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[Xmca-l] Re: how to broaden/enliven the xmca discussion



David,

I share what I take to be your emphasis on the distinction between 'words in their speaking' and 'already spoken words' (to borrow Shotter's terms). Communication surely predates language and your account of Volosinov's and Vygotsky's thought experiment about a one word language reminded me of Steven Mithen's (2005) book 'The singing Neanderthals' in which he argues for a pre-language mode of communication which he calls Hmmmm because it was holistic (not composed of segmented elements), manipulative (influencing emotional states and hence behaviour), multimodal (using both sound and gesture), musical (rhythmic, and melodic), and mimetic (using sound symbolism and mimetic gestures). As Vygotsky points out, babies are importantly unlike Neanderthals because they are surrounded by people who are fluent users of the fully developed form of communication which the baby will learn to use, but still their communication is non-linguistic and non-conceptual.

I have to apologise for not reading back through this full thread (yet) but I am familiar with a distinction between znachenie and smysl   - tema is not a term I have come across. I will read back to find explanations.

Can Russian speakers also tell me whether the term obuchenie carries more of the sense of learning the person as well as the 'content matter' when teacher and learner engage each other in conversation? I was struck by the way Russians tend to list their pedagogical lineage in terms of who their teacher studied with.

All the best,

Rod

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces+rod.parker-rees=plymouth.ac.uk@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces+rod.parker-rees=plymouth.ac.uk@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of David Kellogg
Sent: 08 October 2014 23:00
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: how to broaden/enliven the xmca discussion

Itzhak Perlman is also making gentle fun of Yo-yo Ma's little game of "six degrees of separation", whereby Ma insists on the direct face-to-face contact between us and the departed masters via a chain of aging masters. In this too, I am in sympathy with Ma: it is why I shelled out the huge registration fee to go to ISCAR, and also why I was a little disappointed not to see Mike there (although secretly relieved since I know he is an unbruised fruit that does not travel so well these days, and it was a gruelling flight even for a tough nut like me). It is also why last year at this time I forked over a similar fee to go and spend two weeks in Guangzhou in the company of Michael Halliday.

Of course I know it is possible to communicate with some of these masters through the email (though not Halliday, who considers human speech to be the most developed form of human communications technology precisely because it is the oldest). But it turns out that when we reduce speech to nothing but vowels and consonants and nouns and verbs, we have to reconstruct for ourselves the immense good will and cheer that is transmitted effortlessly, iconically, and indexically in face-to-face encounters, and this greatly impedes (my) understanding.

That is why Martin's proposal that we consider both tool-mediated activity and sign-mediated speech to be forms of semiotic mediation appeals. I think it might resolve the key problem that LSV leaves us with at the end of Chapter Two of HDHMF when he warns against those who consider signs to be "psychological tools" (pace Kozulin, Bordrova and Leong), and says that they are only "logically" (pace Huw) members of a common category; with the precise relationship between them (i.e.
the historical relationship between them) to be worked out. Tools and signs are functionally quite different even where they appear to co-occur (like the blade of the axe and the decorations on the handle, as Volosinov says): one acts on the environment and mediates a subject-object relationship, while the other presupposes somehow empathetically reconstructing the mental state of another subject. Yet there must be some deep internal link or we could not have evolved the one out of the other. That internal link, it seems to me, is the physical presence of the other in the environment, in all of his or her smiling and grimacing, sweating and stinking glory, and the internal link is necessarily stronger in the case of "tema" than in the case of "znachenie".

The idea that the latter is merely meaning potential and the former is actual, realized, materialized meaning comes straight from Halliday.
But the (for me, linked) idea that the latter is the most stable pole of word value and the former the least so comes straight from Volosinov, who influenced Halliday via the Prague linguists. Volosinov derives it from a long analysis of the great schools of linguistics somewhat similar to Mike's recent ruminations on the great schools of psychological thought: there were centuries where linguistics was synonymous with the study of disembodied speech (vowels and consonants rather than intonation and stress, writing rather than speaking, and literature rather than everyday language), and there was a century--the nineteenth--where the opposite tendency held sway (von Humboldt, Potebnia, but above all the school of Kurt Vossler). We can also derive Volosinov's conclusion logically--"znachenie" is actually produced by abstraction and generalization from "tema", and both processes would lend it a self-similarity, a stability, which cannot obtain with "tema".

I am now quite certain that Volosinov and Vygotsky were in direct, face-to-face contact during the last two years of LSV's life when he worked at the Herzen Pedagogical Institute in Leningrad. In any case, both of them pose exactly the same thought experiment (which is also posed in the work of Marr, who by some accounts took part in LSV's weekly meetings with Eisenstein). Both wondered what a language which consisted of a single word would sound like, and asked if it would even be a language at all. And both came up with the same answer.

