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[Xmca-l] Re: CHAT Discourse

I am sure that in this long thread, *someone* must have already said that philosophy (i.e., critique of concepts) and psychology (critique of data) both stimulate and challenge one another. Two independent processes which interact with one another, surely? Some currents of psychology remain content with the concepts of common sense and focus on observation, others are eternally dissatisfied with the concepts they use. But essentially it's the same process.

What has driven me along the road to developing my approach to Activity Theory are both the (to me) obvious degradation of Vygotsky's concepts in the move to Activity Theory, *and* pressing problems like two halves of the country which seem to believe in mutually exclusive sets of facts about the world, like the fact that so many well-educated people believe the world was created 10,000 years ago by a Christian God, why countries which were well on the way to modernity 50 years ago have now confined their womenfolk indoors and behind veils, why priests abuse the children in their care and are protected by the hierarchy, why asbestos workers would not believe that the stuff was killing them even when half the town was dying of it, etc. - These kinds of situation are *data* for social theorists and it seemed to me that Vygotsky's ideas were the best thing going, but they had not been satisfactorily developed by Activity Theorists for social theory. The facts I am concerned with are pretty well, if not universally, recognised, but probably half the world has noticed. The problem is mainly the *concepts*. Some successful projects which have changed minds on a mass scale are the only way of getting more data, but even then the situation is not qualitatively different because the kind of projects I am interested in are real, not isolated in a laboratory, so as much open to contested interpretation as any of the facts I mentioned above and are not the kind of thing one experiments with.

*Andy Blunden*

mike cole wrote:
If others agree, Andy, then it provides a context within which to make judgments about the kind of enterprise CHAT has become, in its various
instantations, which are certainly multiple!

On the other hand, maybe I am just being dull, the problems have been solved. mike

On Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 9:14 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    I think Vygotsky spoke optimistically about resolving the crisis
    in Psychology because he was writing in the wake of the successful
    Russian Revolution. Alas it was not to be so. But as a Marxist he
    would know that without the resolution of the crisis of humanity
    there could be no resolution in the crisis of any of the special
    sciences. Which is all the more reason to tackle the disciplinary
    boundaries inhibiting the development of both psychology and
    social theory.
    *Andy Blunden*

    mike cole wrote:

        ​Complicated discussion about CHAT and whether its a science
        or not.

        One thing to keep in mind, perhaps:  Vygotsky said he was
        seeking  to
        resolve the crisis in psychology as he diagnosed it a century
        ago. In my
        view, he did not resolve it. I made the argument at the end of
        Psychology and can post a draft of the chapter here if it
        needs rehearsing.
        I believe, to the extent that it can be solved, it requires
        one to take
        seriously the fusion of theory and practice. Seems like
        Vygotsky said
        something along these same lines, too, about practice being
        the crucible of

        The question of what can be learned from an analysis of
        projects such as
        those present in Andy's collection seems an important one. I
        am biased. I
        would hate to think that i learned nothing from the past 30+
        years of
        involvement in the 5th Dimension!