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Re: [xmca] Peter Smagorinsky on concepts

Huw Lloyd wrote:
My interpretation is that equating thought (the business of thinking) or a thought (singular consideration) and concept is a form of metonymy -- perfectly adequate in most circumstances. I would say that the thought (in this form, if the talk is regarding logical material) is making use of a (scientific) concept, or more likely many (scientific) concepts, in a similar way to how I can behold a scene and describe it. I am happy equating "The thought" with a conception, idea, a conceiving, or even 'my concept' (short for my conception), but not a (scientific) concept. If we were to call 'a thought' 'a scientific concept' it would seem, to me, to be an incredible fudge.

I can't agree, Huw. To do justice to explaining a scientific or any actual (developed) concept would always require holding that concept in mind for a protracted period of time. Of course, if you just presented a definition, that would be over in a sentence, but a definition marks only the beginning of the process of development of
   a true concept.

It's been a while since reading T&S etc. Does Vygotsky talk about concepts that are not scientific concepts, that would lead you to believe that his use of the term 'concept' is referring to anything other than a scientific concept?

The main thing, in my view, is that Vygotsky is not an empiricist. He does not analyse objects and list their properties. Vygotsky deals (1) with /lines of development/ and (2) /ideal types/. Any actual concept (whether scientific or religious or everyday) is a process, not an entity, and its process includes both the ideal type
   of a true concept and the ideal type of an everyday concept.
   Otherwise it is a poor concept. He takes not only scientific
concepts as the ideal type for a "true" concept, but a concepts of /Marxist social science/. Such concepts are the most pure of the type of true concept, inasmuch as they can begin only from book knowledge. Piaget took as his ideal type the concepts of physics. But these are not pure scientific concepts because they contain an element of development via sensorimotor practical experience, prior to scientific development. The scientific concept is /essentially/ book knowledge /alone/. Further, there are many types of true concept, not only scientific - eg the concepts of the Orthodox Christian Church, soccer, Astrology, etc., but Vygotsky was not an empiricist. Like Pavlov, he chose to investigate just one type of relation, confident that by so doing he would unlock the key to all concepts. Most important to know is that Vyvgotsky did not believe that concepts were /things /which could be categorised into this or that type (pseudoconcepts). His program was to investigate the
   various ideal types of development of (all) actual concepts.

BTW, in accord with Peter, my thinking on these lines has all come from personal (auto-didactic) understanding and consideration. Much of Vygtosky resonated (and still resonates) with my appreciation of these different problems, but I do not go to the texts as the source. I think this helps with the fact that I am, to date, only competent with English literature, for I'm always reading between the lines and reflecting on my understanding which frees me, a little, from the vagaries of translation.

From one audo-didact psychologist to another (most of us on xmca are).



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