It would sound like an obscenity, tossed back and forth between drunken workmen on a street, as recorded in the diary of the great writer Fyodor Dostoevsky. That is, the meaning would be conveyed not referentially but indexically, not through articulation but through prosody, not through grammar but through revoicing. You can produce some of the same effect in English if you imagine the following conversation, slurring the initial and final consonants and assimilating the middle vowel to a kind of schwa sound (the vowel you make with your tongue in the exact middle of your mouth).

A: (Wh)e(re)?
B: (Th)e(re)!
C: (Wh)e(n)??
D: (Th)e(n)!!
E: (Wh)a(t)???
F: (Th)a(t)!!!

Volosinov concludes that it would indeed be speech, because the essence of speech is "tema" and not "znachenie", its inner quality is precisely this kind of mutability and only its outer form is self-similarity. Speech is, essentially, grunts and groans and not grammar. But of course that means that both poles are present, and must be present, for speech to be language.

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

PS: I think the reinterpretation of SSD as "context" is exactly what Andy was referring to: the hypostatization of "society" as a kind of enveloping cultural given from which the subject has no choice and over which the subject has no control. Those who use the Engstrom triangle as a kind of inventory of stuff to talk about are content to overcome this danger by sticking a two headed arrow between "subject"
and "rules" or "subject" and "community" or "subject" and "division of labor". But this only poses the problem; it doesn't solve it. By the way, exactly the same problem occurs in Hallidayan linguistics when people talk about context. Halliday himself is quite clear that somethinig only becomes context when you attend to it and select it from the environment for the transformation into meaning, but people imagine that attending and transforming is something you actually do to context.

