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Re: [xmca] Valsiner and pseudoconcepts

That's an interesting angle, Michael. I'll toss this out for those who have been reading on this more recently - how does Vygotsky relate magical thinking to syncretic, complexive, pseudoconceptual and systematic-conceptual thinking? And how does magical thinking fit in with his thoughts on imaginative and creative thinking? I'd love a summary of how Vygotsky puts all those together ...

- Steve

On Aug 13, 2010, at 12:16 PM, Michael Glassman wrote:


I think psedo-concept having to do with level 4 might be tied to Valsiner's example of magic - black magic and the way that a belief in black magic can have enough power to actually lead someone to die (people have been known to die because they thought that spells were cast on them). Valsiner seems to equate the pseudoconcpet then with magical thinking - perhaps Levy-Bruhl's ideas on magical thinking. Although he doesn't seem to address the idea from a developmental standpoint the way that Piaget does (we escape magical thinking through a process of decentration). From what I've read Valsiner seems to be thinking that pseudoconcepts - and I am thinking he believes them to be part of a larger category will stay with us a whole lifetime and have greater power and sway in many concepts and scientific concepts. To make a modern point, the idea that because it snows during the winter must mean global warming is a hoax is I guess what Valsiner would consider a level 4 concept. But it has a strong enough hold on people that they are willing to put future generatoins in grave danger based on this, and they cannot be swayed by scientific concepts.

I'm sure it's more complicated than that - if it's not it should be.

But I am left with a question, who is Vygotsky closer to then, Piaget or Valsiner?



From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu on behalf of Steve Gabosch
Sent: Fri 8/13/2010 2:38 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Valsiner and pseudoconcepts

Larry, I'm following these discussions, too, at least sketchily.  I'm
still hoping someone has pages 288-289 of that Valsiner chapter where
he discusses abduction.  As for his levels of emotional thinking, I
find Valsiner's concept of "overgeneralizing feeling fields" thought-
provoking.  I don't always find Valsiner's **explanations** well-
aligned, insofar as he tries to trace the sociocultural **causes** of
things - my take on him is he bends the stick way over toward a very
strong one-sided subjectivist perspective - but his descriptions are
often very helpful, he raises a lot of interesting ideas and insights,
and addresses a lot of very important questions (for CHAT) with very
high scholarship.  He is usually a clear and excellent writer, and he
always has a bundle of provocative ideas to offer.  I appreciate his
work and learn from him.  I notice he cites Anna Wierzbicka, who Mike
pointed me to a few years back.  Wierzbicka studied how emotions are
described in many different languages and reports on some very
interesting patterns.  It is sort of like the study of human facial
expressions - there is so much there for CHAT to work with - in both
areas, there appear to be some universal human behavioral patterns
which beg to be explained from a CHAT perspective as to why they are
true - or why they are not as they appear.  I would so appreciate some
people in CHAT writing some books on those questions!  So much to
learn.  However, on the question that got some of this discussion
started - I am still not grasping why Valsiner puts pseudoconcepts in
his level 4.  Anyone figured that out?

- Steve

On Aug 13, 2010, at 10:05 AM, Larry Purss wrote:

Thank you for this article explaining Valsiner's 4 levels. I also
find it a
very interesting framework for trying to understand emotions.
I'm also aware of Andy's comments that Valsner is "merely"
articulating a
"cognitive perspective" of generalization/abstraction and am trying to
remain reflective.
What I particularly find interesting is the recognition that at the
4th level of generalization the process of differentiation and
reflection of
affect becomes DE-differentiated and abstracted [and implicit]
This "higher" level is the level of VALUES which have an IMPLICIT
constraining determination on the emergence and generation of affect
meaning.  This model also offers an explanation of why it is so
difficult to
have a DIALOGUE about level 2 emotions and meanings. At the level 4
de-differentiation of value constructions persons have a
generalized/abstracted orientation which is "just a feeling" which is
difficult to put into words and articulate.

I'm reading the other articles within this thread, but I'm hoping
Andy and
others add their thoughts on Valsiner. His writings are helping me to
understand abduction, pseudoconcepts, and stage/layer accounts of
development.  His perspective also has significant implications for
how we
"observe" or "recognize" our relations with others.


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