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[Xmca-l] Re: The mirror has two candles

Translation. I have been translating a text from Spanish to English. Child's play compared to Russian to Korean, but it is amazingly complex, even so. 

On Oct 20, 2014, at 4:50 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

> Huw:
> Different people are engaged in this thread for different reasons.
> Martin, for example, wants to establish that consciousness is
> something we do, not someplace we are. Larry wants to establish that
> there are hidden links joining up almost everything he reads. Haydi
> wants to know what the precise borderline between inner speech and
> "pure thinking" is. Gary wants to know whether the Acheluan hand axe
> is somehow a doubling of the symmetry we notice in human faces. I
> think that you are interested in a rather functionalist reading of
> Leontiev that would allow him to be applied to AI concerns.
> But my concern is different. With the help of my very hard working
> graduate students, I bring out translations of Vygotsky's work in
> Korean. A lot of these works have been edited with a very heavy hand,
> and some of the annotations are innaccurate, speculative, and even
> revisionist. This means that interpretations based on these works tend
> to be partial, one-sided, and in places the very opposite of what I
> think Vygotsky intended.
> It's important for me to distinguish between problems of omission and
> sins of commission. For example, when I read "The Psychology of
> Preschool Children", edited by Zaporozhets and Elkonin in the early
> sixties, I notice that Vygotsky is defended. But there are certain
> glaring omissions: there are careful descriptions of the age periods
> (sometimes disguised as 'leading activities") but no mention of the
> Crises that divide them, there is a meticulous distinction between
> instinctive and cultural practices, but no discussion of the higher
> and lower psychological functions, there is a good deal of discussion
> of mediation, but nothing much on the distinctive role of speech (the
> example of a mediated activity is a prelinguistic child learning to
> use a spoon).
> This, along with their very respectful and appreciative reading of
> Vygotsky, does suggest to me that Zaporozhets and Elkonin are treading
> gingerly, trying their best to preserve Vygotsky in an early
> "instrumentalist" form, in the hope that the full-blown theory can
> someday be added before it is all lost to poor editing and annotation.
> And that is, in fact, what has happened; if you read Elkonin's
> writings from the seventies and especially Elkonin's work published in
> the post-Soviet period, you can read about the crisis, about the
> higher psychic functions, and even about the unique role of word
> meanings.
> Leontiev is a very different case. First of all, as we read in the
> essay, he does not present even the early Vygotsky in an accurate or
> even recognizable form; on the contrary, he is doing his very best to
> distort and even falsify the Vygotsky of "Consciousness as a Problem
> of the Structure of Behavior". Secondly, he is trying to supplant this
> pseudo-Vygotsky with recognizable Stalinist ideas: instead of the
> Crisis, the crisis-free assimilation of children to a
> contradiction-free socialist society; instead of linked but distinct
> lower and psychological functions, labor free of all 'idealist'
> alienation, and instead of word meaning, tool use. (I might add,
> instead of Marxist dialectics, a vulgar materialism, but I think that
> Andy has that covered.)
> Thirdly, and most important for me on an emotional level, Leontiev is
> not trying to protect his colleagues; he is vilifying them. As I said,
> I have seen this kind of behavior up close in 1989 and in the
> aftermath. It's not something I like to talk about (for one thing it
> is one of those unpleasant experiences that is almost impossible to
> describe without producing either admiration or incredulity in the
> hearer, and neither response is really to the point). But some day I
> should like to write about it, for in addition to the ugly, indecent
> falsehoods of people like our old Party Secretary and the
> understandable rage and violence of the relatives of the victims,
> there was (and it was far more common) the beautiful silence of decent
> ordinary people who simply refused to listen and waited (and are
> waiting still).
> It's not simply on an emotional level that this is important. Like
> Zaporozhets and Elkonin, Leontiev did outlive Lysenkoism and he did
> have the chance to put right some of the wrong that he does us in this
> essay, to once again place in our hands the slender reed of Vygotsky's
> thought that he almost broke. But he didn't do that. Why not? I think
> that in the case of Zaporozhets and Elkonin, it was easy--all they had
> to do was fill in some of the gaps they had left in the early sixties.
