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[Xmca-l] Re: how to broaden/enliven the xmca discussion
- To: Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: how to broaden/enliven the xmca discussion
- From: Greg Thompson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Sat, 11 Oct 2014 15:01:04 -0600
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Andy, Mike, et al,
I think that the general form of the argument that Vygotsky presents in his
"the Problem of the Environment" seems to me to speak very powerfully to
the assumptions that underlie this kind of thinking:
The author assumes that all would be well in education if only educational
researchers would do what the medical and economic researchers do and base
all knowledge off of RCT's (Randomly Controlled Trials). I certainly feel
that there is some value in RCT's, but there is more value in thinking
about things like 'value' and 'context' as rich and polysemous.
Check out the first example in the article and tell me: would you want to
spend 8 hours a day, for 8 months in a classroom with bare walls? Seems
like the experimenters are missing something...
The *meaning* of life perhaps?
On Fri, Oct 10, 2014 at 6:29 PM, Andy Blunden <email@example.com> wrote:
> I was glad that I re-read "Problem of the environment."
> The discussion of the 3 siblings takes up a smaller proportion of the
> article than I had remembered.
> Vygotsky doesn't seem to say much about perezhivanie except that obvious
> fact that it represents a *relation* between the person and the
> environment, and he says this in a variety of ways. I had not well
> remembered what he said about the development of the 3 siblings - each
> suffered some kind of pathology as a result of the perezhivanie occasioned
> by the mother's drunkenness, but the pathology was *different* in each
> case. And he *does* say quite explicitly that perezhivanija are units of
> analysis, and I gather it is a unit for analysis of personality
> development, and therefore of personality (as ambiguous as that word is).
> But there is no elaboration of perezhivanie which allows us to understand
> how much of the cultural load carried by the word in the Russian language
> is intended to be incorporated in the scientific concept - this is left
> But the article also includes Vygotsky's important reflections about the
> presence of the "ideal form" in the environment and how this makes
> ontogenetic development unique among all forms of development. And he also
> includes a statement of the "law of cultural development" that all the
> higher psychological functions originally manifest themselves as forms of
> the child's collective behaviour.
> I still think it's a great article, though one would have loved Vygotsky
> to have elaborated more on some points.
> *Andy Blunden*
> mike cole wrote:
>> I had never thought of the meaning/value connection, David. Thank Mr
>> Hicheol for me!
>> I need to read more about tema which is not a term I am familiar with
>> being used in this context before.
>> I gather that the idea of reading the two articles on the problem of the
>> environment proved uninteresting. As a sign of my decriptude I had totally
>> forgotten that Andy had written a whole essay about the contrast because I
>> had it compartmentalized as part of a discussion among Russians that we
>> have been poking our noses in to. I would not recommend starting with
>> Andy's essay because it might discourage reading the two articles
>> themselves. I have read the Vygotsky over a couple of times with special
>> focus on question of units of analysis arising from one of David's earlier
>> Perhaps its only me, but when our conversations quickly spiral into three
>> more heavy tomes to read just to get near what the note writer is
>> suggesting, and when it involves Husserl, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty
>> (whose work, at least, i know a little about!), I get to feeling
>> overwhelmed. I was hoping that maybe a sharp contrast and a discussion that
>> focused right on it, might be useful.
>> No stopping the racing train, i guess.
>> On Fri, Oct 10, 2014 at 2:40 PM, David Kellogg <firstname.lastname@example.org
>> <mailto:email@example.com>> wrote:
>> When we were translating "Thinking and Speech", one of our old
>> Marxists, Mr. Bae Hicheol, pointed out that "znachenie" can also be
>> translated as "value", and that "sense" and "signification" can easily
>> be understood along the lines of Marx's analysis of the commodity into
>> a use value and an exchange value. I think this is precisely
>> Volosinov's model for "tema" and "znachenie": "tema" is the use value
>> of a word in a concrete act of thinking and speech, while "znachenie"
>> is an abstraction (thus more stable than "tema") created by the
>> process of exchange itself. There are limits to the analogy, of
>> course, but it is certainly not the case that use value is "private"
>> while exchange value is "public".
>> David Kellogg
>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>> On 10 October 2014 23:01, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org
>> <mailto:email@example.com>> wrote:
>> > On the contrary. It was quite explicit.
>> > The first slide showed two columns. On the left were the were
>> the Russian
>> > and German words for "personal meaning" and the inadequate
>> English word,
>> > sense, on the right the Russian and German words for objective
>> or public
>> > meaning and the inadequate English word, meaning.
>> > The next slide illustrated this dualism graphically with public
>> and private
>> > domains represented.
>> > The whole point was the Cartesian problem of the relation
>> between the two.
>> > It seems that the word "dualism" is not a "dirty word" where he
>> comes from,
>> > and the idea of theorising social change, which was a theme of 2
>> of the 4
>> > keynote speeches, was also not a priority for him.
>> > His Oral presentation (immediately after mine on the Thursday)
>> was devoted
>> > to representation of the autoregulation processes of social and
>> > psychological systems.
>> > Andy
>> > *Andy Blunden*
>> > http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>> > Martin John Packer wrote:
>> >> Did Dmitry simply not recognize the dualism in the theory he was
>> >> presenting, Andy?
>> >> Martin
>> >> On Oct 10, 2014, at 7:26 AM, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org
>> <mailto:email@example.com>> wrote:
>> >>> You are quite right Martin, that it was my report of Dmitry's
>> speech that
>> >>> was being referred to and also correct to chide me for irony.
>> Irony is
>> >>> really out of place in discussing such complex questions.
>> However, Dmitry
>> >>> was not criticising his grandfather's theory; he was
>> continuing it. When I
>> >>> said that I didn't think that such a stark dualism was a
>> fruitful place from
>> >>> which to begin a discussion of meaning, he didn't really see
>> the point of my
>> >>> remark, simply agreeing that there could be local or regional
>> meanings which
>> >>> departed from the norm. So the irony, I admit, was all mine,
>> and I apologise
>> >>> for inappropriate use of irony in this instance.
>> >>> Andy
>> >>> *Andy Blunden*
>> >>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>> >>> Martin John Packer wrote:
>> >>>> Just to reduce confusion, I want to point out that it was
>> Andy who
>> >>>> provided this account of Dmitry Leontiev's presentation at
>> ISCAR, not me.
>> >>>> And I think Andy was rejecting the argument. In fact, if I
>> >>>> correctly (there was a lot of irony in Andy's message!), D.
>> Leontiev was
>> >>>> both summarizing and criticizing a position that his father
>> (A. N. Leontiev)
>> >>>> had made. Martin
>> >>>> On Oct 10, 2014, at 3:35 AM, Rod Parker-Rees
>> >>>> <R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk
>> <mailto:R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk>> wrote:
>> >>>>> I would challenge Martin's account of Dmitry Leontiev's
>> argument that
>> >>>>> meaning is objectively fixed to 'what is' - 'irrespective
>> of one's personal
>> >>>>> relation to it' - yes, znachenie - common sense or agreed
>> meaning is more
>> >>>>> 'objective' than smysl but it is still socially constructed
>> - meanings are
>> >>>>> agreed by dint of their common use (what people do 'as a
>> rule') rather than
>> >>>>> because they reflect an absolute objectivity.
>> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science with an
>> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology
882 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602