dk







On 8 October 2014 09:15, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
> Thanks for all the clarifying, David. I will go back and read the
> texts you point to.
>
> The way you push forward the sense/meaning issue is totally new to me
> and quite different from what I have been reading in arguments among
> contemporary Russians, viz:
>
>  So "smysl" is "tema"; it is something like "realized, actual meaning"
> while "znachenie" is something like "potential, possible meaning".
> Tema is what happens when we activate a particular layer in the great
> palimpsest of possible meanings left in each word by our
> contemporaries and ancestors.
>
> How do we connect this to the notion, from LSV, that znachenie
> (meaning) is the most stable pole of smysl (sense)? The various
> translations/interpretations of these terms are really confusing me.
> Where does tema from and where is it taking us?
>
> mike
> PS-- Any notion of who/where "social situation of development" is
> reinterpreted as "context."?
>
>
> On Tue, Oct 7, 2014 at 3:12 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Larry, Mike, Huw, Andy--
>>
>> (and above all the real "objects" of broadening and enlivening the
>> discussion, you by-standers and handwringers, perhaps intimidated by
>> the pointing and handwaving, and unwilling to contribute lest the
>> discussion become less sharpened and pointed....)
>>
>> There were several issues that seemed to pop up session after session
>> at ISCAR, quite independently of who raised them. Yes, "the real
>> Vygotsky" was certainly one of them, and Holbrook was not the only
>> person to talk this way; I did too, and I do think that a world where
>> the original Vygotsky is not recoverable is just as bad as a world
>> where Vygotsky is completely forgotten. But in the context of ISCAR,
>> the "real Vygotsky" was often a response to many speakers who would
>> like to emphasize the NON-Marxist side of Vygotsky.
>>
>> There were two ways of doing this. One was to simply say that of
>> course Vygotsky was a Marxist, but then everybody was Marxist back
>> then, and it was not much more important than being a liberal
>> Democrat today. Interestingly, in the Making of Mind, Luria said that
>> this is a description which could well apply to many psychologists of
>> his time, including himself, but not to Vygotsky. A more
>> sophisticated way of emphasizing the NON-Marxist side of Vygotsky
>> requires a "real Vygotsky" of a different kind. Writers like our good
>> friend Nikolai Veresov have tried to do this by emphasizing the
>> PRE-Marxist Vygotsky, especially Vygotsky the phenomenologist,
>> student of Gustav Shpet who was a student of Husserl himself.
>>
>> I was formerly little puzzled by this move. Seth argued that it was
>> valid, because of Vygotsky's ties to Lewin and Lewin's ideas about
>> the force of objects and the fields of attractors created thereby.
>> Lewin was certainly an attractor for Vygotsky, but Vygotsky actually
>> uses Lewin to criticize phenomenological analysis in Chapter Three of
>> HDHMF (see Vol. 4, p. 69). Elsewhere, Vygotsky is very critical of
>> the founders of phenomenology, iincluding Husserl (p. 7).
>>
>> But now I think that Larry (and Martin, who has raised the same
>> connection) is on to something. For it is also in HDHMF that Vygotsky
>> bruits the idea that attention is a kind of gateway function, that
>> the indicative is the primordial function of speech and thinking, and
>> that there is nevertheless a qualitative difference between noticing
>> something and internalizing it as a meaning--all of these are
>> Husserlian ideas. Even the knotted handkerchief, which I myself have
>> attributed to Vygotsky and to a peculiarly Russian practice, comes
>> from the work of Husserl (Logical Investigations, Vol. I, pp.
>> 269-333). I think that as a real historical materialist Vygotsky
>> rejected Husserl's absolute opposition between symbol and index, but
>> he didn't forget it when he set about trying to build a bridge
>> between the two.
>>
>> Mike wonders about a text where Vygotsky rejects "activity" as a unit
>> of analysis for everything but behavior. No such text exists, of
>> course; if you read what I wrote carefully (I know, it's a trial
>> sometimes, but at least I am a larger target then the minimalist Huw)
>> you will see that I refer to a my OWN rejection, not Vygotsky's. What
>> Vygotsky says in "Problem of the Environment" is that he wants to
>> introduce "a number of different" units of analysis which are used in
>> pedological analyses, of which "perezhivanie" is one, and
>> "sense/signification" a very different one. (Andy is wrong to impute
>> importance to the count noun form here; Vygotsky often uses it as a
>> verb, I "live experience" something). I have always assumed that this
>> means:
>>
>> a) Perezhivanie is quite specific to the problem Vygotsky raises in
>> this lecture, which is how three different children can respond so
>> differently to the one and the same form of child abuse.
>>
>> b) "Sense/signification" is also a unit of analysis, what Vygotsky
>> refers to in Thinking and Speech as "the meaningful word". (This was
>> also the object of textological attention in Holbrook's presentation).
>>
>> Mike also wonders about where Leontiev raises the possibility of
>> applying Marxist theory directly to psychology. In many places, but
>> perhaps most prominently in Problems of the Development of Mind (see
>> pp. 236-237, 255). Holbrook had other quotations of this type, and I
>> think there is a link between them and what Luria's remark that back
>> then everybody in psychology was a "Marxist", but nobody except
>> Vygotsky was much of a Marxist. Holbrook is right here.
>>
>> Mike asks if there is practical activity without thinking. I think
>> that Vygotsky would say that there is thinking and there is verbal
>> thinking (or, as Holbrook now insists, "thinking with words"). What
>> monkeys do with sticks is called practical intelligence in Chapter
>> Four of Thinking and Speech. It is practical activity, and it's
>> thinking. But it's not a unit of thinking and speech, and therefore I
>> think there is some light between what Vygotsky is willing to call
>> "activity" and "praxis"; it's not the case that "praxis" is just a
>> Greek word for "activity". I recognize, though, that for Andy what
>> monkeys do with sticks does not count as activity (and I also
>> recognize that I was muddling "activity" and "action"--sorry about
>> that).
>>
