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Re: [xmca] Vygotsky, Leontiev and Luria

Hello David,

I am curious about your own thoughts on this paraphrase of Vygotsky/Luria

>  Vygotsky and Luria, with somewhat different emphases, are all about
> inserting sociogenesis into the middle: development MUST mean that the
> principle which explained change on one timescale cannot be the same as the
> principle which explains change at another.
 and what "the principle" might stand for?

In biology, natural selection is proposed as a (one, the) unifying
principle, and it can be used to argue that, for example, "the same"
mechanisms that select for complex predatory behavior in lion prides are
"the same" as those that select predatory behavior in oceanic zooplankton.
I always find myself reacting to this line of reasoning with a yes/no
echo running through my thoughts.  Yes, as long as one grants that DNA and
behavior are linked, and these are linked with an organism's ecology, so
that (informed in this way) one goes about looking for "fitness" and
explanations for differential reproductive success.  But this, while true,
is informative only so much.  Zooplankton and lions exhibit very different
predatory (and a range of other) behavior in complex couplings with their
respective ecologies, a lot of which can even be considered "cultural". So,
no, "the principle" of natural selection doesn't provide much to go on
for lion and zooplankton fans respectively once nuance and specificity is at

Philo, Onto, Zooplankton-o, Lion-o, and many other geneses *can* be thought
of together without any contradictory tension, in many different ways.  For
example, one might look at these as "complex systems" and wonder about
similarities between them in these terms, or perhaps consider them all
different kinds of "living things" and ask about their reproductive,
specialization, and differentiation qualities.  And so on...

But, of course, these geneses obviously, also, *cannot* be thought of
together without experiencing contradictory tension (in my opinion)--the
specific differences are too vast.

So, I guess what I'm asking is whether "development" and a statement like
"the principle which explains" can ever be made to be happy with each other
--"in principle" so to speak?  For me, this can be only if one either
ascends so far above specifics that Paris and Rome "look the same" (which is
a very happy truth, specially for, say, google map algorithms), or one ends
up saying so general a thing (like we're all made of matter) that, while
true, the statement doesn't say much.

Marx had "the principle" of human history, and, as I understand it, Vygotsky
says this one can't be the same as "the principle" for ontogenesis,
since the latter is a complex  articulation of bio and
historical time-scales between which, if I understand your remark correctly,
"sociogenesis" functions in a coupling manner.  But I hear the same echos
running through my thoughts.. yes and no (with a lot of respect for both
instances).  Depends what we're talking about and how much is at stake vis a
vis nuance and specificity.

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