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[Xmca-l] Re: Vygotsky and Deborin



(1) Deborin and his associates were Hegelians. Deborin had just translated Hegel's Logic into Russian. It seems to me that during his collaboration with B A Fingert and M L Shirvindt in 1930, they straightened him out on what a concept was. This is something he could only have learnt from a Hegelian. In writing "Ape Primitive Man and Child" in 1929 he thought a concept was a collection of items sharing some attribute in common, and conversely that a set was a collection of objects united by some theory-dependent relation such as origins. This is the wrong way around, but by the time he wrote some passages of "History of the Development of the Higher Mental Functions" in 1931, he had corrected this mistake. By the time he wrote "Thinking and Speech," concept formation is the central topic, while word meaning is the unit of analysis. This is the same relation as that between capital and commodity-exchange in Marx's /Capital/. So, I think that those things which made Vygotsky stand out from all the others, which we find in "Thinking and Speech," would have been impossible if Vygotsky had stuck with the Logical Positivist view of concepts.

(2) Deborin was challenged purely and simply because he was too clever. Too clever for his own good. None of Stalin's Red Professors could fault him. But it was untenable, in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, that someone other than the Great Helmsman, General Secretary and Hero of the Revolution, Comrade Josef Stalin, should have the last word on Philosophy. He was denounced ostensibly for being concerned with questions of philosophy which were not of interest to Soviet workers. Deborin survived by shutting his mouth forever after (we have nothing by him in English). But any association with him would have been a problem for anyone's career.

Andy

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


Larry Purss wrote:
Anton tells me that this collaboration had a very negative effect on Vygotsky's career, as Deborin was denounced in January 1931, but in my humble opinion, seems to have been invaluable in preparing Vygotsky to write "Thinking and Speech."

Andy, why do you think encountering Deborin's work was "invaluable".
Was Deborin proposing that "thought" and "language" [thinking and speech] are two distinct realms of development that become intertwined in the emergence of"verbal thought" as a distinct development? Why was Deborin denounced in January 1931. It seems that 1931 is the time when theoretical approaches which focused on "subjectivity" and "meaning" became dangerous ideas for one's academic career. Was it also a time when exploring "gestalt psychology" was challenged?


On Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 1:58 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    I've ordered David Bakhurst's book, which I hope will tell me even
    more, but thanks to Natalia Gajdamschko and via Natalia, Gena
    Kravtsova, and Anton Yasnitsky, I am now certain that Vygotsky
    never met Deborin, but he did collaborate with two of Deborin's
    supporters in writing a book on currents of Psychology in 1930,
    exactly the time I'm interested in, Osnovnye techeniia sovremennoi
    psikhologii, which is to be found at
    http://www.koob.ru/vigodsky_v_l/main_currents. Anton tells me that
    this collaboration had a very negative effect on Vygotsky's
    career, as Deborin was denounced in January 1931, but in my humble
    opinion, seems to have been invaluable in preparing Vygotsky to
    write "Thinking and Speech."

    Andy
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    *Andy Blunden*
    http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
    <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>


    mike cole wrote:

        I would consult David Bakhurst's early book.
        mike

        On Sun, Mar 15, 2015 at 7:42 PM, Andy Blunden
        <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>> wrote:

            Is there anyone who can tell me a bit more about the
        relationship
            between Vygotsky and Abram Deborin, who was an editor of
        "Under
            the Banner of Marxism," a fan of Spinoza and I believe the
            translator of the Russian version of Hegel's Shorter Logic. I
            would be particularly interested in the dates of interactions
            between them.
            Andy
-- ------------------------------------------------------------------------
            *Andy Blunden*
            http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
        <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
            <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>




-- It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science
        with an object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.