>> Like Mike, I am paleo with regard to sense and meaning, and like Mike
>> I recognize that it is hard to tell how deep the waters are here
>> since they have been muddied. I think they were first muddied by
>> Vygotsky himself, because he refers the distinction to Paulhan, where
>> no such distinction is found (Paulhan just talks about connotation
>> and denotation). But I think it's easy to unmuddy the waters and I
>> think they are very deep indeed: Vygotsky uses Paulhan as a foil,
>> taking the actual distinction from Volosinov, who was working at the
>> Herzen Institute at exactly the same moment that Vygotsky was writing
>> of this distinction. Zavershneva has said that Vygotsky cites
>> Volosinov in his unpublished manuscripts, but that the citation is
>> always removed by the editor in publication.  So "smysl" is "tema";
>> it is something like "realized, actual meaning" while "znachenie" is
>> something like "potential, possible meaning". Tema is what happens
>> when we activate a particular layer in the great palimpsest of
>> possible meanings left in each word by our contemporaries and ancestors.
>>
>> I'm currently writing the endnotes for our new volume of Vygotsky's
>> lectures on pedology, so I am very aware of the issue that Huw
>> appears to be raising (although Huw is so very gnomic in his lofty
>> remarks on my supposed illogicality and my more systemic problems
>> that it is hard to be sure). In Lecture Six, Vygotsky says in one
>> paragraph that dividing off psychological from physiological
>> development is methodologically impermissable, but in the very next
>> paragraph, and indeed in the layout of the book, he says
>> "dismemberment is nevertheless necessary". On the one hand, he says
>> that there is no action, no motility, not even thinking without both
>> the mind and the brain, and on the other he says that even within the
>> body there are distinct lines of development and that physiology is
>> "a summarizable concept". He is acutely aware of the contradiction,
>> but by the end of the lecture he resolves it. We just have to keep in
>> mind that things that we take apart for the purpose of analysis are
>> inextricably joined in clinical practice. I suppose you can say it is
>> a logical contradiction if you want, particularly if by that you mean
>> it is a contradiction that only exists in the ideal world, that is,
>> in logic and does not really pose a problem in life.
>>
>> The problem is with the word "text" is the same, Huw. For Hallidayans
>> like me, a text is precisely a semantic object; it's not made of
>> paper and ink. Viewed interpersonally, a text is a coherent and
>> cohesive exchange. Viewed intra-mentally, it's a representation of
>> thinking. It is objective, but it's objective the way that
>> mathematics and language itself is objective, not the way that three
>> actual apples or a physical book is objective. Dixit.
>>
>> David Kellogg
>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>>
>> (PS: I'm afraid I didn't get the systemic reproach at all. It's hard
>> for a fish to see the density of water, much less to see the density
>> of the fish!)
>>
>> dk
>>
>>
>>
>> On 7 October 2014 23:11, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
>> > The understanding of action and activity AS BOTH thinking and
>> > behaviour contrasting with an appeal to differentiate the aspects
>> > thinking and behaviour.
>> > The notion *species* was introduced by David K as returning to
>> > Vygotsky's words as he used them [paleo return] or we will loose
>> > this species as it becomes extinct.
>> >
>> > Therefore Leontiev's theory could also be considered a separate
>> > *species* with its own characteristics, features, and object of activity.
>> > SO in my return to the species of Activity theory I turned to one
>> > of Leontiev's students [Victor Kaptelinin] in his 2005 MCA article
>> > "The
>> Object
>> > of Activity: Making sense of the Sense Maker"
>> >
>> > Kaptelinin opens his article with this fragment from the *species*
>> > of Leontiev's own specified object of activity [activity theory]
>> >
>> > "A basic or, as is sometimes said, a CONSTITUTING characteristic of
>> > activity is its objectivity or, rather object relatedness. Properly
>> > the CONCEPT of its object, gegenstand, is already IMPLICITLY
>> > contained in the very concept of activity. The expression
>> > objectless activity is DEVOID of any meaning. Objectivity may SEEM
>> > objectless, but SCIENTIFIC
>> investigations
>> > OF activity NECESSARILY REQUIRES discovering its object.
>> > THUS the object of activity IS TWOFOLD:
>> > First, in its INDEPENDENT EXISTENCE as SUBORDINATING TO ITSELF and
>> > transforming the activity of the subject [The question arises if
>> > this subordinating is the object's *motive* - LP] AND Second, as an
>> > IMAGE OF the object, as a product OF its property of psychological
>> > reflection THAT IS realized AS AN ACTIVITY OF THE SUBJECT, and
>> > cannot exist OTHERWISE."
>> >
>> > This paragraph which Kaptelian offers as a *specimen* of a
>> > particular and unique *species* of expression seems to present a
>> > clear *case* to hold up to Vygotsky's *species* .
>> > I would add that Merleau-Ponty offers an alternative *species* that
>> > is
>> also
>> > looking at objects of activity from another *angle* of vision.
>> >
>> > Are Vygotsky, Leontiev, and Merleau-Ponty all gesturing at the same
>> > phenomena and walking around this *object* [imagined? or real?]
>> > from various vantage points.
>> >
>> > I will pause by returning to the second quality of the TWOFOLD
>> > quality of the *object of activity*
>> >
>> > "SECOND as an IMAGE OF the object, AS a product OF its
>> > PSYCHOLOGICAL REFLECTION that is REALIZED [brought into form -LP]
>> > AS an activity OF the SUBJECT and cannot exist OTHERWISE.
>> >
>> > Is this a new *species*??
>> >
>> > Larry
>> >
>> >
>> > On Mon, Oct 6, 2014 at 4:55 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>> >
>> >> Mike, what I got out of Seth's intervention was just a plea for
>> >> people
>> to
>> >> stop claiming to have the "real Vygotsky" and I thoroughly agreed
>> >> with
>> him.
>> >> And so far as I know Marx uses the German word for Activity, viz.,
>> >> Taetigkeit, in "Theses on Feuerbach" - that word which pre-dates
>> >> "behaviour" and "consciousness" by centuries, but which is
>> >> sometimes referred to nowadays as a unity of these two
>> >> abstractions, and it was
>> only
>> >> later interpreters that introduced the term "praxis", which being
