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[Xmca-l] Re: labour and signs



Yes, Annalisa, that same Goethe warned of the dangers of putting one step
in development ahead of another to get a cause/effect conclusion regarding
living matter. Then the question becomes how does your explanation of the
'word' -action relationship develop, with a focus on ontogeny as the
phenomenon of central concern (We only have one life to live, some say, so
might as well focus on something you know first hand) change if you adopt a
non-linear cultural-temporal perspective? Still thinking on the question.
mike

On Thu, Dec 4, 2014 at 7:49 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:

> Here is the quotation, Andy:
>
> 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.
>
> How should i be thinking about this passage if not to ask, "if the
> formation of the word occurs nearer the end than the beginning of
> development" what transformations of action are implicated in the
> appearance and development of the word? I take it that in one sense, all of
> developmental studies of language acquisition are attempts to answer the
> question. But there it is.
> mike
>
> On Thu, Dec 4, 2014 at 4:16 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>
>> can you explain, Mike?
>> andy
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> *Andy Blunden*
>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>
>>
>> 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.
>>> mike
>>>
>>> On Thu, Dec 4, 2014 at 3:57 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:
>>> 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/
>>>     <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>>
>>>
>>>     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>
>>>         <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?
>>>             Henry
>>>
>>>             > 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.
>>>         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/>
>>>             <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.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
>
>
> --
> 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.