> But in the case of Leontiev, it would have involved self-reflection of
> which he was no longer capable and an about-face that he could not
> longer perform.
> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> On 20 October 2014 08:00, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi David,
>> I don't think anyone is going to argue against the paper's defamatory
>> quality.  Everything he says against LSV can be taken with a pinch of salt
>> if we assume he was trying to protect his colleagues.
>> What remains is therefore what is countered and proposed with respect to
>> the subject of the environment.
>> Best,
>> Huw
>> On 19 October 2014 23:38, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> First of all, a word of appreciation to Martin for his candle in the
>>> mirror and his delightful formulation of "Plump Materialism", and also
>>> to Michael for recognizing the beauty of the image and using it to
>>> revitalize a thread that was growing somewhat tiresome to me: no fault
>>> of the participants; it was my own inability to see past "fatalistic
>>> determinism", "captive to bourgeois theories", and ANL's other fatuous
>>> formulae. As Mike points out, this is not just name calling: these are
>>> blood libels.
>>> Secondly, let me put in a word for Andy's counter-blast. For those of
>>> you who have not read it; it is available on Andy's academia.edu page,
>>> and it's well worth a look:
>>> http://www.academia.edu/7511935/The_Problem_of_the_Environment._A_Defence_of_Vygotsky
>>> Thirdly--can I draw attention to the top of page fourteen of ANL's
>>> dishonest and dishonorable hatchet job? Here he rounds on Basov for
>>> non-Marxist, idealist notion that humans in some way "double" the
>>> natural environment. ANL returns to this theme at the bottom of the
>>> page where he says:
>>> "To the animal, however, any “artificial” object created by humans is
>>> simply
>>> a natural object, it is nature because the animal’s relation toward it
>>> will always
>>> be an instinctive relation. Thus, of course, in reality there is no
>>> doubling of the
>>> environment. The environment as a whole is transformed into a human
>>> environment,
>>> that is, for the human being, into a social environment, based on the
>>> fact that humans themselves relate to it in human terms, that is, as
>>> social humans."
>>> Note the use of "Thus"; it marks a shameless non sequitur. First of
>>> all, it is a non sequitur to say that because animals and very small
>>> children treat i-phones as natural objects, THEREFORE there is no
>>> doubling of the environment Secondly, it is a non sequitur to say that
>>> the environment "as a whole" becomes a human environment (because
>>> animals and infants do NOT see it that way??) without any trace of the
>>> natural environment. But the biggest non-sequitur is the least
>>> explicit: it is the insinuation that the process of social
>>> idealization of nature that we call enculturation is prima facie
>>> subversive of Marxism.
>>> Consider the following, from a great subversive of Marxism and primal
>>> plump materialist:
>>> "We pre-suppose labour in a form that stamps it as exclusively human.
>>> A spider conducts operations that resemble those of a weaver, and a
>>> bee puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells.
>>> But what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is
>>> this, that the architect raises his structure in imagination before he
>>> erects it in reality. At the end of every labour-process, we get a
>>> result that already existed in the imagination of the labourer at its
>>> commencement." (Capital, Vol 1, Chapter III, Part 7)
>>> What is THIS if not a doubling of reality--a mirror with two candles?
>>> David Kellogg
>>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>>> have a look:
>>> On 20 October 2014 00:15, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Here's an example memory paper abstract by Sereda (2011), titled "A
>>>> Theoretical Model of Memory
>>>> as a Mechanism for Systematically Organizing Individual Experience"
>>>> "In order to improve the explanatory potential of activity theory, this
>>>> article
>>>> proposes a theoretical model of human memory as a mechanism for
>>>> the systematic organization of individual experience, organization that
>>>> is an essential condition for performing future activity. The model rests
>>>> on the idea that the main factor in human memory is the motivational
>>>> and semantic sets of personality and thus orientation toward the future
>>>> (prospective orientation)."
