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Re: [xmca] Units as Objective Divisions

As usual, forgot the attachment:


2012/3/31 mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>

> Very thought provoking to me at this moment, David. There is a treatment
> of Basov by Valsiner in his book on Soviet Developmental psychology, and I
> found this link on Renee's great site, to Basov's work.
> My particular interest here is connected to the idea of functional organs,
> where, it seems, the same kinds of issues arise.
> mike
> On Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 5:26 PM, David Kellogg <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com>wrote:
>> I just read this, the ninth paragraph of the third chapter of Vygotsky's
>> 1931 manuscript, "The History of the Development of the Higher
>> Psychological Functions".
>> Нам представляется необходимым рассмотреть несколько ближе новую форму
>> психологического анализа, дальнейшим развитием которой и является
>> применяемый нами способ исследования. Басов выделяет реальные, объективные
>> элементы, из которых состоит данный процесс, и уже затем дифференцирует их.
>> Он представляет себе эти явления самобытными, имеющими самостоятельное
>> существование, но он ищет их составляющие части, с тем, однако, чтобы
>> каждая из частей сохранила свойства целого. Так, при анализе воды молекула
>> Н2О будет объективно
>>  реальным элементом воды, хотя и бесконечно малым по величине, но
>> гомогенным по составу. Поэтому частицы воды должны, согласно этому
>> расчленению, считаться существенными элементами рассматриваемого
>> образования.
>> (It seems necessary for us to look a little more closely at this new form
>> of psychological analysis, a further development of which is the method we
>> have used in our own study. Basov identifies real, objective elements that
>> make up this process and only then differentiates them. He sees these
>> phenomena as distinct, having an independent existence, but he is looking
>> for their components, however, only in so far as each part retains the
>> properties of the whole. Thus in the analysis of water, the molecule H2O is
>> an objectively real element of water, infinitely small in magnitude but
>> homogeneous in composition. Therefore the particles of water must,
>> according to this disarticulation, be considered essential elements of the
>> formation in question.)
>> Here Vygotsky introduces the "analysis into units" idea that he would
>> later develop in Chapter One of Thinking and Speech. So Minick (and also
>> David Kellogg 2010) are wrong when they insist that this idea belongs to
>> late Vygotsky (after 1932).
>> However, there are some important differences.
>> 1.     In his later work, Vygotsky distinguishes between 'units' and
>> 'elements'. He makes no such distinction here: the Russian word he uses is
>> элементы 'elements'.
>> 2.     In his later work, Vygotsky distinguishes between 'analysis' and
>> 'generalization'. He explicitly denies that the molecule as such is a unit
>> of analysis; it is merely a unit of generalization, belonging to all forms
>> of water equally regardless of the specific properties of the water (solid,
>> liquid) or the specific tasks of the analyst (explaining the extinction of
>> fire). He makes no such distinction here
>> 3.     He stipulates that this unit is homogeneous in composition. This
>> seems to preclude development, at least it precludes development in the
>> unit of analysis. But word meaning is a unit of analysis for the phenomenon
>> of verbal thinking, and word meaning certainly is not diachronically or
>> even synchronically homogeneous in composition.
>> Now, what does Vygotsky intend by "objectively real element"? He means
>> that it has to exist by itself in some form; it is not simply created by
>> the process of analysis itself. For example, a quantity of water in a
>> laboratory is really created by the process of gathering water itself. But
>> the molecule is an objective unit, that exists independently of how we
>> measure water.
>> Similarly, the sentence unit cannot actually be discerned unless you know
>> the grammar of a language, but the turn, the stretch of language produced
>> between two changes of speaker in a conversation, is an objectively real
>> unit, which you can discern even without knowing the language in question.
>> The turn is an objectively real unit in a way that a sentence is not.
>> It seems to me that this is really the crucial distinction that underlies
>> all the other distinctions: late Vygotsky accepts that there really are no
>> such 'objectively real' units that are independent of the task of the
>> analyst. The molecule, for example, is an element and not a unit for most
>> of the practical work that man has to do with water. Similarly, the turn is
>> objectively real but so general that it lacks a lot of explanatory power in
>> my own work.
>> But apparently Basov did believe in the unit as an absolutely objective,
>> self-similar and self-identical, universal unit and he even based the whole
>> idea of 'activity' thereupon.
>> David Kellogg
>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
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