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[Xmca-l] Re: labour and signs

Which still leaves us with the question of how language developed out of
other forms of action -- in phylogeny and ontogeny-- as Haydi emphasized

On Thu, Dec 4, 2014 at 3:57 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> What an excellent reference, Mike!
> https://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/words/ch07.htm#deed (the
> 4th last paragraph of Thinking and Speech):
>    "The connection between thought and word is not a primal connection
>    that is given once and forever. It arises in development and itself
>    develops. “In the beginning was the word.""’ Goethe answered this
>    Biblical phrase through Faust: “In the beginning was the deed."”
>    Through this statement, Goethe wished to counteract the word’s
>    over-valuation. Gutsman has noted, however, that we can agree with
>    Goethe that the word as such should not be overvaluated and can
>    concur in his transformation of the Biblical line to, “In the
>    beginning was the //deed/.” /Nonetheless, if we consider the history
>    of development, we can still read this line with a different
>    emphasis: “In the //beginning/ /was the deed.” Gutsman’s argument is
>    that the word is a higher stage in man’s development than the
>    highest manifestation of action. He is right. The word did not exist
>    in the beginning. In the beginning was the deed. The formation of
>    the word occurs nearer the end than the beginning of development.
>    The word is the end that crowns the deed."
> Surely the last word on the matter.
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> mike cole wrote:
>> What if word is used in the context "in the beginning was the word"? It
>> seems that in different contexts, LSV use of the term, word, varies in
>> meaning. So being careful about the topic/context of usage may help us.
>> (You don't have to take my word for it). :-)
>> mike
>> On Thu, Dec 4, 2014 at 10:35 AM, HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com
>> <mailto:hshonerd@gmail.com>> wrote:
>>     Andy and Haydi,
>>     Does it make any difference to this discussion that in the link to
>>     “Word and Action”, word is equated with speech? What if word is
>>     equated with gesture, as in sign language?
>>     Henry
>>     > On Dec 4, 2014, at 6:58 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
>>     <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>     >
>>     > Haydi, exactly what Vygotsky's idea was about this or that, at
>>     this or that time, is something beyond my powers to know. I just
>>     try to make sense as best I can of what I find in his writings. So
>>     I can only say what conclusions this has led me to. Participation
>>     in the labour process obviously conditions our activity and our
>>     thinking. But I take it that *true concepts* appear only through
>>     the use of signs. It will still be the case that such concept
>>     formation rests on tool-use - you can't eat words. Participation
>>     in the labour process (however broadly understood) necessarily
>>     entails using tools. I think the relation between tool and sign in
>>     concept formation is found in those two passages to which you drew
>>     our attention on "Word and Action":
>>     >
>>     >
>>     http://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/1934/
>> tool-symbol.htm#s25
>>     >
>>     > I don't think these two lines of development are separate - they
>>     are *distinct*, but not separate.
>>     >
>>     > I tend think that "historically" tool use was "prior" but it may
>>     not be the case, and I don't really think it matters. For example,
>>     according to Marx, the first phase of development of capital
>>     entailed gathering workers together in a workshop as wage workers,
>>     without making any change whatsoever in the labour process itself,
>>     and all the revolutionising of machinery only happened later.
>>     >
>>     >
>>     http://marxists.catbull.com/archive/marx/works/1864/
>> economic/ch02a.htm
>>     >
>>     > So if that was how it worked in the dawn of humanity, that is,
>>     that the form of cooperation preceded the revolutionising of the
>>     means of labour, this would support the claim for sign use to
>>     pre-date tool-use in the formation of intellect. But I don't know
>>     and I doubt that anyone knows. The point is just that these two
>>     lines of development have their distinct bases and develop side by
>>     side in connection with one another.
>>     >
>>     > Hope that helps, Haydi.
>>     > Andy
>>     >
>>     >
>>     >
>>     ------------------------------------------------------------
>> ------------
>>     > *Andy Blunden*
>>     > http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>     <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>     >
>>     >
>>     > Haydi Zulfei wrote:
>>     >>
>>     >>
>>     >> I'm no authority to say things act this way or that way but I'm
>>     allowed to display my understanding . In this very piece , V
>>     challenges "instrumental method" . In "Crisis" , he does the same
>>     . I wonder what you might take by encountering so much talk about
>>     the "New Psychology" or the "New Methodology" with lots of
>>     evidence he showers on us to document his sayings . Shortly , was
>>     he a Marxist of the Day or Not ? This could help us with many
>>     things . What seems to be ambiguous for me is the last three lines
>>     of the paragraph . Is that what you mean by pre-linguistic stage
>>     that after this stage , no use of tools is to be observed ? I'm
>>     sure you won't . Mike is all right with the term 'rudimentary'
>>     because the to-be MAN (primitive) acts on the instant , is
>>     interested in THROWING bones or dice not in their physical or
>>     chemical properties as is the case with later stages . Hence use
>>     of stimulus-device not sign-device . But with full use of tools
>>     and their sophistication we approach the appearance of language
>>     which converts the NATURAL functions . V even locates their due
>>     places , one the stem of the brain , the other the different
>>     layers of the cortex . We know about ANL saying a day might be
>>     reached when scientists become full workers and workers full
>>     scientists or quasi-scientists but that day has not yet arrived .
>>     Not to become lengthy , I refer to the important point that we do
>>     not internalize tools but we do internalize signs , speech and
>>     this is where V warns us against .
>>     >> The reason that Vygotsky gives us this story about the knot in the
>>     >> handkerchief and the coin-toss is that he wants to suggest a
>>     genesis of
>>     >> the semiotic use of artefacts which does *not* originate from
>>     the use of
>>     >> tools for working on matter.
>>     >>
>>     >>
>>     >> Yes , yes , Vygotsky says , I parrot it many times . Then , I
>>     put the question where does it come from (before rudiments) . Let
>>     me once again stress on the fact that V asserts the two lines of
>>     development are separate one from the other in phylogenesis .
>>     >>
>>     >>
>>     >> His claim is of course entirely speculative
>>     >> and I take it to be a rhetorical move. So far as I know,
>>     Vygotsky is in
>>     >> agreement with the idea that collaboration creates the situation in
>>     >> which people need to share generalisations and thus "invent" speech
>>     >> properly so called. Here is in agreement with Engels, but I
>>     think he
>>     >> wants to assign only a very early (pre-linguistic) role to the
>>     tool,
>>     >> holding that the tool can only give rise to the *potential
>>     concept* and
>>     >> not a *true concept* as such. This idea is consistent with what the
>>     >> distributed cognition people want to do and also with the
>>     phylogenetic
>>     >> story told in the labour paradigm. In our own day, the role of
>>     tools in
>>     >> the formation of mind is really unmistakable. But I think we
>>     need to be
>>     >> just as flexible as I think Vygotsky was on these questions.
>>     >>
>>     >>
>>     >>
>>     >> What V says is use of tools finds its meaning within 'work
>>     activity' of which you are a master . But these lines smack of
>>     historic precedence of speech and co-constructing of speech over
>>     working activity . Where have I got wrong ?
>>     >>
>>     >>
>>     >> Haydi
>>     >>
>>     >>
>>     >
>> --
>> 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.