[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Xmca-l] Re: LSV on language as a model of development

Yes, that's why I am apologising.
Let's just let the discussion unfold and see if a consensus can be reached.

*Andy Blunden*

mike cole wrote:
Well, we can take heart from the fact that at least one of us humans knows the right concepts to go with the right words, Andy!

On Sat, Jul 5, 2014 at 6:00 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    I fully accept that there is as much confusion among Russians as
    there is amongst English-speakers and anyone else, Mike. The
    reason is that it is not just a matter of having the right word,
    but of having the concept indicated by the word! :)
    "Unit of analysis" - introduced for the first time in Chapter 1 of
    "Thinking and Speech" is both a longstanding concept of social
    science, understood by philosophers of science pretty well, and a
    new name for the Hegelian concept of "abstract concept," the first
    category of Volume Two of the Science of Logic. Goethe was the
    first to introduce the idea in the form of Urphanomen, Hegel then
    developed this to a high degree, and Marx took it up in writing
    Capital, and that's where Vygotsky got it from. But instead of
    using 'Urphanomen', or 'germ-cell' or 'abstract concept', he
    *brilliantly* merged the idea with the existing widely-understood
    concept of "unit of analysis"! So this is a concept with two
    roots. But one of these roots is Hegel's Logic. Nowadays almost
    no-one reads Hegel's Logic. Those who come to Hegel at all read
    his early book, The Phenomenology of Spirit, which sheds no light
    on this issue. And among those who read and study Hegel's Logic,
    how many understand it? and of those who understand it, how many
    of them are familiar with Vygotsky? Very few. Unfortunately, in
    the  confusion, most people who are familiar with Vygotsky's
    writing seem to be forgotten the meaning of the word "unit" (or to
    be willing to think it has some special meaning for Vygotsky), and
    are unfamiliar with the discussions about units of analysis in the
    social sciences, so the challenge of understanding the Hegelian
    concept (never having read Hegel) is formidable. The tendency of
    people to cover up their confusion with neologs, utterly
    implausible claims and convoluted writing compounds the problem. I
    was lucky in having read Marx and Hegel (and Ilyenkov) before I
    ever read Vygotsky, and before I read any present-day
    interpretations or explanations of Vygotsky. I am sure if I had
    read that material in the reverse order I would be as confused as
    I believe almost everyone else is.

    with apologies,

    *Andy Blunden*

    mike cole wrote:

        The Russian language has more than a little ambiguity here as
        well, Andy.
        Check out David's translation and how/when Vygotsky moves from
        edinitsa (translated as unit) to edinstvo (translated as
        unity). Then look at how google translate indicates the
        overlap between these two terms.

        Translations of Единица (edinitsa)


        блок, единица, подразделение, агрегат, узел, целое


        единство, единица, единение, сплоченность, согласие, слитность


        единица, одиночка, число один

Translations of единство (edinstvo)



        единство, единица, единение, сплоченность, согласие, слитность


        единство, исключительность, тождество, единичность, согласие,


        солидарность, сплоченность, единство, общность, единение


        соответствие, согласие, соглашение, договоренность, аккорд,

        So far as I can tell, the Russians are no clearer on this
        matter than those trying to sort through the matter in English.


        On Sat, Jul 5, 2014 at 1:43 AM, Andy Blunden
        <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>> wrote:

            For sure Alfredo, Dewey seems to be suggesting that "an
        experience" is
            what we would call a unit of artistic creation or
        appreciation, and if
            this is the case, then certainly his concept of "an
            would have
            a much wider application. But I am hesitant to go too far into
            this just
            now because (1) I don't think Dewey was himself entirely
        clear on this
            concept of "unit", and (2) most of the CHAT people who are
            in this discussion around perezhivanie are certainly confused
            about what
            Vygotsky meant by "unit." Vygotsky was not confused, but
            has drawn my attention to the fact that even the
        authoritative Minnick
            translation of "Thinking and Speech" has, on occasion,
        mixed up
            'unit' and
            'unity' in the process of translating into English.
            So before we get into Dewey on units and experiences, I am
            that we are all very clear on what Vygotsky said on the