>> >> Greek sounds a lot cleverer. Action and Activity, in my view and
>> etymologically,
>> >> are both thinking and behaving.
>> >> Andy
>> >> ------------------------------------------------------------------
>> >> ------
>> >> *Andy Blunden*
>> >> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> mike cole wrote:
>> >>
>> >>> Thanks, David. I think i understand better what you mean by "LSV
>> rejects
>> >>> "activity" as a unit of analysis for anything but behavior,and
>> >>> most certainly as a unit of psychological analysis. Somehow I was
>> >>> expecting text from LSV where he says "activity is not a unit of
>> >>> analysis" because of
>> all
>> >>> the places in his text where he uses the term activity as a sort
>> >>> of
>> "lay
>> >>> term".
>> >>>
>> >>> ...
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>>  Holbrook Mahn.
>> >>>> Holbrook began by saying that:
>> >>>>
>> >>>> a) We do not "borrow" concepts made for one discipline and "apply"
>> >>>> them to another. Not even dialectical materialism can be
>> >>>> "applied" to psychology (or even sociology or economics--Marx
>> >>>> didn't do applied philosophy!). Holbrook then produced a number
>> >>>> of quotations from The Historical Meaning of the Crisis in
>> >>>> Psychology to show that Vygotsky knew this, and countered with
>> >>>> other quotations from Problems of the Development of the Mind to show that Leontiev did not know this.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> I know places where LSV is clear on this score, in Historical
>> >>>> meaning,
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>> for example, but not the evidence of Leontiev's errors.
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>> b) The term "praxis" has been thus borrowed. It doesn't refer to
>> >>>> practical activity: it refers to a unity of thinking and practice.
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>
>> >>> Borrowed from Marx by ..??? by Leontiev? There is any form of
>> >>> practical activity without human thinking?
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>> c) The term "social situation of development" has been thus
>> >>>> borrowed; it does not refer to a "context" but to the child's
>> >>>> relationship to the environment.
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>
>> >>> By whom? I am always in a puzzle about the use of this term.
>> >>> Isn't perezhivanie the term that LSV uses to talk about relation
>> >>> of child to environment? At least, there seems to be a lot of chatter about issue.
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>> d) The term "unit of analysis" does not refer to a God particle
>> >>>> that is indifferent to the problem of analysis. ygotsky did not
>> >>>> imagine a "unit of analysis" that fit any and all problems in
>> >>>> psychology. Each unit of analysis is specific to a particular problem of unity (e.g.
>> >>>> the problem of the unity of the child and his or her environment
>> >>>> in Problem of the Environment and the problem of the unity of
>> >>>> verbal thinking in Thinking and Speech).
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Amen to that.
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>> e) The term "verbal thinking" is a mistranslation: Vygotsky is
>> >>>> talking about thinking by language, or thinking through word
>> >>>> meanings, and not some kind of verbalizable inner speech (which
>> >>>> does exist, but which is a distinct layer from thinking).
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>> There is a lot of confusion around this issue and would probably
>> >>> need somewhat separate discussion. I interpret in the former way.
>> >>> The role
>> of
>> >>> meaning in inner speech, and the usefulness or not of the
>> >>> sense/meaning distinction has me confused. Dima Leontiev has put
>> >>> the distinction
>> behind
>> >>> him and now refers to "cultural meaning" (paleo meaning
>> >>>
>> >>> ) and
>> >>> "personal meaning (paleo sense)." I am paleo in this regard.
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>> Most of this has been said before, not least by Vygotsky
>> >>>> himself. I know that Holbrook has been saying it at least since
>> >>>> 2007 when I first heard him at the American Association for
>> >>>> Applied Linguistics in Costa Mesa, and he develops it at some length in:
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>> https://www.academia.edu/1803017/Vygotskys_Analysis_of_
>> >>>> Childrens_Meaning-Making_Processes
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Mahn, H. (2012). Vygotsky's Analysis of Children's
>> >>>> Meaning-Making Processes, International Journal of Educational
>> >>>> Psychology1(2):100-126
>> >>>>
>> >>>> It's been said by others too: Mike Cole actually makes many of
>> >>>> the same points in discussing how the Kharkov school deviated
>> >>>> from the work of Vygotsk,
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>> I did not know enough to make many of these points in 1978! They
>> >>> certainly distanced themselves from LSV and PI Zinchenko went
>> >>> after the natural-cultural memory distinction,
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>> and J.V. Wertsch is quite explicit in his revisionism when he
>> >>>> presents "mediated activity" as a unit of analysis in opposition
>> >>>> to "word meaning".
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>> mediated ACTION and often as not, mediated action in context.
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>> But of course since a unit of analysis must preserve in some
>> >>>> shape or form the essential properties of the whole, the use of
>> >>>> "mediated activity"
>> >>>> (action)
>> >>>> cannot be a unit of analysis for the mind if we wish to retain
>> >>>> the idea that the mind has a semantic structure (that is, if the
>> >>>> "whole" is structured something like a text or a discourse
>> >>>> rather than like driving a car, shooting a gun, or hunting
>> >>>> animals).
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>
>> >>> When we get to semantic structure of consciousness, we know there
>> >>> was a break between LSV and his buddies. It seems that it is in
>> >>> arriving at
>> this
>> >>> formulation that the charges of idealism and sign-o-centrism kick in.
>> >>>
>> >>> My difficulty is in making arguments about consciousness-
>> >>> -in-general, perhaps a relic of my behaviorist past. Luria
>> >>> appears to have come
>> around
>> >>> on this issue. I have had a difficult time understanding the
