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

Dear all,
The biased pretension is that Vygotsky was absolutely alienated in regard to the concept of 'activity' . 
First , because Vygotsky died at an early time and did have too much upon his shoulders to resolve , not being able to read more of the 'beautiful sayings of Engels' like the one in which he stated that 'work created man' , he left a space for motley maneuverings and inserting all kinds of ideas from the West into his own original ideas and concepts which were nothing but local and native . Today , the 'rift' has become so deep not to be bridged by even a divine hand . Who invested so heavily on the rift ? His sacrificial industrious unfatiguable disciples ?? World politics , World decaying Capitalism , the number one horrendous criminal (Please have a look at Kobane , Syria , and at the whole Middle East areas and elsewhere in the World) for decades and decades tried to justify every act of onslaught , murder , plunder , terror , filth and dirt , under the banner of fear and threat of 'communism' and 'Stalinism' . West tried to make people forget the
 crimes of Hitlerism , Francoism , Tszarism and now while they try to incessantly ring in our own ears the terrifying crashing sound of the Big Bang of the Soviet Collapse , still they don't cease to adulterate the scientific findings and concepts with the dirt of Stalinism ; they don't have ears to hear Luria's invitation to pay tribute to the just one WHOLE GENERATION of giving and inspiring people who worked for their land ; they don't have ears to hear Davydov saying 'I'm a convinced Marxist' just two or three months before his homeland went to ruin and conspiracy and selfishness of three traitors as Presidents . They don't have ears to hear 'if all science then was Stalin-made , then yours is also Bush-made' and we laugh if you talk of the open society in which you live because ...  If Academics prefer to be away from politics , then please away from all politics !! Your administration uses 'double standards' . you please don't !! Please don't
 create such an atmosphere in which one cannot say as his opinion that 'Stalin was not the same as Hitler' --this once happened in the past with attacks and insults -- or 'Bush is no less than Stalin' . Your digestion for freedom and liberty should be great as Heavens !!
Second , Vygotsky believes in 'activity proper' ; please don't burden him with your own tendencies . He didn't like Americans to confiscate his own ideas ; he , first of all , credited his true disciples with his great heritage ! 
He just out of momentary negligence uses the word 'activity' with all kinds of names : speech activity , attention activity , sign activity , etc. and for 'activity proper' also he uses 'behaviour' , 'operation' , 'external and internal activity' , 'action , act' , etc. as he uses feeling , passion , emotion , etc without any precise distinction when he begins the discussion but ultimately he comes true with every aspect of his concepts . One cannot deny his 'redundancies' and 'overuses' . 
Third , please , if possible , read volume six , conclusion , word and act , and see where he is different from ANL .
He almost argues the way L does , except when and where he reaches the 'word' by which he means 'now the word becomes the act' . 
But is this not just a metaphor ? Could Vygotsky have believed that 'word' , 'discourse' , 'genre' , 'dialogue' , 'talk' coming out of 'activity' according to his strong undeniable irrefutable belief , had given 'word' prevalence and precedence  over 'material activity' , had driven this latter out of the domain , had announced itself not needy and quite free of 'material activity' ?? Always Primary ?? Yes , is this the case ??
Yes , I know all about its impact : organizing , communicating , cognizing , conceptualizing , sublimating , novel-forming , etc. etc. but let's remind ourselves of his ... IN THE BEGINNING ... IN THE END ... as things forgotten by his readers !! It seems that an allergy is to be found here that logically and unpolitically should be wiped out ; otherwise , there would not be so much room for its being libertarian and scientific !!

 From: ‪mike cole‬ ‪<mcole@ucsd.edu>‬
To: ‪"eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"‬ ‪<xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>‬ 
Sent: Wednesday, 29 October 2014, 17:52:54
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: In defense of Vygotsky ["Sense and meaning" really means consciousness, which really means intellectualism]


A couple of comments that i put in the text in red

On Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 8:26 AM, Lubomir Savov Popov <lspopov@bgsu.edu>

> Hi Annalisa,
> I was waiting a bit to see if someone else will chime in.
> If we refer to Soviet (now Russian) psychology:
> -- They prefer to talk about consciousness rather than mind.
> -- All psychological functions and states emerge in the process of human
> activity.
> --Consciousness is a major category in historical materialism and
> therefore has to be accepted as a major category by the social science
> disciplines. There are
 different interpretation of the concept of
> consciousness in different social science disciplines. However, they all
> had to refer to historical materialism. No one was bigger than historical
> materialism. Consciousness is also used in several ways in everyday life.
> But that is another story. The kinds of usage should not be mixed.
​At that time American psychologists could not talk about or think as
professionals about a category called consciousness.

I wrote a review of the Payne book about Rubenshtein a loooooooooooooong
time ago. I will try to find and reproduce as an artifact of one
of the two ways of thinking. ​

> Also:
> --LSV was sidelined pretty early by Rubinstein. The interest in LSV
> resurfaced in the 1980s, but was not too strong. ANL and his students were
> reigning and that time.

​Here you want to be more careful. The period of ANL's ascendancy declined
after 1966 and it was Rubensteinians who gained power. Epitome of that
counter-development in the appointment of Lomov to head of Academy
Institute, to be followed by Brushlinskii. ​

> --ANL had quite of a power struggle with Rubinstein. ANL and his
> students/protégés ruled the psychology domain in the USSR at their life
> time.
> ​ An overstatement as above.​
> -- Almost all textbooks in psychology after 1970 were written by the ANL
> circle. After 1970 Rubinstein was not published much and maybe not at all.
> The last psychology textbook by Rubinstein that I have seen was from the
> 1960s (first edition 1940).
> -- Rubinstein was the
 first (if memory serves) to formulate the principle
> of the unity of consciousness and activity. However, many sources claim he
> heavily used works of LSV.

