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RE: [xmca] word meaning and experience

Larry, your note was very enlightening. I wonder that just such a historical approach could help us to understand better some relationships between that two units of analysis in Vygotsky's meta-theoretical discourse... Some kind of dialectic inter-constitution "word meaning" <-> "perezhivanie" - at each of our social acts of consciousness... Spite, following a Russian friend of mine, "perezhivanie" is not a so common word in everyday Russian discourse, but much more the verb "perezhivat' " - I don't know if other Russian colleagues here agree. For instance I made a search at the Dostoevsky's book "Crime an punishment" and this word "perezhivanie" was not found even once. Spite this Vasiliuk made a very nice analysis of the perezhivaniia of the hero of this book, Razkolnikov... All that we could call "perezhivanie" was there, but it was not named so... My Friend Yulia tell me that this word is more common in theoretical and philosophical discourse. I don't now what other Russian colleagues think about. I remember this because you tell us about more generalized concepts that could obtain more everyday uses transforming the entire relationship word meaning - experience... Returning to the main point, I understand your note are very elucidative - and the (non-linear) relation "word-experience" (slovo-perezhivanie), maybe could be understood as a major unit... I only don't know if the own relation could have a only name... perhaps "sense formation"? the process of "making-sense"?


> Date: Mon, 30 Aug 2010 00:30:05 -0700
> From: lpscholar2@gmail.com
> To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> Subject: [xmca] word meaning and experience
> I was reading an article  "Will and Anxiety" by Leslie Farber published in
> 1964 in Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry.  Farber is
> exploring how word meaning changes historically and these historical changes
> have profound effects on how we perceive experiences.  Farber is reflecting
> on the term "anxiety" and the nature of the experience it describes.  He
> asks if anxiety is a "particular" experience or a "general category" meant
> to cover a range of painful states.  Before the advent f psychology as a
> science Webster's dictionary listed its meaning as a "painful uneasiness of
> mind over an impending or anticipated ill".  What we call "anxiety" today
> might in another time have been rendered as apprehension, fear, fright,
> tremor, uncertainty, uneasiness, dread, restlessness, worry, shakiness,
> trepedition, desperation, palpitations, queasiness, agitation, anguish,
> alienation, or cowardice according to WHICH EXPERIENCE we wished to
> describe.  These various terms point to "novelistic" PRECISION which
> contrasts with the psychological search for language to convey HYPOTHETICAL
> PRINCIPLES [abstract and general] which govern psychological systems or
> models.  Farber is drawing our attention to the fact that theoretical
> language is not to be confused with EXPERIENCE.    He points out the
> ambiguity of meaning with a term such as "anxiety" as USED in  psychology.
> It is never made clear whether the term indicates a PARTICULAR experience,
> or an ABSTRACT way of theorizing about a variety of experiences.  As a
> result, historically within psychology, the term "anxiety" which at first
> was an abstraction, now passes itself off as an EXPERIENCE itself, rather
> than a way of TALKING ABOUT experience.
> Farber points out that in our SCIENTIFIC AGE it is always a danger that
> theoretical abstract terms may tresspass their original scientific
> boundaries and become habitual common-sense conventional terms.  Experience
> This article was written from another discourse framework or hermeneutical
> "tradition" [psychotherapy] but is an example of the interplay of language
> and experience. Farber, by contrasting particular "novelistic" ways of
> describing experience with the evolution of the term "anxiety" within
> scientific forms of discourse, the word meaning evolves to a more
> abstract SYSTEM of  word meanings. Farber's description of how the meaning
> of the term "anxiety" changed is a concrete example of linquistic
> relativity.  Lucy and Wertsch in their article talked about the interplay of
> language and thought as both developing the possibilities of human
> consciousness [Vygotsky] and the implications for the limits and constraints
> of human language.[Whorf].  Farber's reflections on the historical evolution
> of word meaning for the  term "anxiety" and its shifting relation to
> experiences is one example of this process
> Larry
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