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[Xmca-l] Re: In defense of Vygotsky ["Sense and meaning" really means consciousness, which really means intellectualism]

Hi Andy,

Again thanks for more!

Here's the thing: I may be getting lost in understanding argument positions. 

Are you saying it is Leontiev, et al's position that thinking with signs and words are intellectual? 

Because, for me personally, thinking with signs and words involve both affect and intellect and I don't think they can be separated out. For me, a person's intelligence is the mediated unification of affect and intellect, what I believe you are calling consciousness.

I feel supported by my position with Vygotsky's discussion of word-meaning (znachenie slova), if I am understanding word-meaning properly.

Again, the words "meaning" and "significance" can have affective meaning and significance! :)  (is this the adjective? I want to say "affectual," to match "intellectual" but that isn't a word)

Now if for *you* these particular words have "intellectual connotations," perhaps this difference between you and I supports LSV's (and my earlier) point that affect and intellect are mediated and will therefore allow each person have a different and nuanced mix of meaning and significance for the same set of words and signs, even if we generally agree on a social meaning and significance, such as the meaning of a flag. 

This reminds me of the cultural differences regarding the meanings of color. One can't intellectualize red just by its perception. One can't have an affect of red either by perception alone (if one were to see red for the first time), its meaning and significance are socially, historically and culturally generated.

Furthermore, I agree with you that our "Western language" to describe the interior mind, if I am allowed to say that, is sparse. We know Freud reached into Greek mythology to give these concepts a handle. This is one reason I look to Eastern thought so I might learn how these dynamics are discussed. They do possess words for which we have none. I might also suggest there are relevant themes in these traditions that apply to Vygotsky's work. 

In fact, it might amaze us in the West to truly understand the immense literature and legacies on these topics of mind and self. It certainly amazes me. Of course that would be a huge project to be mediated between cultural elders and not a cultural tourist like myself. I only point out that there is something there and we are not the pioneers to wrangle with these problems of mind. 

I admit that to access these words, one must understand how metaphors are utilized. In rational-logical traditions, metaphors seem to be disagreeable. Also there is discussion of the spiritual, since the problems these traditions hoped to solve were spiritual problems, which may just be their historically-anchored approach to psychological realities. So, these barriers may explain the impasse.

But if words are tools, I'm sure we might borrow some and they wouldn't mind. 

Ha! a pun! "wouldn't mind" get it? :)



Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2014 12:02 AM

I would have said that this criticism is a deliberate misrepresentation,
except that Lydia Bozhovich makes the same charge of "intellectualism."
The charge hinges on phrases like "the significance  for the child" and
"the meaning for the child," etc., which etymologically suggest the use
of signs and words. Thinking with signs and words is intellect. But the
thing is that it is almost impossible for us to describe the
relationship of a person to their environment psychologically without
using words which evoke sign-relations. The relation is a psychological
one, not a conditioned-reflex, and the words we have for relations which
are mediated through consciousness tend to be words like "meaning" and
"significance" which have intellectual connotations. The preintellectual
stages of psychological development which Vygotsky himself theorised are
not built into the common language.

*Andy Blunden*

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]
> ---------------------------------------------------
> 4. ["Sense and meaning" really means consciousness, which really means intellectualism]
> (see original post below)
> ---------------------------------------------------
> Again a pothole. You say:
> "The child's relation to the environment is whatever is appropriate at
> their level of development, not necessarily if at all, an intellectual
> relationship, that's all that Vygotsky claims."
> I think know this, but what is ANL's critique against this? Is it that
> it is too "intellectual," which is possibly code for elitism or class?
> Sorry if I wasn't clear.