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RE: [xmca] The Frail Chain

It certainly helps Andy at least for me:) A bright overview of how different conceptual paradigms drawn and sustain their own meanings and their own culture and of course their own language, provided as a more constructive way to see social constructivism, focusing more to the different psycho therapeutic approaches but not only, i found it to be the book of Kenneth J. Kergen call (Therapeutic Realities: Collaboration, Oppression and Relational Flow).


-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu on behalf of Andy Blunden
Sent: Thu 8/9/2012 1:31 PM
To: lchcmike@gmail.com; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] The Frail Chain
I have found, in the course of advocating for the idea that CHAT is part of the tradition of Romantic Science, that antipathy to this view comes mainly from those who value Kant most highly, and/or want to retain Hegel in combination with Kant. Romantic Science was a reaction against the Enlightenment, and for these people, it remains a reactionary current of thought. As I see it, Romantic Science was a reaction against the elements of Kant which were anti-humanist. In particular, universalism in his conception of the human being, and his readiness to break the individual up into distinct faculties. But to Kantians, the negation of Kantian universalism is an attack on universal human rights in favour of particularism, and leads to nationalism, racism, etc., etc. In this respect, I found that in trying to get my article on Goethe and Hegel published in German translation, I had to cut out the section on Herder because the mere mention of Herder produced such a negative reaction from Marxists in Germany! This has a similar basis: people see Herder's interest in the roots of human life in particularity as a step along the road to Hitler. In addition to this, people who have a positivist and mainstream conception of scientific practice take "Romantic Science" to be utterly non-serious. Goethe himself suffered this verdict in his own day.

Hope that helps.


mike cole wrote: 

	Hi Larry-
	People have different ways of trying to combine insights associated with
	Vygotsky et al that we call CHAT.
	So I guess I don't really want to discuss is CHAT a Romantic science. Andy
	has done a ton of work tracing
	back lineages of Romantic science. A pretty long and diverse lineage.
	I specifically do not want to grant David's comment that "an even more
	important reason to reject the epithet of romantic science is that it
	assumes a very ahistorical and non-dialectical opposition between
	romanticism and enlightenment.
	I do not interpret Luria this way, so entering the discussion on that basis
	just doesn't attract me. Who among us would start out with that premise?
	Not David, not me. So, for me the discussion is to explore the varieties
	and choices and what we, ourselves, are seeking to do in our work/lives.
	Luria and Vygotsky spoke of will.self control as learning to control
	oneself from the outside. They sided with many who declare that "in the
	beginning is the deed."  When you put those ideas together, how are they
	contradicted by
	I was serious when I said that the quotation from Marx seemed apropriate.
	Luria was a clinician AND an experimentalist, often with the same
	individuals. In at least two famous cases, he interacted with individuals
	over decades. His version of Romantic Science was decidedly BOTH/AND not
	either/or and the crucible of
	practice was where the two, historically intertwined work views reveal
	I think David engages in this form of science, too. You see it in his
	ability to bring his academic knowledge of
	language, thought, and development to the practice of teaching as a second
	language. In another way he
	does it in his finest examples for great works of art and their analysis
	through Vygotskian thought.
	I am simply intellectually incapable of now adding more voices into the
	discussion without reaching some
	understanding of our presumed common starting points, to the extent to
	which such exist! (Which is one of
	the issues we struggle with always on xmca!).
	I beg you pardon for asking you to pause before moving on. I feel on too
	unsure  a footing to follow at the moment.
	On Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 7:24 AM, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> <mailto:lpscholar2@gmail.com>  wrote:

