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[Xmca-l] Re: Laws of evolution and laws of history



Mike--

See Vol. Four of the Collected Works in English: the quote you refer to is
the epigraph to HDHMF. It's from Dialectics of Nature, and Vygotsky keeps
coming back to it again and again, throughout the whole text of HDHMF,
which is one reason why I am assuming (against what Anton Yasnitsky has
written) that HDHMF is a whole book, one of the very few that Vygotsky
completedly completed (and also his longest work).

We had to gloss this epigraph as part of our translation. I assumed that
what Engels is saying is that man's knowledge of nature, viewed from the
point of view of nature, is nature's knowledge of itself. But of course
man's knowledge of nature is historical; we know nature through human
experience and human experience is historical. So, for example, the idea
that water boils at exactly 100 degrees centrigrade is entirely dependent
on the human ideas like "degree", "centigrade", the decimal number system,
and the tendency of human beings to settle near sea level.

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

On 14 January 2015 at 13:38, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:

> yes, highly coordinated join activity that satisfies the participants does
> tend to do that. An academic flow creating device. But you should be
> careful of the not transcending biology part. :-)
> mike
>
> On Tue, Jan 13, 2015 at 8:04 PM, Kindred, Jessica Dr. <jkindred@cnr.edu>
> wrote:
>
> > The dopamine rush of solving a problem together is not so much
> > transcending biology as just kind of living up to it. That was fun.
> > ________________________________________
> > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu]
> > on behalf of mike cole [mcole@ucsd.edu]
> > Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2015 10:53 PM
> > To: Andy Blunden; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Laws of evolution and laws of history
> >
> > Bingo! I was not hallucinating!
> > Thanks a lot Jesica and Andy- I was just thumbing through my hardcopy and
> > stopped to send an email.
> >
> > Do we interpret this as a belief that humans have transcended biological
> > evolution? Its in our capable hands now that we are no longer just apes.
> >
> > Brrrrrr.
> >
> > mike
> >
> >
> >
> > On Tue, Jan 13, 2015 at 7:41 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
> >
> > > Jessica refers to:
> > >
> > >    "Indeed, the struggle for existence and natural selection, the two
> > >    driving forces of biological evolution within the animal world, lose
> > >    their decisive importance as soon as we pass on to the historical
> > >    development of man. New laws, which regulate the course of human
> > >    history and which cover the entire process of the material and
> > >    mental development of human society, now take their place."
> > >
> > > Andy
> > > PS, I am not the translator, Jessica, just the transcriber.  René van
> der
> > > Veer and Jaan Valsiner did all the work, and I just scanned it to HTML.
> > >
> > >
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > > *Andy Blunden*
> > > http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> > >
> > >
> > > Kindred, Jessica Dr. wrote:
> > >
> > >> Mike, your paraphrased is very clearly ststed in Vygotsky's essay, The
> > >> Socialist Alteration of Man, especially in the second through fifth
> > >> paragraphs. I think this may be the source of the phrase you are
> looking
> > >> for, though clearly Vygotsky is riffing on Engels.
> > >> ________________________________________
> > >> From: xmca-l-bounces+jkindred=cnr.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > >> [xmca-l-bounces+jkindred=cnr.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu] on behalf of Andy
> > >> Blunden [ablunden@mira.net]
> > >> Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2015 9:23 PM
> > >> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > >> Cc: Mikhail Munipov
> > >> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Laws of evolution and laws of history
> > >>
> > >> Actually, I think that "the more that human beings become removed from
> > >> animals in the narrower sense of the word, the more they make their
> own
> > >> history consciously" is near as dammit what you are looking for.
> > >>
> > >> Engels of course lacked good information. Even in his day Vygotsky had
> > >> poor information. In "Ape, Primitive Man and Child", "primitive" is
> > >> taken to mean "non-literate", as it was for Luria in his Central Asian
> > >> expedition, and a great deal of emphasis is put on the origins and
> > >> development of *writing*. But writing only appears in Egypt c. 2,000
> BCE
> > >> I think, in any case, in evolutionary time scales 5 minutes ago. The
> > >> development of writing is nothing to do with evolution of the species.
> > >> Vygotsky defines primitive man as follows:
> > >>
> > >>     “This term is commonly used, admittedly as a conventional label,
> to
> > >>     designate certain peoples of the uncivilized world, situated at
> the
> > >>     lower levels of cultural development. It is not entirely right to
> > >>     call these peoples primitive, as a greater or lesser degree of
> > >>     civilization can unquestionably be observed in all of them. All of
> > >>     them have already emerged from the prehistoric phase of human