            > Thank you Andy for furthering the discussion. I was
        trying to
            > follow the scheme of thinking presented in your paper when I
            typed that
            > "doing and undergoing" was a microcosm, and I realize
        now (and
            agree with
            > you) that that was not correct. If a unit is relative to
            > process whose analysis is at issue," I find the unit
        that Dewey
            > in defining "/an/ experience" as being relative not only
        to the
            process of
            > producing/interpreting a work of art, but to the more
        general human
            > sense-full experience, as opposed to "incohate"
        experience. Is
            not there
            > something  common to art-making in any making? I find
            formulations very
            > close to his notion of /an/ experience in "Experience and
            Education" and
            > in "Logic: theory of inquiry," where the complex process
            analysis is
            > at issue is not art. The most prevalent topic is that
            > both temporally and socially. In following up the
        discussion on
            unity and
            > unit, I suggest that what Dewey defines as /an/
        experience can
            be thought
            > as a microcosm of human sense-full experience during joint
            activity, and
            > that is the problem that I attempt to address my self in the
            episodes of
            > interest in my own research, which all have in common people
            > doing things and thereby changing both themselves and their
            settings in
            > the making. I guess that a larger question would be how
        well the
            unit that
            > we may call /an/ experience retains all the aspects of
        the complex
            > phenomenon of sense-full experience in activity. I think
        we do
            part of the
            > work with regard to that discussion in the paper the link of
            which I have
            > given before by drawing possible connections between Dewey,
            Vygotsky, and
            > other phenomenological thinking. I think the issue of
        unit/unity is
            > important, and will continue elaborating on it in my further
            > thinking/writing/doing.
            > Best,
            > Alfredo
            > ________________________________________
            > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
        <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>>> on
            > behalf of Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
            <mailto:ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>>
            > Sent: 04 July 2014 14:22
            > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
            > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: LSV on language as a model of
            > Thank you, Alfredo, I think you have made a lot of
        progress in
            > clarifying these problems and these formulations I do
        find much more
            > satisfactory. Thank you, because in taking my apparently
        petty and
            > nit-picking criticism seriously, some real steps towards
            > been made. But there is still some more to do. :)
            > Here's Dewey's "Having An Experience" by the way:
            > A unit is always *also a unity*. "An experience" is a
        unity in
            the sense
            > which Dewey so graphically describes, in that it marks
            off from
            > the general background of experience and has an inherent
            > about it: "complete in itself, standing out because
        marked out
            from what
            > went before and what came after."
            > And it is invariably is also a unity of disparate
        elements, such as
            > sound and meaning, recognition and self-consciousness,
        doing and
            > suffering,defect andf compensation, use and
        exchange-value, etc..
            > Generally, I think people recognise this aspect of
        units. What is I
            > think widely not understood is the relation of the unit
        to the whole
            > process.
            > Unit is always a relative term, i.e., it is a unit of
        some complex
            > process whose analysis is at issue: the process at issue
        is seen
            to be
            > made up of a large number of said units. Your claim is
        that an
            > experience is "a unit of analysis for the relation
        between doing and
            > undergoing." But I find this "relation between doing and
            undergoing" an
            > entirely unclear concept. It sounds more like a
        readymade answer
            than a
            > question or problem to be solved. Usually, if there is a
            concept, there
            > is a word for it already at hand. Who asked for an
        analysis of the
            > relation-between-doing-and-undergoing? When Vygotsky
        posed the
            > of the relation of thinking and speaking this question
        already had a
            > long and well-known history in Western philosophy and
            psychology, and I
            > believe it was already understood to be related to the
            of the
            > intellect. I think Dewey was prompted to write this
        article by a
            > consideration of *art*: "Every work of art follows the
        plan of, and
            > pattern of, a complete experience, rendering it more
        intensely and
            > concentratedly felt."
            > But Dewey's article has lately been picked up out of