>> >>> changes in Leontiev's thought over the period of the 30's and 40's.
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>> Now, in the discussion of Holbrook's presentation, this
>> >>>> wild-haired guy who looked a little like Itzhak Perlman rose to
>> >>>> argue that Leontiev's interpretation was really one fair
>> >>>> interpretation, and that it really was addressed towards a
>> >>>> specific problem, which is how to prevent dualism from arising
>> >>>> (that is, how to explain how word meaning could arise historically).Through joint mediated activity?
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>> He also said that Holbrook was juxtaposing quotations out of
>> >>>> context: the quotes that showed Vygotsky arguing against a
>> >>>> "Marxist psychology" were directed against a very specific group
>> >>>> of vulgar Marxists (e.g. Zalkind) and that is why Vygotsky uses
>> >>>> scare quotes around "Marxist".
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>
>> >>> Not so?
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>> I then muddied the waters, first by addressing the wild-haired
>> >>>> guy instead of Holbrook (a major breach of protocol) and then by
>> >>>> arguing that speech really is sui generis, because it is a form of "activity"
>> >>>> (if we must call it that) whose conditions of comprehension are
>> >>>> no longer recoverable from the activity itself (and so the unit
>> >>>> of analysis for verbal thinking cannot be sought in activity).
>> >>>> There wasn't enough time to really develop what I wanted to say,
>> >>>> so I went over to continue the discussion, and it turned out
>> >>>> that the wild haired guy was none other than Seth Chaiklin, who
>> >>>> is, we all know, one of the foremost paleo-Vygotskyans when it
>> >>>> comes to the much misinterpreted concept of the ZPD.
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>
>> >>> Speech is a form of activity or a means of activity? Or of action?
>> >>>
>> >>> I guess I do not understand. If its worthwhile, perhaps spell the
>> >>> idea out here?
>> >>>
>> >>> So far as I can tell, there are ONLY misinterpretations of the Zoped.
>> Seth
>> >>> was right on about it being used in Anglo-American discourse as
>> something
>> >>> akin to zone of proximal learning,fitting into the associationist
>> >>> view
>> of
>> >>> development as more learning. But the one right interpretation
>> >>> has
>> escaped
>> >>> my notice.
>> >>>
>> >>> Thanks again for taking the trouble to write that out. Perhaps it
>> >>> will
>> be
>> >>> generative for people.
>> >>> mike
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>> David Kellogg
>> >>>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>> >>>>
>> >>>> PS: Holbrook DID get one thing wrong. Stalin did not argue that
>> >>>> language was purely ideal and superstructural; that was Marr's
>> >>>> position. Stalin, or whoever ghost wrote his articles, argued
>> >>>> that language was base, and therefore somehow material, whatever
>> >>>> that means. But Stalin was not really interested in ideas; he
>> >>>> was just out for Marr's blood.
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>> On 6 October 2014 22:21, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>> Hi David--
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> The specific example of your comments on originals and
>> >>>>> adaptations
>> hits
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>>
>> >>>> on
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>> a point it would be helpful to hear more about:
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> You wrote:
>> >>>>>  Back in Sydney, Seth Chaiklin and I found ourselves in a
>> >>>>> somewhat similar argument, with Seth in Perelman's chair, and
>> >>>>> me clinging rather obstinately to a paleo-Vygotskyan
>> >>>>> interpretation which
>> actually
>> >>>>> rejects "activity" as a unit of analysis for anything but
>> >>>>> behavior, and most certainly as a unit of psychological
>> >>>>> analysis. Seth's argument was pragmatist: for certain practical
>> >>>>> applications, we need new interpretations, including
>> >>>>> revisionist ones. Mine was an argument in favor of species
>> >>>>> diversity: when the revisionist account supplants the original
>> >>>>> to such a degree that Vygotsky's original argument is no longer
>> >>>>> accessible to people, we need to go back to original texts
>> (and
>> >>>>> this is why it is so important to make the original texts at
>> >>>>> least recoverable--once they are gone, it is really a whole
>> >>>>> species of thinking that has become extinct).
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> 1.   Could you guide us to a text you recommend where this
>> >>>>> interpretation
>> >>>>> is laid out?
>> >>>>> 2. What sort of revision was Seth suggesting and why?
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> I have been reading Russian discussions around this issue.
>> Clarification
>> >>>>> would be helpful.
>> >>>>> mike
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> On Sun, Oct 5, 2014 at 12:37 AM, David Kellogg
>> >>>>> <dkellogg60@gmail.com
>> >
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>>
>> >>>> wrote:
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>> This morning I had the great pleasure of waking up in my own
>> >>>>> bed and
>> >>>>>> listening to Yo-yo Ma, Emanuel Ax and Itzhak Perlman playing this:
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRkWCOTImOQ
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> It's the D Major Cello sonata number two by Mendelssohn,
>> >>>>>> played, as Yo-yo Ma tells us, on the Davydov (no, that THAT
>> >>>>>> Davydov)
>> Stradivarius
>> >>>>>> that was probably used to perform the sonata for the very
>> >>>>>> first time in front of Mendelssohn himself. Now, throughout
>> >>>>>> this concert, Ma
>> has
>> >>>>>> been something of a stickler for "the original", and Perelman
>> >>>>>> has
>> been
>> >>>>>> pulling politely but pointedly towards a more personal
>> interpretation.
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> So at around 6:45 on the clip, Perelman tells Ma that if
>> >>>>>> Mendelssohn himself had heard the sonata played on that very
>> >>>>>> cello, then he, Perelman, was sitting in the very seat that
>> >>>>>> Mendelssohn had
>> occupied,
>> >>>>>> and that therefore his freer interpretation was really closer
>> >>>>>> to Mendelssohn than any attempt to recreate the sonata with
>> >>>>>> period instruments. Mercifully, at this point, Ax interupts
