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[Xmca-l] Re: labour and signs

can you explain, Mike?
*Andy Blunden*

mike cole wrote:
Which still leaves us with the question of how language developed out of other forms of action -- in phylogeny and ontogeny-- as Haydi emphasized recently.

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

    What an excellent reference, Mike!
    (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
       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
       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 Blunden*

    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). :-)


        On Thu, Dec 4, 2014 at 10:35 AM, HENRY SHONERD
        <hshonerd@gmail.com <mailto:hshonerd@gmail.com>
        <mailto: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?

            > On Dec 4, 2014, at 6:58 AM, Andy Blunden
        <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>
            <mailto: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.
            in the labour process obviously conditions our activity
        and our
            thinking. But I take it that *true concepts* appear only
            the use of signs. It will still be the case that such concept
            formation rests on tool-use - you can't eat words.
            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":
            > 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
            according to Marx, the first phase of development of capital
            entailed gathering workers together in a workshop as wage
            without making any change whatsoever in the labour process
            and all the revolutionising of machinery only happened later.
            > 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/

            > 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
            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
            and their sophistication we approach the appearance of
            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
            >> 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
            >> 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
            >> 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.