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Re: [xmca] Peter Smagorinsky on concepts

On 17 January 2012 04:19, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> 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.

Did you mean to say that, Andy?  Hold a concept?

What is it that does the holding?  I would call this the thinking process.

> 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.

Seems fine to me, apart from 'book knowledge' which needs more pinning down.


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).
> Andy
>> Huw
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