        interest in
            > perezhivanie, hasn't it? For me, it was because Dewey
            us that
            > "an experience" can have a meaning and power much like
        the Russian
            > perezhivanie, and that it is very different from
        "experience." So I
            > question this supposed definition of the problem - "the
        relation of
            > doing and undergoing." The unit of analysis is a singular
            concept of the
            > process as a whole, and if we do not have a provisional
            of the
            > process as a whole, then I think we are on very
        uncertain ground.
            > Also, in the article you cited, I was at pains to point
        out that a
            > "unit" is *not* a "microcosm." Marx selected a commodity
        as the
            unit of
            > bourgeois society; if he had wanted a *microcosm* he
        would have
            > a capitalist firm (= a unit of capital), the *highest*
            a whole
            > "world" in which the entire process (bourgeois society =
        the world
            > market) is contained complete in miniature form - the
        most developed
            > relation of the whole process. The commodity only
        contains all the
            > phenomena of bourgeois society *in embryo* (=cell form).
        But did you
            > mean that "the relation of doing and undergoing" is the
            microcosm? Not
            > clear on that.
            > You refer to "joint development". Is this the subject
        matter of
            > interest? What *is* the problem in fact? Until we are
        clear on that
            > units of analysis are not in the frame.
            > Andy
            > *Andy Blunden*
            > http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
            > Alfredo Gil Jornet wrote:
            >> Initially, I meant unity of doing and undergoing in the
            that, in
            >> /an/ experience, the one aspect cannot be reduced to the
            >> other. So, doing and undergoing, as I read them in
        Dewey, and
            as you
            >> agree, constitute a unity. It is precisely in the
            >> between the doing and the undergoing that an experience
        extends in
            >> time and action as a real, dynamic, but unitary
        phenomenon. I
            guess we
            >> all agree on this.
            >> I acknowledge my loose use of the term "unit" in the
            >> previous description, and understand your concern about
        it. So
            far, I
            >> have been using the notion "unit" to mean "unit of
            As unit,
            >> /an/ experience may be thought as "a product of
        analysis which,
            >> elements, retains all the basic properties of the whole
        and which
            >> cannot be further divided without losing them." That is
        how we
            >> to articulate it here in the context of science education:
            I have
            >> further expanded those ideas in other works under review.
            >> However, after Andy raised concern about the difference
            >> and "unity," I realized that I had not a clear-enough
        answer as
            to the
            >> differences between the two. So I quickly went to the
        literature to
            >> make my mind clearer before answering. Following an initial
            >> here is my attempt to be more specific about it: One could
            argue that
            >> "an experience", rather than "experience" as general
            >> this difference may not be clear enough in any of my
            >> writings), could be thought of as a unit of analysis
        for the
            >> between doing and undergoing, which is a "microcosm" of
            >> experience during episodes of joint development.
        Obviously, here I
            >> am trying to roughly follow a scheme you provide in
            >> Does this line of thought make sense?
            >> Thanks to this discussion, I realize that I need to
        make clearer
            >> statements about how the connections that I entertain
        between Dewey
            >> and Vygotsky in my dissertation constitute a "unit", a
            "substance", or
            >> neither of them. Thank you very much for opening this
        dimension of
            >> inquiry to me!
            >> Best,
            >> Alfredo
            >> ________________________________________
            >> From: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net> <mailto:ablunden@mira.net
            >> Sent: 04 July 2014 07:25:45
            >> To: lchcmike@gmail.com <mailto:lchcmike@gmail.com>
        <mailto:lchcmike@gmail.com <mailto:lchcmike@gmail.com>>
            >> Cc: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity; Alfredo Gil Jornet
            >> Subject: Re: [Xmca-l] Re: LSV on language as a model of
            >> Maybe, but Alfredo has been working with W-M Roth, and in a
            recent paper
            >> Roth claims to quote Vygotsky saying that experience is
            >> unit of affective and intellectual processes" (Roth's
            translation) and
            >> goes on to make it clear that this was not a slip of
        the pen,
            but he
            >> means "unit".
            >> Andy
            >> *Andy Blunden*
            >> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
            >> mike cole wrote:
            >> > That is how I interpreted Alfredo, Andy.
            >> > (signed)
            >> >
            >> > an /in/-experienced oldtimer
            >> > mike
            >> >
            >> >
            >> > On Thu, Jul 3, 2014 at 6:45 PM, Andy Blunden
