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Henry







> On Jun 2, 2015, at 4:02 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
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> David- I do not have Jan's book, so cannot judge your comments overall, b=
ut
> Zinchenko was almost certainly referring to Leontiev, not Vygotsky, in
> referring to the theory of activity and repeating the oft-repeated charge
> of "sign-o-centricism" versus "behaviorism" leveled against him, large by
> the followers of Rubenshtein.
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> mike
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> PS- Perhaps Jan can find a moment to comment.
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> On Tue, Jun 2, 2015 at 2:20 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrot=
e:
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>> Dear Larry:
>>=20
>> So Zinchenko says that if I go on a journey through the desert and choos=
e
>> to take a map instead of  an ice-axe I am being an idealist!
>>=20
>> Of course, I know that by choosing an ice-axe, I am confusing the error =
of
>> taking a tool instead of a symbol with taking the WRONG tool instead of =
the
>> RIGHT symbol. But I also think that by choosing an ice-axe I am drawing
>> some attention to the underlying dishonesty--the demagogy--of a lot of t=
he
>> criticisms made of Vygotsky--how they are reducible to name-calling
>> ("Idealist!" "Subjectivist!" "Word-Fetishist!")
>>=20
>> I suppose the real problem with Zinchenko is the one that Andy's already
>> pointed to. What makes humans human is that they don't live in an
>> "environment" that is oblivious to them to which they must adapt or die.
>> They have the ability to make the environment adapt to them and sometime=
s
>> even die--as I am reminded by the potted plant withering on my window
>> sill. Our nature is really not the same as the nature that animals live =
in.
>>=20
>> It's quite literally a "human' nature; a society is nature humanized
>> by consciousness. Beyond the ficus dying on my window sill lies Seoul, t=
he
>> second largest city on earth. When I go out and do my grocery shopping, =
I
>> don't take a tool or even a map; I take a mind full of symbols, and the
>> same thing is true when I go out to "earn" my daily bread. So, as Andy
>> says, the "environment" has to include an element of human consciousness=
,
>> of my consciousness and the consciousness I must share with seventy-five
>> million other Koreans every time I use a Korean word. If this be idealis=
m,
>> make the most of it!
>>=20
>> There was a good review of my book in the journal "System" recently
>> (attached). When I got over the warm feeling brought about by
>> the (apparently heartfelt) praise, I felt slightly irked by the attempt =
to
>> link Vygotsky's reading of Hamlet with that of Florensky, who really WAS=
 an
>> idealist. Florensky's "Hamlet" came out when Vygotsky was nine years old=
!
>> But of course the author is right--Florensky, later a priest, a Russian
>> Orthodox theologian, and ultimately a victim of Stalin's goons, was one =
of
>> the founders of the Symbolist movement, and Vygotsky could not help but
>> have felt his long cool shadow as he wrestled with the question of wheth=
er
>> Hamlet is a psycho-drama (and all the characters but Hamlet are only
>> symbols) or a socio-drama (and all the characters--with the exception of
>> the players--are flesh and blood).
>>=20
>> Saussure, who did more than anyone to make the insights of the Symbolist=
s
>> into a coherent world view, said that thought and language, both chaotic=
,
>> organize each other through decomposing each other, and of course that's
>> correct. Saussure's big mistake was to turn his back on the process by
>> which this happens. And the strangest thing about this mistake is that i=
t
>> was the very process in which he'd made his own career--historical
>> linguistics!
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>> David Kellogg
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>> On Tue, Jun 2, 2015 at 10:21 AM, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrot=
e:
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>>> David,
>>> A fascinating way to explore the long shadow that concepts entail back =
to
>>> the sensory "ground" of concepts.
