I fear this does not help me a whole lot, Andy.
Sorry I cannot grasp the method of Goethe properly. I guess Luria
as well. Or maybe he succeeded and I have misunderstood him? Entirely
I did not ask what what is at odds. I asked for what the empirical
consequences of the the distinctions you are making are. I cannot
follow the path to reforming all of the educational system of the USSR
or Russia, which, so far as I know, neither
Vygotsky nor anyone else associated with Activity Theory every
accomplished. Nore have I ever seen claims that they have. (The Finns
appear to have done well recently using an approach, the relationship
to activity theory I have no knowledge of, but perhaps our Finnish
Here is what would help me, and I suspect others on XMCA. Take an
already published piece of work that uses the expanded triangle Yrjo
proposes in Learning by Expanding. Say, the work on cleaners in the
early work. Tell us about the mistaken conclusions that arise because
of misunderstandings that confusion of the triangle for "activity" (no
modifiers) causes. Suggest how we might improve our
understanding. Or tell us why that example works, but some other
example (teachers in schools, nurses and doctors in a hospital, etc.)
Or suggest an entirely different way of looking at matters so that
when we go into
classrooms, housing projects, work places, we can more effectively
understand what is going on and be of more help to those with whom we
work that publishing another article in MCA.
I guess I am asking that you rise to the concrete here, keeping the
object of analysis constant.
My apologies if this seems unreasonable. Perhaps it is approaching
I am failing to track you.
Lost in the words here.
On Sun, Jun 16, 2013 at 6:57 PM, Andy Blunden <email@example.com
Yes, in Yjro's (1986) words, it is a "root model". (The derivation
of it is a beautiful piece of work, too, close to Hegel's early
"System of Ethical Life". Deserves to remain in print).
But modelling a complex process is not the same as the method of
Goethe, Hegel, Marx and Vygotsky. As you know, Mike, in order to
understand this approach, which Luria called Romantic Science, I
had to go back to its origins c. 1787 when Goethe was doing his
Journey in Italy, studying all the plant life, and its variation
by altitude, latittude, nearness to the sea, etc., and in
conversation with J G Herder, arrived a his conception of
Urphaenomen. The Urphaenomen is not a model.
It is an abstraction, true. And yes, the understanding of a
complex process by the "romantic" method is indeed, the rising to
the concrete, the logical-historical reconstruction of the whole
process from this abstract germ.
As I remarked (somewhere) I find Yrjo's work over the past couple
of years, which focuses more on the germ cell than the triangle,
closer to what I am trying to do. The germ cell is not a model either.
What is at odds here is whether a real, complex situation (such as
reforming the education system in a nation in Africa, rather than
in the USSR or Finland) can be based on a conception which
isolates a "system of activity", whilst dozens of different
ethnic groups, NGOs, government(s), trade unions and so on, are
all contesting the aims and benefits of "education." Every person
in such a situation is committed to more than one project, and
deploys concepts (institutionalised projects) frequently at odds
with one another. What is needed is a process whose basic units
are (1) units and not systems, and (2) processes of development,
processes in which people are struggling to realise ideas,
processes of formation. And we need the algebra through which such
units interact with one another, rather than declaring any single
such interaction to be an entire new "unit" - i.e. coupled systems.
mike cole wrote:
Isn't the trangle a "model, " Andy? A model of the root
metaphor. Still an abstraction... waiting to see if it can
rise to the concrete? Perhaps?
Empirically speaking, what is at odds here? For whom?