[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

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



Sure Juan. Of course Engels sees the historical process as a series of revolutions. By "continuous" I meant that having begun from the descent from the trees he doesn't draw line between biological evolution and historical development. When he says: "the more that human beings become removed from animals in the narrower sense of the word, the more they make their own history consciously," that seems to be just a gradual distancing from the animal.

I don't blame him for this! He was writing in 1883! To be more specific could only have been guesswork.

Andy
------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Andy Blunden*
http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/


Juan Duarte wrote:
Hello,
Andy, i disagree with your statement that Engels  "narrates a story which
continues from this point up to socialist revolution as if it were one
continuous story". Engels is just trying, in a little bit speculative -but
fruitful- way, to find the evolutionary background for historical
materialism. I think he gives a key to understand the relation between
humanization/homininzation process, and historical one, trying to find the
biological origins of human work (which presents en an alienated form in
capitalism, and which is criticized by Marx in Das Kapital, etc.). Stephen
Jay Gould has said that he was right in his bipedestation hipótesis, which
was to be later confirmed by the discovering of Lucy and Ardi´s skeletons.
And it doesn´t mean, in Engels to accept "a story which continues from this
point up to socialist revolution as if it were one continuous story". Where
does he say so? He is just saying that new ways of organizing society
(socialist, which implies revolution, not "continuous" process), will give
man new ways to understand and control biological process.

Greets,
Juan Duarte
Universidad de Buenos Aires

2015-01-14 4:36 GMT-03:00 David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>:

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.