​This is really news to me. Who claimed that and did anyone believe them?​

> Of course, all historical materialists hold to the principle that
> consciousness emerges in the process of activity; it is a product of
> activity and everyday life environment of the subject.
> ​It is so-znanie, with-knowledge, knowledge-with-an other. In my view,
> the residue of joint mediated actions-in-activity. All full
 of holes and
> gaps, but recountable.​
> Researchers from Russia can provide more precise account.
> ​that would be great. ​
> Best wishes,
> ​Mike (too)​

> Lubomir
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces+lspopov=bgsu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> xmca-l-bounces+lspopov=bgsu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Annalisa
> Aguilar
> Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2014 6:54 PM
> To: Andy Blunden; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: In defense of Vygotsky ["Sense and meaning" really
> means consciousness, which really means intellectualism]
> OK! I'm getting somewhere! Thank you for clarifying this term in the
> context of the controversy.
> So are you saying that ANL is saying that LSV is saying
 (sorry to be so
> convoluted) that there is an "already established intellect" in the infant
> and ANL is saying this assertion can only be preposterous?
> I'm sorry if I still haven't nailed it, and I hope you will forgive my
> persistence to understand this, but it seems pretty important.
> If I am understanding properly, this is why I believe (intuitively at this
> juncture), that "consciousness" has an imprecise definition between the
> parties and its word-meaning is constitutionally different between ANL and
> LSV, and I would want to better understand what LSV was referencing
 when he
> used the word.
> I think I can understand why ANL would have issue if he sees consciousness
> possible only if it is derived from activity.  If this is the case, then is
> it possible that this is a philosophical difference as to whether one
> believes mind to be present before consciousness, or one believes
> consciousness to be present before mind.
> Is that fair to say?
> In a largely materialistic rendering, mind would be first, I am guessing.
> Annalisa
> ________________________________________
> From: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
> Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2014 4:19 PM
> To: Annalisa Aguilar
> Cc: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [Xmca-l] Re: In defense of Vygotsky ["Sense and meaning"
> really means consciousness, which really means intellectualism]
> In this context,
 "intellectualism" does not mean "void of affect" or have
> anything to do with lack of affect.
> "Intellectualism" refers to a theorist who ascribes a capacity for
> intellectual activity to (for example) an infant, who would in fact not
> have developed the capacity for an intellectual relation to the world.
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> Annalisa Aguilar wrote:
> > Hi Andy!
> >
> > OK. I'm needing to fill in some blanks here.
> >
> > What is meant exactly by "intellectualism"? Or rather, what did ANL mean?
> >
> > When you say:
> >
> > [And no-one is saying that sign- and word-use, because it is
> intellectual, is therefore somehow lacking in affect.
> > No-one is saying that. The person is first a whole, and from that
> > whole, by reflection and analysis, we can abstract functions
> > "intellect" and "affect".]
> >
> > Perhaps I am responding to the word "intellectual" in the way it
> reflects back to me in my culture: that something or someone "intellectual"
> is void of affect (relatively speaking) and that is why those who spurn
> intellectuals do so. As such, "intellectuals" will sometimes speak/function
> at a level "above" most others, and this usually upsets people who do not
> speak/function on the same level.
> >
> > "Intelligence" is handled differently, though. It seems to me as a
> concept
 "intelligence" is more of whole cloth.
> >
> > "Intellect" (to me) is thinking without affect. It is rational and seeks
> to remove affect, with the "myth" that the products of thought are somehow
> "better, more pure" with this affect removed.
> >
> > I agree of course that the person is whole first, and that we abstract
> concepts to describe properties. But there has been a backlash from
> abstracting out. Isn't this why Descartes has been so problematic? Isn't
> this why Spinoza sought to understand where the emotions "come from" and
> what their value is?
> >
> > So given this, I ask the question again and circling back to the
> original charge in your paper, what does it mean for ANL to levy a charge
> of "intellectualism" upon LSV?
> >
> > TIA,
> >
> > Annalisa
> >
> >
> >
> > ________________________________________
> > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Andy Blunden
> > <ablunden@mira.net>
> > Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2014 3:10 PM
> > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: In defense of Vygotsky ["Sense and meaning"
> > really means consciousness, which really means intellectualism]
> >
> > Annalisa, it is Leontyev who is pinning the charge of "intellectualism"
> > on Vygotsky because he ascribes "meaning" and "significance" to
> > children, and therefore sign-use. I am not saying that sign-use is not
> > intellectual though. And no-one is saying that sign- and word-use,
> > because it is intellectual, is therefore somehow lacking in affect.
> > No-one is saying that. The person is first a whole, and from that
> > whole, by reflection and analysis, we can abstract functions like
> "intellect"
> > and "affect".
> >
> > Andy
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> > --
> > *Andy Blunden*
> > http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> >
> >
> > Annalisa Aguilar wrote:
> >
> >> 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? :)
> >>
> >> Best,
> >>
> >> Annalisa
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> ________________________________________
> >> 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
> >> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> >> ---
> >> *Andy Blunden*
> >> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> >>
> >>
> >> 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.
> >>>
> >>> --end

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