		Good morning Mike and David
		THIS topic:  Is CHAT a Romantic science?
		 seems central to explorations of the yearning and desire to transform the
		world.  David , your sharing Hazlitt's insight that volition and will are
		not retrospective, or focused on the present, but rather oriented to
		anticipating how to act in the future seems to be a wonderful temporal
		dimension to explore.
		Another way IN to this topic is your comment,
		 It seems to me that an even more important reason to reject the epithet
		of romantic science is that it assumes a very ahistorical and
		non-dialectical opposition between romanticism and enlightenment.
		So, I would like to propose that "seeing through" THIS tension [or way of
		reading] the historical movement BETWEEN romanticism and enlightenment IS
		the narrative to explore.
		An analogy to Freud and Jung's ongoing conversation about dreams and where
		they come from and their function may be relevant to this topic as a way to
		show a dialectic within psychology as an expression of psyche.
		Freud saw dreams as retrospective, memory traces, expressing the infantile
		wishfulfillment at the heart of the unconscious. Jung saw dreams as having
		a teleological function calling us into the future.
		Now both Freud and Jung constructed autobiographical myths where they
		positioned themselves as the protaganosists who were DISCOVERING this new
		realm of the unconscious.  In fact, this conversation had been
		EXPLICITLY developing for at least a century as a RESPONSE within German
		Romanticism to the enlightenment yearnings for certainty. For example
		dreams as PROSPECTIVE and prophetic was a key notion of German
		Romanticism. These ideas were being developed and extended by authors such
		as Flourney as a deepening conversation between the enlightenment and
		German Romanticism.  However, in the egocentric yearning for recognition of
		"I"  as the author of a discovery, the HISTORICAL conversation BETWEEN
		Romanticism and enlightenment impulses [as the location of the development
		of the narrative] becomes lost.
		I wonder if this same tendency may be at play in the ongoing conversation
		in CHAT exploring the creative imagination and instrumental orientations?
		One further aside. Dreams and play were also being explored at this
		time for the common functions expressed in rehearsing the NEXT steps in the
		developmental process within dreams and play as analogus impulses.
		While I'm here, I want to add an insight from Zygmunt Bauman's notions of
		solid and liquid modernity in his discussion of Freud's book *Freiheit and
		Sicherheit* [translated as Freedom and Security].
		Bauman calls our attention to an error in translation of this title as
		"sicherheit" is a much more complex term than "security" and expresses the
		UNITY of three English terms that are seen as autonomous concepts.
		Sicherheit as a notion expresses the UNITY of the terms security &
		certainty & safety which are viewed as autonomous concepts in English.
		Bauman suggests as we read Freud's writing we see he was exploring the
		themes of freedom [romantic notion] and sicherheit [security, certainty,
		and safety as enlightenment orientations].
		Bauman's key idea is that historically we are in transition from a time of
		solid modernity to what he terms liquid modernity.  Freud was writing at a
		time of solid modernity when the quest for sicherheit as ORDER and
		NORMS made the yearning for freedom vulnerable. Today, in times of liquid
		modernity, the trade off is now reversed. Individual freedom is in the
		ascendence but the prime consequence is the fragility of sicherheit AS
		Bauman writes,
		"In liquid modernity the dearth of risk-free CHOICES and the growing
		unclarity of the game-rules which render most of the moves and above all
		the outcomes of the moves - which rebound as perceptions of threat to
		SAFETY - first the safety of the body and then the safety of property -
		that space-body extension. The withdrawal into the SAFE haven of
		territoriality is an intense, desiring temptation - and so the DEFENSE of
		the SAFE home becomes the passkey to all doors which one feels must be
		locked up and sealed off to stave off the TRIPLE threat to SPIRITUAL and
		MATERIAL sicherheit" [Bauman, "social Issues of Law and Order" in The
		British Journal of Criminology, 2000, v.40, p205-221]
		Bauman's exploring the yearning for law and order as SAFETY would explain
		the tea party movement, etc. which he suggests is a GENERAL  response to
		liquid modernity and its deep bias towards individual freedom. For Bauman,
		this pursuit of a romantic ideal has consequences of increased
		vulnerability to sicherheit.  [which is displaced into the pursuit of
		SAFETY because security and certainty are existential human  yearnings
		but governments can respond to safety concerns
		Mike, David, I hope the invitation to explore the hermeneutical historical
		conversation BETWEEN romantic and enlightenment will generate further
		responses. Opening this theme as a generative conversation within our
		Western history may make explicit the tension between freedom [romantic
		ideal] and sicherheit [enlightenment ideal] that is in play in our searches
		and researches
		On Tue, Aug 7, 2012 at 6:30 PM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> <mailto:lchcmike@gmail.com>  wrote:

			Well it turns out that my prior message is relevant to this one from
			David - Kind of you to remind us that rust we must and thanks very much
			the Hazlitt.
			I really do not like the notion of Romantic Science  as you characterize
			it. Theme for a longer discussion.
			And thanks for that too!!
			On Tue, Aug 7, 2012 at 5:26 PM, kellogg <kellogg59@hanmail.net> <mailto:kellogg59@hanmail.net>  wrote:

				  First of all, many congratulations to Mike on becoming a robust and
				even somewhat rusty link in the delicate chain of development. May

			there be

				many more.
				I think Virginia Woolf once said that the First World War was, on a
				microgenetic level, kept going by millions of minuscule failures of
				imagination, for otherwise it were impossible, knowing what another
				person's life must mean to him, to take it away. I have been thinking of
				this in the context of a wonderful essay by William Hazlitt which I have
				always loved (yes, that is the exactly the right word).


				Hazlitt wants to construct a theory of human action to disprove the
				Smith/Hume odel based on rational self-interest. He does this rather
				deftly, by demonstrating that neither the past nor the present can be


				object of human will (since human will can alter neither) and therefore


				volition can only be future directed.
				But the future of the "self", whatever that may turn out to be, is no


				real to rational self-interest than the future of some other person,

			and in

				fact is considerably less so, because other persons are a very tangible
				presence in the present. All volition, whether directed to the self or


				the fellow man, is based on imagination, and a strictly rational
				imagination is hardly anything more than perception, which he has


				demonstrated can be no basis for human action (since the objects


				to perception are in the present).
				I have always resisted identifying Vygotsky with "romantic science"
				(although I know that was Luria's phrase), and not just for the obvious
				reason that Vygotsky had a holy horror for the cult of the individual,


				for sentimentality, and for the gothic, and in many ways was a true


				of Spinoza and he enlightenment. It seems to me that an even more


				reason to reject the epithet of romantic science is that it assumes a


				ahistorical and non-dialectical opposition between romanticism and
				But if there is a frail, romantic link in our clanking chain, here it


				Andy points out that activity theory has suffered a lot from an


				(that is an instrumental, object oriented) bent, ever since the days


				Leontiev declared that motivation is little more than backwash from an
				object. Here's the antidote!
				David Kellogg
				Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
				<kellogg59@hanmail.net> <mailto:kellogg59@hanmail.net> 
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*Andy Blunden* 
Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/ 
Book: http://www.brill.nl/concepts

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