>> >>>>>> them and starts to play.
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> Back in Sydney, Seth Chaiklin and I found ourselves in a
>> >>>>>> somewhat similar argument, with Seth in Perelman's chair, and
>> >>>>>> me clinging rather obstinately to a paleo-Vygotskyan
>> >>>>>> interpretation which
>> actually
>> >>>>>> rejects "activity" as a unit of analysis for anything but
>> >>>>>> behavior, and most certainly as a unit of psychological
>> >>>>>> analysis. Seth's argument was pragmatist: for certain
>> >>>>>> practical applications, we need new interpretations, including
>> >>>>>> revisionist ones. Mine was an
>> argument
>> >>>>>> in favor of species diversity: when the revisionist account
>> supplants
>> >>>>>> the original to such a degree that Vygotsky's original
>> >>>>>> argument is
>> no
>> >>>>>> longer accessible to people, we need to go back to original
>> >>>>>> texts
>> (and
>> >>>>>> this is why it is so important to make the original texts at
>> >>>>>> least recoverable--once they are gone, it is really a whole
>> >>>>>> species of thinking that has become extinct).
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> David Kellogg
>> >>>>>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> PS: Andy, what shocked me about Bonnie Nardi's plenum in
>> >>>>>> Sydney was not her use of "society" or "object": actually, I
>> >>>>>> think I would have liked it better if she had used those terms
>> >>>>>> a little more
>> imprecisely,
>> >>>>>> in their folk meanings. In fact, a little more IMPRECISION
>> >>>>>> might
>> have
>> >>>>>> made it even clearer to us the sheer horror of what she was
>> >>>>>> contemplating.
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> For those on the list who missed it, the plenary focused on a
>> >>>>>> world without jobs--that is, a world where five-day forty-hour
>> >>>>>> jobs are replaced by "micro-work". Nardi admitted that this
>> >>>>>> was a rather dystopian state of affairs--but she also showed
>> >>>>>> us what she called
>> the
>> >>>>>> "bright side": more leisure, less greenhouse gases, and also
>> >>>>>> human identities less narrowly tied to work. As one person in
>> >>>>>> the
>> conference
>> >>>>>> pointed out, and Nardi confirmed, it would also mean more time
>> >>>>>> for
>> the
>> >>>>>> spiritual side of life.
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> What was not pointed out was the effect of all this on the "object"
>> of
>> >>>>>> "society", using both terms in their folk senses. The working
>> >>>>>> class
>> is
>> >>>>>> being ground down into the economic position of short term sex
>> workers
>> >>>>>> and atomized into the social position of housewives.
>> >>>>>> Inequality is
>> now
>> >>>>>> at levels not seen since 1820. Even a cursory study of history
>> >>>>>> tells us that the result of this is not going to be individual
>> spirituality
>> >>>>>> but rather more violence. The only "bright side" I can see is
>> >>>>>> if
>> that
>> >>>>>> force is organized, social, and directed against social
>> >>>>>> equality rather than against fellow members of the working class.
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> dk
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> On 5 October 2014 13:38, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> I found Kaptelinin's article in MCA invaluable, Mike. Bonnie
>> >>>>>>> Nardi
>> I
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>> had
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>> the
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> great pleasure of meeting for the first time at ISCAR, and if
>> >>>>>>> she
>> has
>> >>>>>>> written something on "object" that is very good news.
>> >>>>>>> I don't think the problem is intractable, though I don't
>> >>>>>>> think one
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>> good
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>> book
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> or one good article is enough. But for example, for a long
>> >>>>>>> while I
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>> have
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>> been
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> jumping up and down about how people use the word "perezhivanie"
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>> without
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>> an
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> article (the, a, an some, etc) implying it is some kind of
>> "substance"
>> >>>>>>> whereas in Russian it is a count noun. While there remains
>> outstanding
>> >>>>>>> differences about what perezhivanie means, I notice that
>> >>>>>>> almost all
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>> bar
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>> one
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> now use it with an article. So, however that happened that is
>> >>>>>>> a
>> step
>> >>>>>>> forward, and people are aware of the differences in
>> >>>>>>> interpretation
>> and
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>> they
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> are being discussed. I think if we talk about "object" for a
>> >>>>>>> while,
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>> maybe
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>> this can be straightened out. I know the task of conceptual
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>> consistency
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>> in
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> our research community seems to be a hopeless task, but I am
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>> optimistic.
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>> Andy
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> >>>> ------------
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>> *Andy Blunden*
>> >>>>>>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> mike cole wrote:
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>> Those certainly seem like lively topics, Andy.
>> >>>>>>>> I had in mind specifically topics that are on peoples' minds
>> >>>>>>>> that
>> go
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> U
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>> discussed. I hope that the time spent at ISCAR produces a
>> >>>>> shower of
>> >>>>>>>> interesting ideas. Isn't that the object of such gatherings?
