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Re: [xmca] How can we reply to this...
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- Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 15:17:56 +1100
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Never having heard of Gendlin I consulted WIkipedia, at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Gendlin and on this slender basis I
could venture a few comments.
That concepts are ways of understanding the world, rather than things
existing in the world is hardly news. You would have to go back 500
years to find a "philosopher" to argue against this. The question is
where you go with this.
The example Wikipedia gives is gravity. Gendlin takes the observation
"things fall" to be the basis of all concepts of "gravity" and says that
this is the basis for gravity and the various historically arising
theories of gravity, which modify the concept of gravity. Thus "Gendlin
insists that 'gravity' is a concept and that concepts can't make
anything fall. Instead of saying that gravity causes things to fall, it
would be more accurate to say that things falling cause [the different
concepts of] gravity. Interaction with the world is prior to concepts
about the world."
The thing is that more recent theories of gravity do not arise from the
observation that things fall, but rather from much more developed
systems of activity which have become possible only in recent times.
Such theories co-exist with mundane concepts of gravity, just as
developed scientific forms of activity co-exist with mundane forms of
activity. So we would say it is not the _passive observation_ that
things fall which underlies all concepts of gravity, but rather the
historically and culturally developing _forms of activity_ which
continuously cause the idea of gravity to be recast in new theories.
"Interaction with the world is prior to concepts about the world" means
"culture is prior to concepts about the world." People interact with the
world through culture, and there were no human beings before culture,
and no children born into a culture-free world.
Vygotsky showed in his study of ontogenesis that the nature-given mental
functions are recast and recombined in new Gestalten under the influence
of participation in the social activity around them. Their minds are
restructured, but still made up from the same nature-given functional
units at base. If I have this wrong, others will correct me. I am not a
child psychologist or even a psychologist of childhood. But I think this
gives an opening to see how Gendlin's interesting innovations into
therapy work. Another example, according to Vygotsky, "the subconscious"
exists, but it is a construct which arises only in the course of later
development. It does not - as it seems - preexist conscious awareness.
It's a bit analogous to inner speech, which onotgenetically arises on
the basis of speaking aloud. Even though everyone was quiet and
nonetheless intelligent before they ever spoke, both onto- and
phylo-genetically. It seems to me that Gendlin may well have a good
technique for therapy, but that doesn't mean that the ontology and
epistemology and theory of mind by means of which he systematises his
understanding of it stands up to criticism.
Does that make any sense to you Ivo?
Ivo Banaco wrote:
Hi Michael and all,
Thank you for your interest and quick reply. I am studying in Lisbon,
Portugal in ISPA (Higher *Institute of Applied Psychology). I have a
background in Economics (my undergraduate studies and master degree is in
Economics) but I did not quite fit in the mainstream way of looking for
economic issues. My long time interest in Psychology drove me to study on my
own all that kept my attention in a rather random way. Discovering Vygotsky
was like discovering a golden mine that could start to structure my thoughts
about some issues, namely the relationship between mind, behaviour,
artifacts, economic and cultural structures, and how can all fit in some
dynamic Whole. *
*This quote about Gendlin came under a certain psychological tradition
related to the humanistic wave of Carl Rogers. Eugene Gendlin was a close
collaborator of Rogers and then carried forward his own original thought,
what can be called a existential humanistic and experiential psychology. His
first book was "Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning" *
he talks about constructs like felt sense, or edge of awareness, where
language emerges from nonlanguage, from the intricacy of the bodily felt
So in a sense he gives emphasis to experience and interaction first and
before culture. It's a living thing that is formed first, which is pre
cultural, cultural and more complex than culture. He says that the body, the
human body is always more than any define form, from the start. He tries to
find a 1st person science, that cannot be reducible to neuroscience,
economics, culture. He points directly to experience, the bodily felt
experience which allows human to act in the first place. So here the unit of
analysis is the continuous experiencing.
