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[Xmca-l] Re: Intonation and Gesture


And here's the hook.

McNeill says in a footnote on p. 100 of "Gesture and Thought", 2005.

"Vygotsky's concept of mediated cognition, in which the sign serves as
a 'cognitive tool', inserts a step of manipulation and resource
exploitation into the linkage of speeh to thought. This residual of
behaviorist thinking, I believe, can be and in this work is
dissociated from other indispensable Vygotskian concepts--dialectic,
verbal thought, the minimal psychological unit, and the separation of
functions between the social and individual planes."

And..disassociate it he does. The "Growth Point" assumes predicative
verbal thinking and then "expands" it: no mediated cognition, and no
zone of proximal development--because no development! It's essentially
a pre-formist mode, which he calls the "H-model".The "H-model", which
is actually named after Heidegger, is based on the idea that signs
merely point out the context of shared practical activity:

"A sign signifies only for those who 'dwell' in that context. In this
we can recognize a receipe for a dialectic: sign and image are
inseparable and jointly form a conttext to dwell in; the two combined
to create the possibility of shared states of cognitive being. This
description brings the GP ("growth point"--DK) and the social Other
together as joint inhabitants of the context (and it is the speaker
who always is the one dwelling there the best). The communication
process is then getting the Other to dwell there too. Heidegger spoke
of language as the house of being, just as Merleau Ponty spoke of
inhabiting it. (p. 100)".

Now, McNeill doesn't actually cite much Heidegger--where you do get
page numbers, they are to somebody called Dreyfus, who apparently read
Heidegger once. McNeill says that the "H-model" itself was inspired by
a lecture he went to in 1995 and an e-mail discussion he had. But when
I read my miniscule one volume of Heidegger's "Basic Writings" (Harper
1977), it seems to me that Heidegger is essentially a pre-formist.

"Technology is no mere means. Technology is a way of revealing. If we
give heed to this, then another whole realm for the essence of
technology will open itself up to use. It is the realm of revealing,
i.e. of truth." (The Question Concerning Technology, p. 318)

Heidegger begins his essay on language like this:

"Thus we are within language, at home in language, prior to everything
else. A way to it is superfluous. Moreover, the way to language is
impossible, if indeed we are already at the place to which it is
supposed to lead us." (The Way to Language, p. 398).

 It's true that he then goes on to show that we are not quite there.
But his way of getting us there isn't developmental at all--no
mediation, no internalization, and of course no development of word
meaning. As he puts it: "To bring language as language to language".

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

On 10 April 2014 07:49, Martin John Packer <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co> wrote:
> Okay David, I will swallow the bait!  Why does a Heideggerian Vygotskian necessarily reject the concept of mediation?
> And (my followup question), why would a Vygotskian Vygotskian maintain that the means of mediation disappears with its internalization?
> cheers
> Martin
> On Apr 9, 2014, at 4:38 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
>> McNeill is a Heideggerian Vygotskyan (see his discussion of his "H
>> Model" in "Gesture and Thought", p. 101). This means, necessarily,
>> that he rejects the concept of mediation, and with it the whole idea
>> that the means of mediation disappears with its
>> decontextualization/internalization.