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> (Whatever
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>> object means!).  :-). The Nardi and Kaptelinin chapter on
>> >>>>> basics of
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> AT
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>> is
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> one good source, but it seems the problem is intractable!
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>> Mike
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>> On Saturday, October 4, 2014, Andy Blunden
>> >>>>>>>> <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>     I don't know, but it's hardly surprising if things were
>> >>>>>>>> a
>> little
>> >>>>>>>>     slow this last week as a lot of xmca-ers are also
>> >>>>>>>> iscar-ers
>> and
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> we
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>>     were all chatting like crazy in Sydney at the ISCAR Congress.
>> >>>>>>>>     Everyone (and I mean everyone, including every passenger on a
>> >>>>>>>>     Sydney suburban train as well) has their iPhones and
>> >>>>>>>> tablets
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> etc.,
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>>     so they could read/write on xmca, but I guess they were
>> >>>>>>>>     oversupplied with correspondents and protagonists.
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>     My impressions of CHAT research:
>> >>>>>>>>     On the positive side: very diverse, and at its best, sharp and
>> >>>>>>>>     critical in relation to the dominant political forces,
>> >>>>>>>> and
>> still
>> >>>>>>>>     way out in front in understanding the several developmental
>> >>>>>>>>     processes which all contribute to our actions (phylogenesis,
>> >>>>>>>>     historical genesis, mesogenesis, ontogenesis,
>> >>>>>>>> microgenesis),
>> and
>> >>>>>>>>     not focussing on just one. And I have to say it is a great
>> >>>>>>>>     community of research, relatively lacking in the
>> competitiveness
>> >>>>>>>>     and jealousy which infects most research communities.
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>     On the negative side:
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>        * Most CHAT people still have a concept of "society"
>> >>>>>>>> as
>> some
>> >>>>>>>>          homogeneous, abstract entity which introduces
>> >>>>>>>> problems
>> into
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> the
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>>          social situation on which they try to focus, i.e.,
>> >>>>> people
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> lack
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>> a
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>          viable social theory or the ability to use theory
>> >>>>>>> they
>> have
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> to
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>>          analyse the wider social situation in a differentiated way.
>> >>>>>>>>        * The idea of "unit of analysis" is almost lost to us.
>> Only a
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> small
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>          minority know what it means and use the idea in
>> >>>>>>> their
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> research.
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>>        * The concept of "object" is at the centre of a lot of
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> confusion;
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>>          few researchers using the concept are clear on what
>> >>>>> the
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> concept
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>>          is. This is related to an unwillingness to confront
>> >>>>> and
>> >>>>>>>>     attempt to
>> >>>>>>>>          resolve the methodological differences (I refer to
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> systematic
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>>          difference, rather than accidental misunderstandings)
>> >>>>> within
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> the
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>          CHAT community; perhaps it's fear of losing the
>> >>>>>>> relatively
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> civil
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>          relations between researchers - people prefer to let
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> differences
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>          just fester without openly discussing them. The old
>> >>>>>>> Soviet
>> >>>>>>>>          approach is gone, but perhaps we have gone too far
>> >>>>>>>> the
>> other
>> >>>>>>>>     way. :)
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>     Andy
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> >>>> ------------
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>>     *Andy Blunden*
>> >>>>>>>>     http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>> >>>>>>>>     <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>     mike cole wrote:
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>         Hi-- I assume you grabbed it from my erroneous response to
>> >>>>>>>>         someone who
>> >>>>>>>>         wrote backto xmca instead of me.
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>         Had dinner with tim ingold yesterday evening. Such an
>> >>>>>>>>         interesting and
>> >>>>>>>>         unassuming guy.
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>         Any ideas about how to broaden/enliven the xmca
>> discussion??
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>         mike
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>> --
>> >>>>>>>> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural
>> >>>>>>>> science
>> with
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> an
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>> --
>> >>>>> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science
>> >>>>> with
>> an
>> >>>>> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>
>> >>
>>
>
>
>
> --
> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science with an
> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.
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