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RE: [xmca] hardwired for morality?
I am trying to translate "Tool and Sign in Child Development" a coauthorship by Vygotsky and Luria (some people claim it is entirely by Vygotsky, but I am quite sure I have found at least one paragraph, on the invention of lie detectors and Freudian complexes, that expresses Luria's views but not Vygotsky's).
LSV and ARL are giving us a short history of child psych. It passes through a kind of fast-forward evolution, from an early, eighteenth century view of the child as a flower and childhood as a garden to a much darker, nineteenth century view of the child as an ape-like creature, and childhood as a zoo.
This later view is being curiously prolonged into the twentieth century, because of a bourgeois psychology which, losing all faith in the products of society, history, and culture, can do nothing but proclaim the animality of humans. A case in point is the comparative study of practical intelligence in apes and kids.
LSV and ARL argue that this is an artifact (not in Andy's sense, but in the sense of being manufactured by the means of measurement). Tests used for chimps are simply applied to humans, and the results are superficially the same, just as the vocal tracts look similar but behave very differently.
In the chimp, the "primary unity" of the "reflex arc" is still intact. But in humans, the use of signs allows a "functional barrier", like a damn, to prevent the child's attention to be drained off immediately into reactive activity (e.g. revenge rather than judgement).
Then they say this:
"Последние, являющиеся в аспекте филогенеза продуктом не биологической эволюции поведения, а исторического развития человеческой личности, в аспекте онтогенеза также имеют свою особую историю развития, тесно связанную с биологическим формированием, но не совпадающую с ним и образующую наряду с ним вторую линию психического развития ребенка.
Now, the version in the Collected Works (Vol. 6, p. 33) says "(T)hese functions also have their own special devleopmental history closely connected with biological formation but not coinciding with it or with the second line of mental development of the child that is formed together with it."
Got that? There are THREE lines of development: the biological, the socio-cultural, and the psychological.
But the English version that Mike got from Luria in Moscow back in the seventies is a little different. It has this:
"These functions which, from the point of view of phylogenesis, are not products of the biological evolution of behaviour but of the historical development of the human personality, possess also, from the point of view of ontogenesis, their own particular history of development, closely connected with its biological formation but not coinciding with it and forming along with it a second line of the child’s psychological development."
So here there are only TWO lines of development. I gather, from my limited Russian, that the latter version is correct. But I am ready--even eagerly waiting--to be corrected!
Seoul National University of Education
n Wed, 6/22/11, Monica Hansen <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
From: Monica Hansen <email@example.com>
Subject: RE: [xmca] hardwired for morality?
To: "'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity'" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wednesday, June 22, 2011, 9:03 PM
While Churchland may be focusing on the "biological platform", her argument
seems to support concepts like Mike's prolepsis. Her statement "hardware and
software are intertwined" reads more to me like "learning and development
are intertwined". Her approach to biology and culture may be dialectical. I
have read more of Paul Churchland's work (Neurophilosophy at Work), but your
comment caught my attention and now I will have to check my assumptions. I
have to agree with Patricia in that the stuff of thinking can't happen
without the physiology of the body.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On
Behalf Of Peter Smagorinsky
Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 5:28 AM
To: 'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity'
Subject: [xmca] hardwired for morality?
I got this link in my mailbox
An excerpt: "For people familiar with Churchland's work over the past four
decades, her desire to bring the brain into the discussion will come as no
surprise: She has long made the case that philosophers must take account of
neuroscience in their investigations. While Churchland's intellectual
opponents over the years have suggested that you can understand the
"software" of thinking, independently of the "hardware"-the brain structure
and neuronal firings-that produced it, she has responded that this metaphor
doesn't work with the brain: Hardware and software are intertwined to such
an extent that all philosophy must be "neurophilosophy." There's no other
way. Churchland, professor emerita of philosophy at the University of
California at San Diego, has been best known for her work on the nature of
consciousness. But now, with a new book, Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells
Us About Morality (Princeton University Press), she is taking her
perspective into fresh terrain: ethics. And the story she tells about
morality is, as you'd expect, heavily biological, emphasizing the role of
the peptide oxytocin, as well as related neurochemicals."
So, Mike and other UCSD-ers, are you familiar with Churchland? Seems she
never made it over to LCHC, where I suspect that she'd find people that
nurture matters as well as nature, and probably more. Vygotsky takes this
issue up in Vol. 2 of the Collected Works on Defectology. One example:
"While the earlier term moral insanity implied an incurable condition,
transferring these children into a different environment often shows that we
are dealing with a particularly keen sensitivity and that the deadening this
sensitivity is a means of self defense, of closing oneself off, and of
surrounding oneself with a biological defensive armor against environmental
conditions. In a new environment, such children display completely different
characteristics. Such results occur when children's characteristics and
activities are examined not in isolation, but in their relation to the
whole, in the dynamics of their development" (p. 38; emphasis in original)
I guess the nature/nurture dispute isn't going away any time soon. p
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