It seems to me that walking, unlike biking, qualifies PERFECTLY as a Central Line of Development, and the abandonment of crawling for walking is a neoformation, one of the most important milestones of the Crisis at One.
Scripture first: On p. 243 of Volume 5, Child Development, Vygotsky is talking about the moments of the crisis at one (the crisis of "autonomous speech", the discovery by the child that everybody has been talking behind her back right to her face). He says:
"Establishment of walking is the first moment in the content of this crisis."
That struck me very forcefully back when you and Andy and I were discussing this manuscript in 2009. The reason is that we often find Vygotsky looking for natural (and therefore necessarily non-verbal) roots to verbal activity. For example, in Chapter Eight of HDHMF (which I am now quite certain was NOT called that) he speaks of play and drawing as the natural history of written speech, and at the end of Chapter Five of the same book he argues that sight recognition of "more" and "less" is the source of numeracy. In every case, there is some practical activity partially shared with animals that forms the biomechanical basis of a function, which distinguishes itself first by social control and then by individual control.
That was why I argued that we should look for THREE different lines of activity rather than one, and I suggested material action, mental action and verbal action (because...well, to tell you the truth, because that is how Tibetan divides up activity, and in the 1980s and 1990s I was spending quite a bit of time travelling around Tibet trying to learn the language; material, mental and verbal action turned out to be a good way into Tibetan grammar). But of course in the early years the material line of activity is going to dominate (that is, be a "central" as opposed to a peripheral line of development), later on there is a verbal dominant, and finally the dominant is mental activity (adolescence and concept formation),
The problem is that bike riding comes too late, and it's not linked to any development in the means of development itself (what we used to call "les industries industrialisants" back in Algeria). Walking, on the other hand, comes early, right smack in the middle of the dominance of material activity (prior to the ascent of verbal activity). And, as Andy pointed out at the time, it's a revolutionary, exponential increase in the child's radius of subjectivity.
When we look at Vygotsky's criteria, we see that walking, but not biking, is an almost canonical neoformation.
a) It does not alter the substratum: the child can and does still crawl.
b) It involves internal change--I don't have to elaborate, Cole and Cole are very eloquent on precisely this point.
c) It is very clearly stage dependent: it is built upon an internal stage of toddling and it is the harbinger of activities like running.
d) It is absolutely nonlinear in its forms of development, and for a very long time it is nowhere near as efficient as the one that it functionally replaces.
It's also quite dangerous. For that reason I think toddling and walking must be:
a) A spandrel--it's something that "just happens", the way that the spandrels of San Marco, male nipples and the panda's thumb "just happen" (Gould and Vrba)
b) A secondary function which motivates it before the latent main function kicks in (the child must see it as a form of play or imitiation before the child realizes its utility as locomotion).
c) A very heavy environmental support which is, ultimately, cutlural in nature.
And all of these things, it seems to me, are even more true of autonomous speech and form the "inner link" between toddling and babbling.
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
PS: Andy--try Googling Hoffding. You'll see that the passage on p. 81 is actually more indebted to Hoffding than to Vygotsky's reading of the Philosophical Notebooks. But of course you are right; he did read the Philosophical Notebooks, and therefore it's quite unthinkable that he didn't read the Logic.
(Remember--I was only in the Spartacus Youth League, and then for only a little over a year. My own philosophical formation came in Algeria and Tunisia, with the Parti de l'avant garde socialiste. They were hardly Trotskyists!)
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