            <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>
            >> > <mailto:ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>>> wrote:
            >> >
            >> >     I am familiar with Dewey's work on this, Alfredo,
        and I
            too have
            >> >     found it
            >> >     very useful. That was not my problem. But
        thinking about
            it, I
            >> >     suspect it
            >> >     was just an English expression problem.
            >> >     You said "experience is a unit of doing and
            But I
            >> >     think you
            >> >     meant to say "experience is a unity of doing and
            >> which is
            >> >     certainly true. Just as activity is a unity of
            consciousness and
            >> >     behaviour, or identity is a unity of recognition and
            >> >     self-consciousness,
            >> >     etc.
            >> >     But a *unit* is something different from *unity*.
            >> in this
            >> >     sense is not a unit at all; "an experience" can be a
            unit, but not
            >> >     a unit
            >> >     of doing and undergoing.
            >> >
            >> >     Is that right, Alfredo?
            >> >     Andy
            >> >
            >> >     > Dewey, most extensively in chapter 3 of "Art as
            >> makes a
            >> >     > distinction between the general stream of
            and an
            >> >     experience,
            >> >     > which, according to him, is the experience that
        "is a
            whole and
            >> >     carries
            >> >     > with it its own individualizing quality and
            >> >     After the
            >> >     > fact, an experience "has a unity that gives it its
            name, that
            >> >     meal, that
            >> >     > storm, that rupture of friendship", Dewey
        writes. He
            >> >     says that,
            >> >     > within that unity, there is both an aspect of
        doing, of
            >> >     initiation, and
            >> >     > another of undergoing, "of suffering in its large
            sense". He
            >> further
            >> >     > articulates the relation between the doing and the
            undergoing in
            >> >     terms of
            >> >     > "anticipation" and "consummation" "Anticipation" he
            writes "is
            >> the
            >> >     > connecting link between the next doing and its
        outcome for
            >> >     sense. What is
            >> >     > done and what is undergone are thus reciprocally,
            >> cumulatively, and
            >> >     > continuously instrumental to each other"
            >> >     >
            >> >     > Although in most passages these notes have a rather
            >> >     individualistic taste,
            >> >     > he goes on to clarify that there is a prominent
            >> character in
            >> >     > experience: "without external embodiment, an
            >> >     > incomplete" he says. In the same chapter, he also
            argues that
            >> >     "it is not
            >> >     > possible to divide in a vital experience the
            >> >     emotional, and
            >> >     > intellectual from one another." Both these
            may make
            >> >     it possible
            >> >     > to draw connections between Dewey's notion of
            experience and
            >> >     Vygotsky's
            >> >     > perezivanie.
            >> >     >
            >> >     > In any case, I find interesting the dialectic Dewey
            >> >     between doing
            >> >     > and undergoing as aspects of a minimal unit of
            >> experience
            >> >     > because it allows for thinking of being
        immersed in a
            >> developmental
            >> >     > situation in which the final form already
        exists before the
            >> >     intellect
            >> >     > grasps it, so that we do not need to put individual
            >> >     > constructions as who puts the cart before the
            >> >     >
            >> >     > But this is my reading, which may have obviated
            >> >     that would
            >> >     > preclude this reading?
            >> >     > Hope this was of help.
            >> >     > Best,
            >> >     >
            >> >     > Alfredo
            >> >     > ________________________________________
            >> >     > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
            >> >     <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
            >> >     <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
            >> >     <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
        <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>>>> on
            >> >     > behalf of Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
            <mailto:ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>
            >> >     <mailto:ablunden@mira.net
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net> <mailto:ablunden@mira.net
            >> >     > Sent: 03 July 2014 17:17
            >> >     > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
            >> >     > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: LSV on language as a model of
            >> >     >
            >> >     > Alfredo, what did you mean by:
            >> >     >> ... as he argued, experience is a unit of
        doing and
            >> >     >
            >> >     > Andy
            >> >     >
            >> >     >
            >> >     >
            >> >
            >> >
            >> >