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[Xmca-l] Re: In defense of Vygotsky [[The fallacy of word-meaning]



Andy on "The ability to correctly reproduce things like 4+7=11 is not in my
experience any evidence that a child has grasped what + or = means ..."
Yes, teachers have taught these symbols with finality because that is what
the syllabus says. In other words, as absolute that will
remains fossilized in meaning.  If I recall correctly, my friend wrote his
masters project in mathematics on the equal sign.  It was an eye opener.

On 23 October 2014 15:49, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Mathematics today is nothing like it was 300 years ago, Carol, even if it
> is in a South African elementary school. And the teacher wouldn't accept it
> if Johnny said that apes had evolved from human either or that gravity went
> clockwise.  The ability to correctly reproduce things like 4+7=11 is not in
> my experience any evidence that a child has grasped what + or = means, and
> certainly no evidence that they have any grasp of mathematics or even
> number. Of course, we might take the view that they never will anyway, so
> being able to add is good enough for them.
>
> But if we take the view that it is worthwhile that a child learn what
> science is and what mathematics is about, then in my view, the problems are
> essentially the same whichever science it is.
>
> Of course, in general, the attitude a teacher takes to their material is
> that it is objectively true and the kids should come to know it. But this
> stance or attitude to knowledge, or science, is a very poor preparation for
> adult life and citizenship. I don't see mathematics in principle as being
> an exception. Perhaps a little teaching of the history of mathematics would
> help? I don't know.
>
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>
>
> Carol Macdonald wrote:
>
>> Andy
>>
>> I realise that, but it much more robust than orthodox science; i.e. we
>> are still doing the same maths as 300 years ago, where normal science is
>> very different indeed.
>> If Johnny said that 4+7=10, the teacher is not going to accept that, is
>> she?
>>
>> Carol
>>
>> On 23 October 2014 10:02, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:
>> ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>
>>     Carol, mathematics is a natural science like any other.
>>     It is neither the absolute truth nor merely social convention.
>>
>>     Andy
>>     ------------------------------------------------------------
>> ------------
>>     *Andy Blunden*
>>     http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>     <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>
>>
>>     Carol Macdonald wrote:
>>
>>         Julian, Andy
>>
>>         I think arithmetic is something of a test case. Just as word
>>         meaning
>>         changes over time in a dynamic way, as recognised by
>>         linguists, maths
>>         truths don't. It would be difficult to argue that maths truths
>>         of basic
>>         arithmetic have changed over the centuries. I don't know about
>>         maths truths
>>         of a higher order.
>>
>>         Sorry if I use the terms arithmetic and maths interchangeably;
>>         it's a South
>>         African usage here in basic education.
>>
>>         Carol
>>
>>         On 23 October 2014 08:33, Julian Williams
>>         <julian.williams@manchester.ac.uk
>>         <mailto:julian.williams@manchester.ac.uk>>
>>
>>         wrote:
>>
>>
>>             Andy
>>
>>             Yes, just so,  this is why I go to social theory eg Marx
>>             and Bourdieu to
>>             find political-economic contradictions within and between
>>             activities.
>>
>>             But before we go there have we finally dispensed with the
>>             notion in
>>             Vygotsky's Perezhivanie paper that the situation or
>>             environment is given
>>             and the same for all, and the final form of development is
>>             given in a
>>             final, given 'ideal' form right from the beginning ( being
>>             then associated
>>             with an already given social plane).
>>
>>             I'm happy enough to accept that this is a false  and
>>             undialectical reading
>>             of Vygotsky (after all who knows how the concept of
>>             perezhivanie might have
>>             matured in his hands)...
>>
>>             To return to my case - arithmetic. Many will say this
>>             exists in ideal form
>>             in the culture and all that needs to be done by
>>             development is to bring the
>>             child into the culture... Then the child is 'schooled'...
>>             Passive, lacking
>>             in agency, often failed, and at best made obedient to the
>>             cultural legacy.
>>             AsBourdieu says, through processes in school the class
>>             system is
>>             reproduced, and this is enculturation into the cultural
>>             arbitrary.
>>
>>             Julian
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>             On 23 Oct 2014, at 07:08, "Andy Blunden"
>>             <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>
>>
>>                 No, the point is that for ANL "meaning" refers to the
>>                 one true meaning
>>
>>             of something. He does not allow that the meaning of
>>             something may be
>>             contested, and that a meaning may be contested because of
>>             heterogeneity in
>>             society, different social classes, genders, ethnic groups,
>>             social movements
>>             and so on. For ANL there is only the one true meaning of
>>             something which
>>             "everyone knows" or individual, personal meanings, which
>>             are therefore
>>             taken to be subjective.
>>
>>                 Andy
>>                 ------------------------------
>> ------------------------------------------
>>                 *Andy Blunden*
>>                 http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>                 <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>
>>
>>
>>                 Annalisa Aguilar wrote:
>>
>>                     This continues and extends from my original post
>>                     concerning Andy's
>>
>>             breakdown of ANL vs. LSV. There are about 8 points
>>             total... [copypasta is a
>>             starch of art]
>>             --------------------------------------------------- 6. [The
>>             fallacy of word-meaning] (see original post below)
>>             --------------------------------------------------- You
>>             say: "ANL believes
>>             that motivation determines perception. The norm of
>>  perception, the "true"
>>             meaning of an object, is therefore the meaning  it has for
>>             the community as
>>             a whole. I am questioning the validity of this concept of
>>             "community as a
>>             whole" in this context." So is it the case that
>>             word-meaning is denied by
>>             ANL because meaning and symbols "must be" cohesive across
>>             the culture and
>>             cannot have personal or spontaneous meaning? I can see the
>>             reason
>>             politically to emphasize this, if the State is sanctioned
>>             as the sole
>>             arbiter of meaning. --- clip from previous post below Wed,
>>             22 Oct 2014
>>             06:28:48 +0000 Annalisa wrote:
>>
>>                         _6th charge_: The fallacy of word-meaning
>>                         ---------- ANL believes that
>>
>>             the mental representation in a child's awareness must
>>             _correspond_ directly
>>             to the object in reality, and not just perceptually, but
>>             also how the
>>             object may relate and associate to other objects and their
>>             meanings. The
>>             example is a table. Because of this definition of, what I
>>             will call here
>>             for convenience (i.e., my laziness) "object-awareness",
>>             ANL takes exception
>>             with LSV's rendering of a _single word_ to stand as a
>>             generalization to
>>             reference the meaning of the word and as an independent unit
>>             (word-meaning). Furthermore, ANL disagrees with the
>>             existence of these
>>             word-meanings, _as units_, but he also disagrees that they
>>             are what
>>             construct consciousness as a whole. ANL can say this
>>             because he considers
>>             consciousness and intellect to be synonymous. ----------
>>
>>                             Andy's reply to #6 above: ANL believes
>>                             that motivation determines
>>
>>             perception. The norm of perception, the "true" meaning of
>>             an object, is
>>             therefore the meaning it has for the community as a whole.
>>             I am questioning
>>             the validity of this concept of "community as a whole" in
>>             this context.
>>
>>                 --end
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> Carol A  Macdonald Ph D (Edin)
>> Developmental psycholinguist
>> Academic, Researcher,  and Editor Honorary Research Fellow: Department of
>> Linguistics, Unisa
>>
>>
>>
>>
>


-- 
*Patrick Jaki*







*P. O Box 505 WitsJohannesburg2050South Africa*