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[Xmca-l] Re: Higher Mental Functions



Great technique, Denise. Adapting the method of dual stimulation Engestrom uses in workplaces, I think?

Vygotsky was a bit hard on the idea of "words being Tools" etc. He says: 'True, such common expressions like “language is a tool of thinking,” “auxiliary devices of memory” (/aides de memoire),/ “internal technique,” “technical auxiliary device” or simply auxiliary devices with respect to any psychological operation /(Geistestechnik – “/spiritual technique,” “intellectual tools,” and many others), are found in abundance among psychologists, are devoid of any specific content, and have scarcely any meaning beyond a simple metaphoric, picturesque expression of the fact that some objects or operations or others play an auxiliary role in the mental activity of man.'

He says the analogy works in two respects - both tools and signs are used in mediated activity, and both are artificial, i.e., produced by human beings for the purpose. But he emphasises that their function is opposite: tool-mediated actions are directed outwards at controlling nature, sign-mediated actions are directed inwards, at psychologically controlling behaviour, whether one's own or another's.

He emphasises that the function of the sign rests on the natural foundation of "signalisation" in the brain, that is to say, the sign is used for the purpose of creating new connections in the brain. So that's what you're doing with this procedure - you're reprogramming people's brains and giving them images and words they can use to further reprogram their own brains.

Andy
http://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/1931/research-method.htm
------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Andy Blunden*
http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/


Denise Shelley Newnham wrote:
Dear All

I will be presenting a paper in KL city December 2014 about bullying and suicide. I carried out formative resesarch with 35 migrant adlolescents. There were three phases:1) they answered a questionnaire adapted from Cozier and Dimmock; 2) two weeks later I gave them a disposible camera and asked them to take a photo of others that they found different (ethical procédures were followed). We then met and I filmed whilst they discussed the why of their images. The images did not portrhay (to my mind) anythink unusual. However, if a person had replied that he or she suffered from being called dirty and ugly etc they would describe the person in the image as looking dirty, smelly and ugly. I played extracts of their discussion back to them at a later interval and they were given their questionnaires to read. The result was spectacular and they as a group designed a work group that would from then on help others that were suffering from the same problems.

I am sharing this as I am really interested by the connection between what forms of bullying they recieved and the way that they had made sense of this and then projected it onto another. Two of the persons did not do this, their images were neutral and their comments positive, however, in their questionnaire they confessed to thinking at regular intervals that the only way out was suicide

So I find the discussion above interesting about words being Tools, signs, knowing their genesis etc in order to work out sense making and development

Denise

2014-11-21 2:36 GMT+01:00 mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu <mailto:mcole@ucsd.edu>>:

    Yes, this is something that all of us should keep in mind.
    mike

    " the relationship
    between tools and signs is that they both belong to a logical
    category, mediating activity, but their precise structural, functional
    and genetic relationship has to be worked out.
    ​"

    mike​

    On Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 4:03 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
    <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    > Thanks David. That sounds like it. I knew I could rely on you. :)
    > 'Twas a popular idea. Hegel said "speech is the tool of reason".
    > https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/hegel/works/se/ch01.htm
    > Andy
    >
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    > *Andy Blunden*
    > http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
    <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
    >
    >
    > David Kellogg wrote:
    >
    >> Andy:
    >>
    >> Take a look at the end of Chapter Two, the Research Method Chapter,
    >> pp. 60-62 in the English Collected Works. It's not that he
    objects to
    >> the term "artifacts"; he doesn't use the term. It's that he
    objects to
    >> the analogy between them being reduced to an identity, and on this
    >> basis does not agree that "language is a tool of thinking" or that
    >> language is an 'auxiliary device of memory". He also objects to
    >> Dewey's phrase that language is a "tool of tools", and points
    out that
    >> it is a bad paraphrase of Aristotle. He says that the relationship
    >> between tools and signs is that they both belong to a logical
    >> category, mediating activity, but their precise structural,
    functional
    >> and genetic relationship has to be worked out.
    >>
    >> David Kellogg
    >> Hankuk Univeristy of Foreign Studies.
    >>
    >> On 18 November 2014 19:32, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
    <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >>> For those of you who rely on marxists.org
    <http://marxists.org> for their Vygotsky reading, I
    >>> have
    >>> scanned a couple more chapters from Volume 4 of the LSVCW today:
    >>>
    http://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/1931/research-method.htm
    >>> http://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/1931/
    >>> analysis-higher-mental-functions.htm
    >>>
    >>> I was looking for material where Vygotsky discusses the
    relation between
    >>> sign-mediation and tool-mediation (and other types of
    mediation!) and
    >>> these
    >>> chapters seemed to be necessary. I could not find the passage
    where he
    >>> expresses some antipathy to calling both signs and tools
    "artefacts". I
    >>> was
    >>> sure I read this somewhere. Can anyone recall where that could
    have been?
    >>>
    >>> Andy
    >>> --
    >>>
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    >>> *Andy Blunden*
    >>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
    <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >
    >


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