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[xmca] Missing Negation?
I'm translating Chapter Three of Tool and Sign, and I find it quite unnerving. On the one hand, it appears, to be little more than a restatement of the end of the previous chapter, sometimes word for word (e.g. "We stand before a conclusion of enormous theoretical importance"). And on the other hand, we really DO stand before a conclusion of enormous theoretical importance,
This is, I think, the very first explicit formulation of the genetic law, to the effect that each and every psychological function appears in the process of cultural development twice: once as an inter-psychological (that is, interpersonal. And therefore social, and therefore cultural-historical) category and then again as an intra-psychological (that is, an inter-functional, and therefore internal, So it seems entirely appropriate to tell each leg and each foot separately exactly:where we stand.
In fact, when we read it more closely, we see that what appears to be redundancy is really just generalization and abstraction: Vygotsky and Luria arrive at the genetic law by:
a) generalizing their previous observation that what appears to be speechless thinking at the beginning of development and at the end of development can nevertheless be shown to be brought about, in its mature form, through speech.
b) generalizing their previous finding the symbolic activity such as speech cannot be explained either through invention or through habit formation, or indeed through any purely individually based function, either purely biological or purely psychological, but only through the interpersonal, social, and therefore historico-cultural formation of the personality.
c) generalizing their previous finding that the basic finding that lower forms of perception empirically investigated in the previous chapter (viz. perception, attention, and memory) are not really connected, either to each other or to the corresponding higher forms. But paradoxically, the higher forms ARE connected, both to each other and to the lower forms, which continue to participate in a kind of segmentary, subordinate manner in their operation.
And the way they generalize is by using counting and calculation as an example, because that's really as far as they can get form speech. In fact the stuff on counting is the ONLY new empirical material in this WHOLE chapter. So right in the middle of Chapter Three, the eighteenth of 26 paragraphs, Vygotsky and Luria start talking about counting. And they say:
Мы приходим к выводу, что развитие счета сводится к участию в нем основных психических функций, переход от дошкольной арифметики к школьной не есть простой, непрерывный процесс, но процесс преодоления первичных элементарных закономерностей и замены их новыми, более сложными. Покажем это на конкретном примере.
Now, I take this to mean:
"We come to the conclusion that the development of counting can (NOT--DK?) be reduced to the participation in it of basic psychological functions, and the transition from pre-school arithmetic to school arithmetic is not a simple, continuous process, but one of overcoming primary elementary patterns and replacing them with new and more complex ones. Let us show this with a concrete example."
I know, I know. There isn't a "not" there. But there should be, shouldn't there?
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
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