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[Xmca-l] Re: Vygotsky and Deborin



Glad you appreciate the forensic aspect of this Larry. It has long troubled me, where did Vygotsky get his Hegelianism from? I was given a photocopy of Thinking and Speech in 1997, and it has always been T&S which has been the book for me. I was delighted by his dialectical reasoning. But when I looked through his CW it was obvious that he had never read Hegel because all his Hegel references andHegel quotes were taken from well-known passages in Engels, Lenin, and later, Marx. It was a little while ago when, following up on the xmca discussion on word and action, I re-read "Ape, Primitive Man and Child" as well as "History of the Development ..." that I realised that whatever he knew about Hegel he had learnt it in 1930. That really set me going. Fortunately, Anton Yasnitsky had for me what was the decisive piece of evidence, though Anton himself doesn't see it that way. What we see in what Vygotsky wrote in that collaboration is about Kohler's Gestalt ideas of how chimps solve problems and eidetic memory. Nothing about concepts or Hegel there at all.
Andy
------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Andy Blunden*
http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/


Larry Purss wrote:
Andy,
Thanks for this answer.
It is very helpful in observing transitions and your locating in history that only after 1930 could Vygotsky approach thinking and language moving away from the logical positivists to have written with these new concepts. Also, thanks for the Rogoff Chapter 5 which I will read. A fascinating detective story we are uncovering on how ideas and concepts are transformed through encounters.
Larry

On Sun, Mar 22, 2015 at 6:29 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    (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/
    <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>


    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>
        <mailto: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/>
            <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>>
                <mailto: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/>
                    <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.