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[Xmca-l] Re: labour and signs


It certainly quells the argument for those who believe that word comes before deed. If I am interpreting this correctly. 

However, I'd like to ask a few questions.

1. Where is the locii of _meaning_ in this construct?

Is it in between the deed and the word? or is does it arise during the deed? or is it after the word?

2. Where is the locii of _intention_ in this construct? and if intention is before the deed, then where is meaning?

I would suggest that intention and meaning are closely coupled. I'd like to know your take on how they are related.

3. Who is it who is doing the deed? And who is it who speaks the word? Doesn't someone need to be present to do the deed? Or is this deed disembodied and mechanical in nature?

4. Vygotsky was studying child development, so he is talking about children forming words out of actions, right? This is ontogenetic not phylogenetic, isn't it?

At T&C I happened to watch one of the kids drawing, and she was drawing flowers, as she drew dots in the air, she said "buzz. buzz. buzz." at the moment she drew them. One dot for each "buzz." 

I definitely agree that it was as if the word were the crowning the deed. But it also seemed to me the meaning and intention were present in the room before the deed and the words manifested. The flowers were there before the intention to draw bees (as dots). The meaning was in the word, "buzz." Almost like an incantation to give the dots "bee-ness."

So it's my opinion (and you are free to disagree, I won't stand in your way to do that) that we require a little more context of what Vygotsky's text means, rather than lifting this text and perhaps giving it cast of a biblical or literary critique as the ending words on a phylogenetic law. 

I don't know if that is what is being done here, but it seems prudent to be sure what the context was.

Kind regards,


From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
Sent: Thursday, December 4, 2014 4:57 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: labour and signs

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.