I don't know if this helps to put Gendlin in context. My question is how can
we avoid to be reductionist approaching the cultural dimension of the human
being, that is not reducing humans to culture and vice-versa.
On Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 2:53 PM, mike cole <email@example.com> wrote:
Where are you studying? gmail is such a general address!!
If you have no existential doubts or gordian knots, start to get concerned
about your state of mind. Perfectly normal and healthy. Existential
uncertainty seems the lot of human kind.
Without knowing a lot more, I can offer no interpretation, let alone a
reply, to Gendlin's statement about big things and little things. Is
reference being made to neuroscientific 50 millisecond little things and
100 millisecond big things?
In light of issues discussed here (feel free to buzz the past decade or so
in the archives for context) where do this fit?
On Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 4:21 AM, Ivo Banaco <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
As a new kid on the block, recently researching in Cultural Psychology and
wanting to do my Phd thesis in this area, I still have "existential doubts"
and big gordian knots. Having read different kinds of literature in
different traditions in Psychology I still have troubles in replying to
sentences like this by the existential philosopher and psychologist Eugene
"Any little thing, any big thing is precultural, because it is tissues and
it is animal life, and it's culture and it's also after culture, more
complicated than culture. The body is this much more complex, much more
intricate system from the start."
PS: I wish you all a merry Christmas and a great 2011.
On Sat, Dec 18, 2010 at 5:03 AM, mike cole <email@example.com> wrote:
Several of the articles on show below appear of interest to various
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Teachers College Record <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Transitioning From an Innovative Elementary to a Conventional
To: Recipient <email@example.com>
[image: Subscribe Today] <http://www.tcrecord.org/Subscriptions.asp>
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Freely-Available This Week
Smuggling Authentic Learning Into the School Context: Transitioning From
Innovative Elementary to a Conventional High
by Renée DePalma, Eugene Matusov & Mark Smith
Analyzing the discourse of eighth-grade graduates from an innovative
elementary school as they transition to conventional high schools
distinct response patterns characterizing concurrent projects of
self-actualization and institutional achievement. Our analysis suggests
a certain critical ambivalence toward credentialism and competition can
part of a healthy strategy for school success, particularly for those
marginalized groups who do not wholly buy into the (predominantly White
middle-class) historically rooted traditions of conventional schooling.
Designing Transparent Teacher Evaluation: The Role of Oversight Panels
by Jennifer Goldstein
This article explores a policy intended to improve the quality of
by improving the quality of teacher evaluation. It examines a Peer
Assistance and Review (PAR) program, and specifically one aspect of the
program-its oversight panel-asking how an oversight panel alters the
practice of teacher evaluation. The core argument of the article is that
oversight panels have the potential to fundamentally alter the
of the teacher evaluation process and, in turn, the nature of
Multiliteracies in Motion: Current Theory and
by David R. Cole and Darren Lee Pullen (eds.)
reviewed by William Kist
Citizenship Education and Social Development in
by Ali A. Abdi, Edward Shizha, and Lee Ellis (eds.)
reviewed by Monisha Bajaj
Persuading Fred: An essay review of recent books by Stanley Fish, Louis
Menand, and Martha
reviewed by James Donald
Someone Has to Fail: The Zero-Sum Game of Public
by David F. Labaree
reviewed by Floyd M. Hammack
Henry Braun discusses his paper, co-authored with Irwin Kirsch and
Yamamoto, "An Experimental Study of the Effects of Monetary Incentives on
Performance on the 12th-Grade NAEP Reading
In Praise of Slow Reading<
by Thomas Newkirk
This commentary argues against the high valuation schools place on
speed, particularly on high sakes tests like the SAT. In penalizing
readers, these and other tests put at a disadvantage students who
their reading in a deliberate and thorough way. The ideal should not be
speed but the *tiempo guisto*, the pace at which we are most attentive
effective-and this pace will vary depending on the individual and the
2010 NSSE Yearbooks and Call for Proposals for Future
The editors of the Teachers College Record announce the yearbook topics
2010 and issue a call for new proposals.
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