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Re: [xmca] Piaget on Within-Stage Variability

On a similar topic, I  continue to reflect on Valsiner's perspective that
the level of "pseudoconcepts" [externally mediated and not systematic] are a
fundamental and central  level of cognitive processing for most
interactivity in the life world.   Thinking with "true" concepts may be a
specialized form of cognition which is "valued" in particular academic
institutions [and also particular work places] but by calling it "higher"
[geographical metaphor]  gives "true" [really real] concepts a privileged
"value" description of "better" as a way to judge or evaluate a particular
historically developed form of cognition which is very USEFUL, but is it the
apex of development?

I wonder if there is a tension between "true" concepts and the notion of
"attunement" or primary sensorimotor coordination of interactivity.  Throw
in Herbert Clark's pointing out how institutional structures mediate
interactivity [independently of my personal "intentions"] and "true" higher
concepts seems to be one among a variety of ways of coordinating

The empirical sciences put "true" concepts as the HIGHEST value but this may
be a NORMATIVE value which expresses a particular "tradition" or framework
or horizon of understanding.  By valuing "systematic" ways of cognizing as
"higher" are we de-valuing other ways of cognizing that may be as "adaptive"
in particular contexts [as INTERweaving] but not so systematic.
[Moscovici's theory of "social" representations of cognition as "poly"
contrasting with Durkheim's theory of "collective" representations]

The earlier discussion on the place of "metaphor" in our theory of cognition
is an example of a form of cognizing that is NOT systematic but is it
therefore a "lower" form of cognizing.  Metaphor's power may be in its power
to disrupt "systematic" thinking by introducing novel linkages between
ideas.  EMERGENCE may also be in tension with "true" concepts [which

I may be showing my misunderstanding of the shared understandings of the
vocabulary as understood on CHAT as I eclectically move between conceptual
systems, and if my thoughts are muddled, I find this topic is fraught with
potholes as I try to navigate my way through.

I don't have answers to these musings but the questions leave me wondering


On Wed, Nov 10, 2010 at 5:33 PM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:

> In the early-mid 1950's a remarkable group of scholars met in Geneva to
> discuss issues of development. The entire book of discussions on child
> development is too big to make a pdf of, but the discussion on stages and
> mechanisms of change, involving Piaget, Margaret Mead, Lorenz, Grey
> Walter, Tanner the growth guy, and others could be if there is sufficient
> interest -- or perhaps Mead's paper.
> This is the set of meetings sponsored by Macey Foundation which got Piaget
> and Mead talking about culture and development and contributed a lot to the
> large set of empirical studies in the late 1950's. In reading the
> discussion
> as part of re-viewing the cross-cultural landscape, I came upon this
> statement in the discussion about stages.
> This is the same point that Bowlby raised when in his reply to my
> essay he said 'I wonder if Piaget accepts the idea that, at all ages,
> behaviour is regulated by cognitive processes of different degrees of
> development-that in some of our actions we operate with a fullyfledged
> intelligence and in others none at all, and that in respect
> of anyone activity we may shift from one level to another?'
> Well, I fully accept this idea. Our cognitive functions are certainly
> not uniform for every period of the day. Although I am mainly engaged
> in intellectual operations, I am for example at an operatory
> level for only a small part of the day when I devote myself to my
> professional
> work. The rest of the time I am dealing with empirical
> trial and error. At the time when I drove a car and my engine went
> wrong it was even empirical trial and error on a very low level, as
> you can imagine. Every moment I am indulging in pre-operatory
> intuition. At other times I go even lower and almost give way to
> magical behaviour. If I am stopped by a red light when I am in a
> hurry it is difficult for me not to link this up with other preoccupations
> of the moment. In short, the intellectual level varies considerably,
> exactly like the affective level, according to the different times of the
> day, but for each behaviour pattern I think we shall find a certain
> correspondence. For example, for a primitive emotion a very low
> intellectual level, and for a lofty aesthetic or moral sentiment a high
> intellectual level. We shall always have this correspondence between
> the two aspects.*
> How did it come about that this discussion was forgotten? I have never seen
> Piaget quoted in this way in the English or Russian language translations.
> My French is too lousy to have any idea about that. The closest I can come
> to systematic investigation by Americans that follows this logic is in the
> work of Kurt Fischer and his colleagues.
> For me a big question is: How does this kind of variability get organized
> along with the diachronic sequence of transformations laid out in Boris's
> article in the Vygotsky Companion very interestingly elaborated upon by
> David Kel? This question is related to my constantly worrying the issue of
> what is meant by "social situation of development" (singular) for people
> who
> think that higher psychological functions are organized according to the
> activities they mediate as well as the properties of the mediational
> system?
> mike
> PS- Still reading LSV's *Educational Psychology* and working up to David's
> essay on the Psych of Art and its place in development of LSV's thinking.
> That far behind!
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