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



Your point about the situation changing as a result of child's response to
it (presumably conditioned by its interpretation and accompanying
perezhivanie) seems well taken, Julian.
mike

On Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 12:16 PM, Julian Williams <
julian.williams@manchester.ac.uk> wrote:

> Mike
>
> Just responding to the first point here.
>
> I said this:
>
> > 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).
>
> Then You respond  with this:
>
> > WHAT? Isn't the core idea that each of the three kids in the initial
> > alcoholic mom story that perezhivanie is a particular relationship
> between
> > the individual and the situation?
> >
>
> I think this is what Vygotsky seems to say, and your interpretation seems
> right... And I think it's a problem - (not sure that Leontiev saw the
> problem in just the way I do.... And the emotions Leontievs paper raises
> means I prefer to stand alone on this).
>
> IF the 'situation' is the same for each kid, then the difference in
> perezhivanie will be due solely to their different stages of development,
> OK.  But if the relationship is dialectical, one can surely observe that
> actually the situation/activity is partly due to and responsive to the
> acting child... The mother - even when sober - behaves differently to each
> child, perhaps being angered by the bed-wetting that the youngest exhibits
> (causing her work and a sense of guilt?) as a result of the stress on the
> child, etc etc. so the child's stage of development becomes a factor in the
> context of the situation of the family...
>
> I don't think anyone argues with this dialectic in the context of
> 'activity', do they? I'm suggesting we insist on the same dialectic in the
> unit of Perezhivanie, or if we don't we will be in trouble.
>
> Julian
>
> > Second, regarding  *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 raised concerns early on about this formulation. On the one hand, it is
> > true (in so far as the ideal is not seen as "the perfected/never to be
> > changed).It is only the given, ideologically and historically shaped
> "ideal
> > of the group at the given time". How long it remains and how widely it is
> > dispersed is up for grabs. For deaf, home signing kids to be brought
> > together in a school setting where they, collectively, "acquire", use and
> > transform the "ideal" that they encounter, depending upon which
> generation
> > of local signers they encounter.
> >
> > My concern grew precisely along the lines that worry Julian. But the
> notion
> > of "the ideal" as not an historically evolved cultural understanding
> seems
> > to me to play too easily into totalitarian modes of thought. On the other
> > hand, some sorts of ideals seem to have such a long life and seem so
> useful
> > to us, that they are "as if" unchanging. So, for a (relatively) long
> time,
> > English can be considered a "mature language." Its hard to see how next
> > generations of kids change the language in a single generation. But for
> > sure it happens and is happening all the time. If you doubt it, imagine
> > your grandmother saying something like "Well,if you are not down with
> that,
> > just google it."  Any acquaintance with the history of English from is
> > precarious beginnings makes the same point on a longer time scale.
> >
> > mike
> >
> > On Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 9:24 AM, Julian Williams <
> > julian.williams@manchester.ac.uk> wrote:
> >
> >> Andy:
> >>
> >> Now I feel we are nearly together, here. There is no 'final' form even
> of
> >> simple arithmetic, because it is (as social practices are) continually
> >> evolving.
> >>
> >> Just one more step then: our conversation with the 7 year old child
> about
> >> the truth of 7plus 4 equals 10 is a part of this social practice, and
> >> contributes to it....? The event involved in this Perezhivanie here
> >> involves a situation that is created by the joint activity of the child
> >> with us?
> >>
> >> Peg: Germ cell for the social practice of mathematics... I wonder if
> there
> >> is a problem with Davydov's approach, in that it requires a
> specification
> >> of the final form of the mathematics to be learnt (a closed curriculum).
> >> But let me try: One candidate might be the 'reasoned justification for a
> >> mathematical use/application to our project' ... Implies meaningful
> verbal
> >> thought/interaction, and collective mathematical activity with others.
> Not
> >> sure how this works to define your curriculum content etc.
> >>
> >> Julian
> >>
> >>
> >> On 23 Oct 2014, at 16:28, "Peg Griffin" <Peg.Griffin@att.net> wrote:
> >>
> >>> And thus the importance of finding a good germ cell for mathematics
> >> pedagogy
> >>> -- because a germ cell can "grow with" and "grow" the current "social
