
research at the crossroads of philosophy and the sciences of the mind,
including the neural, behavioural and social sciences.
 The journal publishes theoretical works grounded in empirical
as well as empirical articles on issues of philosophical relevance. It
includes thematic issues featuring invited contributions from leading
authors together with articles answering a call for paper.

Editorial board

Editor-in-Chief: Dario Taraborelli, Surrey. Executive Editors: Roberto
Casati, CNRS; Paul Egré, CNRS, Christophe Heintz, CEU.
Scientific advisors: Clark Barrett, UCLA; Cristina Bicchieri, Penn;
Block, NYU; Paul Bloom, Yale; John Campbell, Berkeley; Richard Breheny,
Susan Carey, Harvard; David Chalmers, ANU; Martin Davies, ANU; Vittorio
Girotto, IUAV; Alvin Goldman, Rutgers; Daniel Hutto, Hertfordshire; Ray
Jackendoff, Tufts; Marc Jeannerod, CNRS; Alan Leslie, Rutgers; Diego
Marconi, Turin; Kevin Mulligan, Geneva; Alva Noë, Berkeley; Christopher
Peacocke, Columbia; John Perry, Stanford; Daniel Povinelli,
Louisiana-Lafayette; Jesse Prinz, CUNY; Zenon Pylyshyn, Rutgers; Brian
Scholl, Yale; Natalie Sebanz, Nijmegen; Corrado Sinigaglia, Milan;
Smith, Birkbeck; Elizabeth Spelke, Harvard; Achille Varzi, Columbia;
Williamson, Oxford; Deirdre Wilson, UCL

Dr. Victoria Southgate
Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellow
Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development
Henry Wellcome Building
Birkbeck, University of London
Malet Street
London, WC1E 7HX.

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*Andy Blunden*
Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
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