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[Xmca-l] Re: units of analysis? LSV versus ANL

It seems to me the question is which is primary (although perhaps Leontiev wasn't that upfront about it for the political reasons Mike suggests).  Are we driven to be part of a community driven by our natural inclination towards sociability (a word I have been struggling a lot with lately, coming from communications research  but also in a different way from the Russian socio-biologists such as Kropotkin) and derive out activities from our roles in these communities (theoretically I guess so we can stay part of the community)?  Or do we engage in goal oriented activity, and develop our social interconnections out of and through these collaborative activities (sociability by design perhaps).  A double edge sword both it seems to me no matter which of these positions you choose.  For instance is we make cultural mediating systems, including language, primary, do we trap individuals within the demands of the cultural system - which may not always be in the best interests of all its members (yes, I know the argument that somebody from outside the cultural system really can't make judgments about those functioning well within that system).  But if we take goal oriented action as primary are we giving over too much to demagogues or those who believe they are exceptional and therefore should force others into subjugation.  There are no right answers, simply choices, and many times those choices are historically and/or context dependent.

I think the same thing is true concerning the issue of consciousness.  I sort of feel like (at this point) Vygotsky did open himself up for being critiqued for going inside the head.  It was a choice, I don't think he was willing to give up the idea of individual development (which I think you have to do if you are going to escape dualism - because what develops if you can't say there is something inside the head that develops (remember I am suggesting individual development here).  Vygotsky didn't solve the dualism puzzle, I'm pretty convinced nobody has to this point.  He made a choice.  The fact that ANL criticized him for this choice isn't that surprising.  Pierce, who many want to connect to some of Vygotsky's ideas - for good reason I might add - would I  believe have mocked Vygotsky mercilessly for his ideas on consciousness.  He mocked Dewey - and by extension Mead - for much less.  So much so that Dewey refused to refer to Pragmatism as Pragmatism for a number of years because Pierce named it.  But Pierce and the Pragmatists made their own choices, including giving up individual development which has played hell in trying to implement these ideas in education.  Again choices - sometimes incredibly difficult to make, and sometimes we go back and forth on them, which I think is okay.  As somebody who thinks individuals develop but it also a tremendous fan of Pragmatism this can be incredibly frustrating.

Anyway, my choice to make this post.

From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] on behalf of Martin John Packer [mpacker@uniandes.edu.co]
Sent: Friday, October 17, 2014 2:43 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: units of analysis? LSV versus ANL


Am I reading correctly this extract that you have highlighted ?  ANL says that LSV saw verbal communication occurring under conditions of activity, whereas ANL himself proposes that activity occurs under conditions of language and communication. Put this way, both formulations seem incorrect. First, speech is a form of activity; second, (nonverbal) activity can circumscribe speech, and speech can circumscribe activity. That is to say, there is a relation of mutuality between the two. What am I missing?


On Oct 17, 2014, at 12:58 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:

> Thus, Vygotsky’s proposition that consciousness is a product of the child’s
> verbal communication under conditions of his activity and in relation to
> the material reality that surrounds him must be turned around: the
> consciousness of a child is a product of his human activity in relation to
> objective reality, taking place under conditions of language and under
> conditions of verbal communication.