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

Hi Martin,

That's a very interesting metaphor, but let me see if I can take it a step further.  Basically you seem to be saying that Vygotsky is making a mechanistic argument - I'm not talking about the more colloquial expression of mechanistic but the one that Pepper talks about in World Hypothesis.  You are looking into the mirror and seeing the reflection of a candle - but you are making the assumption that there must be a mechanism that is causing the reflection of the candle.  You cannot know this mechanism itself - it is too difficult to reach - but you can build models that bring us closer to understanding. This I think is almost exactly how Pepper discusses this root metaphor.  Our goal as scientists is to find the mediate description of the underlying mechanism.  This Pragmatists/Conextualists would say this is dualism - not the dualism you get from Formism where you depend on your mind to bring you closer to a known but unreachable ideal, but in the sense that there is this mechanism that exists that is somehow separate from and causing the reflection in the mirror.  So the Contextualist asks, if all you can see is what is in the mirror how do you know there is a mirror.  That is the only information you have and you have to base all interpretation of the world on that information - to suggest you are looking at a reflection is an assumption based on a belief system that there must be causing what you are seeing.  I think you are right, Vygotsky wants to assume the mirror, but in the end doesn't that suggest a dualism to his thinking.

From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] on behalf of Martin John Packer [mpacker@uniandes.edu.co]
Sent: Saturday, October 18, 2014 6:38 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: units of analysis? LSV versus ANL

Hi Michael,

LSV points out that no proper science sets out to study appearances. Every science studies entities that exist, in order to *explain*  appearance. One of his examples is from the science of optics. When we place a burning candle in front of a mirror there *appears* to be a second candle burning behind the mirror, or 'in' the mirror. The scientist doesn't study that second candle. What he or she studies is the first candle, and the mirror, in order to discover principles by which to explain why an 'image' of a second candle appears, apparently located 'in' the mirror.

It's the same with the mind. It *appears* to us (at least to those of us raised in western, scientific cultures) that our thoughts and feelings exist in a special, internal, subjective, hidden place that we call "the mind."  A scientific psychology, says LSV, needs to try to explain how that appearance is possible. It's not too difficult, in fact: our verbal thoughts, our private subvocal speech, is possible, first, because we can use vocal speech to direct our own actions and second, because a fibre bundle called the arcuate fasciculus forms between Broca's area and Wernicke's area (to considerably simply the neuroanatomy and neurofunctioning).  The appearance of a "mind in the head" is a *folk* psychology: it is simply one way, among several, in which people try to make sense of an experience that they have; it is the way our own psychological processes *appear* to us. Scientific psychology cannot study the mind, any more than it can study the second candle. It can, however, set out to *explain* the mind, and that is part of what LSV did.


On Oct 18, 2014, at 8:11 AM, Glassman, Michael <glassman.13@osu.edu> wrote:

>  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).