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Re: [xmca] Help? - Microgenesis, Microgenetic, Microgeny?

David, as you know, I take Vygotsky as a Marxist-Hegelian. I would go so far as to say that he is the most important interpreter of Hegel of his time (i.e., including Lukacs). My observation that he never read Hegel is simply an empirical one. If those annotations on the Pheneomenology do eventually turn up in the family archives I will happily concede. I know that you were around a different Trotskyist group than I was in those days, David, but in my group we ALL read Lenin's Philosophical Notebooks, asiduously, and could quote chapter and verse from them. We also all read Dialectics of Nature and Anti-Duhring, all the books Vyvgotky cites. I am the only member of that group apart from a handful of "designated Party intellectuals" (the Deborins of our group) who actually read the Science of Logic. I kept this fact secret at the time because I knew that if it became known that I was reading Hegel (rather than Lenin's annotations) I would be regarded as "dangerous". All the passages Vygotsky cites barring one or two I immediately recognise from one of the books by Lenin, Marx or Engels. Mao is the same. "On Practice" for example, never cites Hegel directly, but repeatedly cites Lenin citing Hegel. Lenin, PLekhanov, Deborin, Lukacs, Lewin all read Hegel. No doubt. There was no shortage of Russian Hegelians for Vygotsky to learn off.

It is nothing to do with Vygotsky's Hegel credentials, which are impeccable. I find it an interesting historical fact, that's all. Also, Lenin read the History of Philosophy, the Shorter and Larger Logic by Hegel and annotations of his reading were published in Russian in Vygotsky's day. But Lenin never left any annotations on the Phenomenology. Unsurprising to me. Kojeve was only 13 and Sartre was only 10, when Lenin was reading Hegel. There were Russian translations of the PhG available in Vygotsky's day, and I think people like Shpet probably were reading it, but not the Marxists.

But I quite open to being persuaded otherwise, this is not a matter of principle for me. The only matter of principle is the use of evidence in historiography.


kellogg wrote:

b) Andy insists that Vygotsky never read Hegel. Why would he not read Hegel? Almost everybody else in his generation did (Spet, Volosinov, Mevedev, even Bakhtin who hardly ever read anything). To me, the way Vygotsky re-interpreted the Ach experiments is simply a working out of the categories we find in the Logic on the basis of Sakharov's data.

Vygotsky was fully literate in German from his mother. We know that in Thinking and Speech Chapter Two he is reading Lenin's Philosophical Notebooks, in whch Lenin remarks that one cannot understand the first volume of Capital without reading the whole of Hegel's "Logic". The Philosophical Notebooks are, largely, Lenin's marginal notes to Hegel's Logic. We know that Vygotsky wanted to understand and assimilate the whole of Marx's method in Capital. Why would Vygotsky read the marginal notes and not the actual Logic? (See also Vygotsky's discussion of ways of translating Hegel iinto Russian on p. 81 of Vol. 4, Andy!)

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