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


I am not sure why  you argue that consciousness  should be thought of as consc-ious-ness , since the root, 'conscire' is clearly itself a compound (con-scire - know together/know in common - be privy to).  'Understand' also has its origins in a use of 'under' to mean 'among' (as in 'under certain circumstances') so this too refers to the shared nature of understanding - not just knowing something but also knowing how it is known by others (and who knows it and who doesn't).  My own understanding of 'mind' is something close to an internalised awareness of how things are known, making for very indistinct boundaries between what is our 'own' thought and what is remembered, reconstructed or (often unwittingly) borrowed from others.

Among older people it is not uncommon to hear something one has recently said returned as if it had appeared in the speaker's mind as an original thought.  I think our (relatively recent) preference for thinking of our thoughts as spontaneously generated 'in' our brains may allow us to overlook how much of our thinking (and our feeling about our thinking) is grounded in a history of social experience. I think we have touched on the ideas of Julian Jaynes in this forum in the past and I think his ideas are relevant here - as might be Karen Barad's arguments about the moveable nature of 'agential cuts' between what we think/feel is 'inside me' and what we put 'outside' as 'my environment'.

All the best,


-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Martin John Packer
Sent: 29 October 2014 11:22
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: In defense of Vygotsky ["Sense and meaning" really means consciousness, which really means intellectualism]

Hi Annalisa,

In Germany the social sciences are still known today as the "Geisteswissenschaften," and what would be called in English 'philosophy of mind' is "Philosophie des Geistes."

The root of English "consciousness" is the Latin "conscire," 'to be privy to,' so its components are consc-ious-ness, not con-scio-usness.

The word that LSV uses that is generally translated as 'consciousness' is "soznanie." Back in 2007 there was a discussion here of that term. "Mind in Society" was an edited compilation of LSV's texts, and so the title was not his.


On Oct 28, 2014, at 11:40 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:

> Andy seems to have a good story of how "consciousness" came into usage and that this usage is from the German. Seems like a reasonable explanation. Given that Freud and other prominent psychologists were German, as was Marx and various other muscular philosophers of the 19th Century, it makes sense. Regardless of how engrained it is, for me, it doesn't seem like a good use of the word, but that is me. I'm not attempting to change anyone's consciousness on that. Just because mind means "spirit" in German, seems like a bad reason to give up using "mind" in English. It's almost as if "mind" has become a profanity.


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