> >>> practice of mathematics." Whether someone agrees with the choice of
> germ
> >>> cell made by Davidov (or anyone else), a germ cell needs to be
> >> identified,
> >>> justified and relied on to generate curriculum content and practice,
> >> right?
> >>> PG
> >>>
> >>> -----Original Message-----
> >>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
> >>> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
> >>> Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2014 10:35 AM
> >>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> >>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: In defense of Vygotsky [[The fallacy of
> >> word-meaning]
> >>>
> >>> Julian,
> >>> The claim that the ideal exists in the social environment from the
> >> beginning
> >>> is quite consistent, indeed relies upon, the claim that the ideal is
> >> being
> >>> continuously subject to transformation, that is, that mathematicians
> are
> >>> active developing the content of mathematics in the context of the
> >> problems
> >>> and resources the community is generating. Were this not the case, it
> >> would
> >>> be very difficult (though not impossible) for kids to acquire a
> >> mathematical
> >>> disposition.
> >>>
> >>> I think the basic ontogenetic principle fully applies to mathematics.
> >>> But the ideal is certainly not the absolute truths of arithmetic taught
> >> in
> >>> South African elementary schools. The ideal is the *social practice of
> >>> mathematics*. That is, of course, by its very nature, continually
> >> evolving
> >>> and transforming. The ideal is a pair of shifting goal posts.
> >>>
> >>> Andy
> >>>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >>> *Andy Blunden*
> >>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> Julian Williams wrote:
> >>>> Andy/Carol
> >>>>
> >>>> I would like to expand a bit on Andy's point -
> >>>>
> >>>> First, I have often had very interesting discussions with children who
> >>> work out that 7+4 = 10 ... this is usually accomplished by a 'counting
> >> on'
> >>> method, which begins with the 7 ("1") and goes 7 ("1"),8 ("2") ,9 ("3")
> >> ,10
> >>> "4- there we are, 10!" ...
> >>>>
> >>>> 7 --   8 --- 9 -- 10
> >>>> 1 ...  2 ... 3 ... 4
> >>>>
> >>>> Similarly 10 - 4 = 7 etc.
> >>>>
> >>>> (It doesn't really matter whether the teacher accepts the answer or
> >>>> not - the kids keep getting the answer 10... and we have data to prove
> >>>> it; until one day they are told they are hopeless and its time for
> >>>> them to leave and go down the mines/factory. See Billy Connolly's
> >>>> youtube hit  on 'algebra'..)
> >>>>
> >>>> Second: Im pleased to say that the best arithmetic I am seeing in
> >> schools
> >>> now bears almost no relation to that I experienced 50 odd years ago as
> a
> >>> learner, and that I taught as a teacher  30 years ago... although there
> >>> seems still to be a lot that hasn't changed as much as Id like. Im
> >> thinking
> >>> of a lesson wherein different groups of children modelled their
> 'proofs'
> >>> that 3x28 = 84 using various methods, tools, etc.
> >>>>
> >>>> So Im afraid the story that arithmetic already exists in some ideal
> >>>> form in the social - cultural plane (eg in adult practices?), and so
> >>>> can/has to be somehow made present for the youngster in their earlier
> >>>> stages of development (if that's what Vygotsky really meant) is far
> >>>> too simple for me, and at its worst leads to terrible schooling
> >>>> practices, where there is no room for a child's intelligent argument
> >>>> that 7 + 4 really equals 10
> >>>>
> >>>> :-)
> >>>>
> >>>> Julian
> >>>>
> >>>> Andy: my sleight of hand here is that I translate your formulation of
> >> what
> >>> leontiev says "there is one true object/ive and the kids should come to
> >> know
> >>> it" into Vygotsky's " ideal form of arithmetic" where child development
> >> must
> >>> end up... thus your critique of Leontiev becomes my complaint about
> >>> Vygtosky's perezhivanie paper. Im sure you will say "not fair"?
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> -----Original Message-----
> >>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
> >>>> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
> >>>> Sent: 23 October 2014 14:50
> >>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> >>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: In defense of Vygotsky [[The fallacy of
> >>>> word-meaning]
> >>>>
> >>>> 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
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
> > --
> > It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science with an
> > object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.
>
>


-- 
It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science with an
object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.