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Re: [xmca] activity (was concepts)
Martin, if I understand you, you are saying that according to
Vygotsky, word meaning, in its psychological sense, is not a concept,
and is not a generalization.
This isn't corresponding to my reading of T&S. You seem to be making
a distinction I am not seeing. Could you elaborate?
Btw, your reading of the quote from Vol 1 7.1 p 247 about Ach might
need revisiting. I think Vygotsky meant that if one believes, as Ach
did, that word meaning is fixed, then one cannot recognize change and
development in concept formation.
I don't believe Vygotsky was trying to say that it is a mistake to
identify word meaning ... in the sense of **Vygotsky's** understanding
of it, as changing and developing ... with the concept. I think he
was trying to say that it is a mistake to identify word meaning ... in
the sense of **Ach's** understanding of it, as fixed and
unchanging ... with the concept. See what you think.
Here are a couple more quotes from T&S that might be interesting to
"At any stage of its development, the concept is an **act of
generalization**. The most important finding of all research in this
field is that the concept -- represented psychologically as word
meaning -- develops." T&S, Vol 1, Ch 6.1, p 169-170 [emphasis original
"Psychologically, the development of concepts and the development of
word meaning are one and the same process." Vol 1, T&S, Ch 6.1, p 180
On Apr 20, 2011, at 1:47 PM, Martin Packer wrote:
I don't know, I think LSV makes it pretty clear that word-meaning is
not the concept. He criticizes Ach, who:
"identifies concept and word meaning, and thus precludes any
possibility of change and development in concepts" (T&S chapter 6,
On Apr 21, 2011, at 9:31 AM, Martin Packer wrote:
On Apr 21, 2011, at 10:39 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:
Good ol' Lev is never that unambiguous is he, though? Consider this:
“This justifies the view that word meaning is an act of speech. In
psychological terms, however, word meaning is nothing other than a
generalization, that is, a /concept/. In essence, generalization and
word meaning are synonyms. Any generalization – any formation of a
concept – is unquestionably a specific and true act of thought.
word meaning is also a phenomenon of thinking” (Vygotsky Volume
Andy, Let me offer this cleaner version of what you have found
(basically it's David K's 'triangulated' translation). From the
start of chapter 7. You highlight the word "concept." But notice
that the meaning of a word is a generalization *from the
psychological side.* Words are used, in acts of speech and in acts
of thought. When a word is used in an act of thought, it is to
generalize. But that doesn't mean that word meaning in itself is an
act of thought, or that word meaning itself is a concept.
"We found this unit, showing in simplest form a unity of thought and
speech, within the meaning of the word [значении слова].
The meaning of the word, as we attempted to clarify above,
represents a further indecomposable unity of the two processes,
beyond which we can not say that it represents the phenomenon of
speech or the phenomenon of thinking. A word devoid of meaning is
not a word, it is an empty sound, hence meaning is a required,
constitutive feature of the word. It is the word itself, viewed from
the inside. Thus, we seem sufficiently entitled to study it as a
phenomenon of speech. But the meaning of the word from the
psychological side, as we have been repeatedly convinced in this
entire study, is nothing but a generalization, or concept.
Generalization [Обобщение] and meaning of the word are
synonymous. Any generalization, any formation of a concept
[образование понятия], is the most specific,
authentic, most obvious act of thought. Therefore, we have the right
to think of the meaning of the word as a phenomenon of thinking.
"The meaning of the word is both a spoken and an intellectual
phenomenon, and this does not mean a purely external participation
in two different mental lives. The meaning of the word is a
phenomenon of thought only in so far as the thought relates to the
word and is embodied in the word, and vice versa: it is a phenomenon
of speech only insofar as it relates to thought and is illuminated
by its light. It is a phenomenon of verbal thought, or of meaningful
words; it is the unity of speech and thought."
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