>>>> The storehouse metaphor as used in psychology merely reflects a rather
>>> poor
>>>> approach.
>>>> Best,
>>>> Huw
>>>> On 19 October 2014 15:20, Glassman, Michael <glassman.13@osu.edu> wrote:
>>>>> Hi Larry,
>>>>> I renamed this thread because it seems to be taking a tangent from the
>>>>> very rich discussion on LSV and ANL, but perhaps it might circle back.
>>>>> Anyway, I thought Martin's very interesting illustration deserves a
>>> moment
>>>>> of fame.  I wonder if memory is the right word in current
>>> circumstance.  In
>>>>> U.S. psychology memory is very often viewed as a storehouse of
>>> information
>>>>> where you send your messages back to retrieve information when needed to
>>>>> apply to the current situation.  Do you think Pierce would see the
>>> overall
>>>>> process this way (did he actually talk about memory?)  For him it seems
>>> it
>>>>> would be part of a more active process of establishing relationships of
>>>>> that which came before with that which is currently being explored.
>>>>> Michael
>>>>> ________________________________________
>>>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu]
>>>>> on behalf of lpscholar2@gmail.com [lpscholar2@gmail.com]
>>>>> Sent: Sunday, October 19, 2014 6:40 AM
>>>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: units of analysis? LSV versus ANL
>>>>> Michael Glassman and Martin and How
>>>>> I want to ex-tend the exploration of *models* and *memories* and
>>>>> *contextualism* as linked in Michael’s rejoinder to Martin.
>>>>> Michael wrote “if ALL you can *see* [perceive] is what is IN the mirror
>>>>> [metaphor of reflection AS mirroring] how do you “know” there IS a
>>> mirror
>>>>> The IF IMPLIED is the ‘ALL’ .
>>>>> However, is that “all there IS” in *seeing*?
>>>>> IS “memory* also existent as an existent IN seeing?
>>>>> In other words, do *interpretants* ACTUALLY exist IN FACT? [as such]
>>>>> Umberto Eco suggests there is both ORPHIC knowing/seeing [when Picasso
>>>>> paints THAT PARTICULAR yellow shoe in a painting the SINGULARITY of THAT
>>>>> experience IS “orphic”
>>>>> POETS and artists are “biased” to privilege THIS WAY of knowing
>>> [Peirce's
>>>>> secondness as orphic and possibly orphaned]
>>>>> HOWEVER, Umberto Eco suggests that this orphic “knowing* is also
>>>>> *indicative* [indexical] of further *interpreting* AND THIS TYPE of
>>>>> *knowing* EX-TENDS Orphic knowing. [Peirce's tiredness]
>>>>> Now in Peirce's metaphysics THIS interpreting creating interpretants
>>> also
>>>>> is EXISTING as facts.
>>>>> Is this transforming orphic [what IS present] TO forming *interpretants*
>>>>> AS *something* that actually exists {through the interpreting process}
>>>>> INCLUDE memory but that IS NOT ALL.
>>>>> IS creative imagining potentially existent?  that goes BEYOND memory?
>>>>> I believe Umberto Eco’s question of a deeper knowing than orphic/orphan
>>>>> knowing *things-in-themselves* EX-tending BEYOND the orphic
>>> [secondness] to
>>>>> INCLUDE interpreting and forming actual *interpretants* [tiredness]
>>> must be
>>>>> considered within the memory process.
>>>>> This returns to *models* that are necessary but NOT ALL there *is*.
>>>>> The *relation* between *orphic* knowing and *interpreting* knowing
>>> seems a
>>>>> KEY question [and may ex-tend back into metaphysics?
>>>>> Larry
>>>>> Sent from Windows Mail
>>>>> From: Glassman, Michael
>>>>> Sent: ‎Saturday‎, ‎October‎ ‎18‎, ‎2014 ‎5‎:‎18‎ ‎PM
>>>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>>> 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.
>>>>> Michael
>>>>> ________________________________________
>>>>> 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.
>>>>> Martin
>>>>> 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).