> > >>     existence. Some of them have very ancient traditions. Some of them
> > >>     have been influenced by remote and powerful cultures, while the
> > >>     cultural development of others has become degraded.
> > >>     “/Primitive man, in the true sense of the term, does not exist
> > >>     anywhere at the present time, /and the human type, as represented
> > >>     among these primeval peoples, can only be called “relatively
> > >>     primitive.” Primitiveness in this sense is a lower level, and the
> > >>     starting point for the historical development of human behaviour.
> > >>     Material for the psychology of primitive man is provided by data
> > >>     concerning prehistoric man, the peoples situated at the lower
> levels
> > >>     of cultural development and the comparative psychology of peoples
> of
> > >>     different cultures.”(Preface, 1930, Italics in the original)
> > >>
> > >> And from the start, this chapter is framed as "cultural development"
> as
> > >> distinct from "evolutionary development." Chapter 1 on primates
> focuses
> > >> on the limited use of tools possible for apes, with the implication
> that
> > >> the cultural development around the emergence of labour, i.e., the
> > >> production of tools, was part of evolutionary development, prior and
> > >> leading up to the formation of homo sapiens sapiens. There is no
> chapter
> > >> covering the period between 2 million years ago and say `00,000 years
> > >> ago, where cultural and biological formation are interacting.
> > >>
> > >> According to Engels and others including Dewey, speech emerges
> > >> simultaneously with tools. Dewey makes the point that a tool is not a
> > >> tool until its use is institutionalised, linking social, symbolic and
> > >> tool-using activity together.
> > >>
> > >> Andy
> > >>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > >> *Andy Blunden*
> > >> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> mike cole wrote:
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>> So perhaps its just my bad memory, Andy. the issues remain central.
> > >>> THANKS for the appropriate links!
> > >>> mike
> > >>>
> > >>> On Tue, Jan 13, 2015 at 4:51 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
> > >>> <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
> > >>>
> > >>>     There can only be two sources of this idea: Engels' "Part Played
> > >>>     by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man" (1876)
> > >>>     http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1876/part-
> > >>> played-labour/index.htm
> > >>>     and the Introduction to "Dialectics of Nature" (1883)
> > >>>     http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1883/don/ch01.htm
> > >>>
> > >>>     In the latter work, after explaining how freeing the hands by
> > >>>     adopting an erect gait, led to the use of tools, meaning labour,
> > >>>     and this led to the expansion of the brain, language and sundry
> > >>>     other changes, and thus eventualy the emergence of human beings
> as
> > >>>     a species. Then he says:
> > >>>
> > >>>        "With men we enter /history/."
> > >>>
> > >>>     In the earlier document, he says: "Labour begins with the making
> > >>>     of tools" which Engels claims happened before the formation of
> > >>>     modern homo sapiens, contributing to that formation rather than
> > >>>     being a product of the formation of modern humans, and he
> narrates
> > >>>     a story which continues from this point up to socialist
> revolution
> > >>>     as if it were one continuous story, blurring over the distinction
> > >>>     between evolution of the species and historical development of
> > >>>     culture.
> > >>>     The nerest we come to your quote is: "the more that human beings
> > >>>     become removed from animals in the narrower sense of the word,
> the
> > >>>     more they make their own history consciously." The "narrower
> > >>>     sense" I presume means biological differentiation. So this could
> > >>>     count for what you are looking for, Mike.
> > >>>
> > >>>     Andy
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>>     ------------------------------------------------------------
> > >>> ------------
> > >>>     *Andy Blunden*
> > >>>     http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> > >>>     <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>>     mike cole wrote:
> > >>>
> > >>>         Dear Colleagues--
> > >>>
> > >>>         I seem to recall reading an idea, that I recall being
> > >>>         attributed to Engels,
> > >>>         that (rooughly) "more and more the laws of evolution are
> being
> > >>>         replaced by
> > >>>         the laws of history."
> > >>>
> > >>>         Can anyone enlighten me either as to the source of this
> > >>>         "quotation" or as
> > >>>         to the source of my own confusion in this regard?
> > >>>
> > >>>         mike
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>> --
> > >>> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science as an
> > >>> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >
> > >
> >
> >
> > --
> > It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science as an
> object
> > that creates history. Ernst Boesch.
> >
> >
>
>
> --
> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science as an object
> that creates history. Ernst Boesch.
>