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>>> I would like to ask how you situate a third term "symbol" in its
>>> relationship to the "sensory sound" and the "conceptual"
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>>> Zinchenko offers one approach to symbols [to prime the pumps of this
>>> question]
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>>> "The psychological theory of activity was concerned with the problem of
>>> real [i.e. concrete] tools and objects that humans, also in accordance
>> with
>>> Marxism, place between themselves and nature.  In other words, what
>> makes a
>>> human human? Symbol or thing? The crucifix or the hammer and sickle? If
>> it
>>> is the symbol then this is idealism. If it is the thing then this is
>>> materialism or perhaps dialectical materialism"
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>>> "Reading" this question  through your response above I wonder if the
>> answer
>>> is unfinalizable and may depend on the "reciprocal" interpenetration of
>> the
>>> symbolic and sensory.  I am assuming the symbolic as "figurative" and
>>> "con/figurative" phenomena that expresses co-existence.
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>>> I am Reading Jan Derry's 2013 book "Vygotsky: Philosophy and Education"
>> and
>>> Zinchenko's quote is on page 14.
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>>> Larry
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>>> On Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 5:38 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
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>>>> The other day I was listening to Gounod's "Romeo et Juliette". It's th=
e
>>>> wedding night, and they got to bed. Because they have no alarm clock,
>>> they
>>>> must listen carefully for the sound of the lark, else Romeo will be
>>>> captured by the guards of Verona and hanged.
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>>>> Romeo is sleeping with one ear open, and he is the first to awake.
>> Romeo
>>>> hears a bird and tells Juliette, and Juliette replies:
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>>>> Non, ce n'est pas le jour.
>>>> Ce n'est pas l'allouette.
>>>> Dont le chant a frappe
>>>> Ton orielle inquiete
>>>>=20
>>>> (No, it is not the day
>>>> That is not the lark
>>>> Whose song has struck
>>>> Your sleepless ear)
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>>>> But of course the song persists. Juliette reassures him:
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>>>> C'est le doux rossignol
>>>> Confidant d'amour!
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>>>> (It's the sweet nightengale
>>>> The confidant of love!)
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>>>> And Romeo decides, for probably just for the sake of being able to
>>> reverse
>>>> roles and sing the song himself, that he will go along with Juliette's
>>> idea
>>>> and go back to sleep. So then Juliette hears the sound and realizes
>> that
>>>> you must leave, helas! And Romeo sings, "Non, ce n'est pas le jour....=
"
>>>>=20
>>>> All of which reminded me of the crucial fact that in the sixteenth
>>> century
>>>> they did not yet have alarm clocks. But when you hear the woodwinds
>> come
>>> in
>>>> precisely at 1:47:35, what you hear, if you are a modern listener, is
>> an
>>>> electric alarm clock.
>>>>=20
>>>> Now of course, in Gounod's time they no more had electric alarm clocks
>>> than
>>>> in Shakespeare's. But such is the ideological footprint of artifacts;
>>> they
>>>> heard the sound of the woodwinds as that of a nightengale, and we hear
>> it
>>>> as battery powered alarm clock.  Or is it the other way around, and th=
e
>>>> alarm is designed  to mimick a lark?
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>>>> Last night we were working on ways of teaching vocabulary which are
>>>> GENERALIZABLE. It is of course the case, as Vygotsky points out, that
>>>> MEANINGS can be related easily to each other, in one way
>> (hierarchically)
>>>> when we teach scientific concepts and in another (sensually,
>>>> experientially) when we are not. It's also true that the WORDINGS are
>>>> related easily toe ach other, as nouns and verbs, as participants and
>>>> processes, and as circumstances. But what kids want are to be able to
>>> match
>>>> the soundings and the imagery. In most languages this seems arbitrary
>> and
>>>> so vocabulary seems a piecemeal affair.
>>>>=20
>>>> It isn't. As Vygotsky points out, when you go back in time, you find
>> that
>>>> there are (at least) three kinds of associative links which must help
>> the
>>>> young vocabulary learner. We had the following list of Canadian animal=
s
>>> to
>>>> teach brought in by a hakweon teacher from Canada:
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>>>> moose, goose, badger, beaver, eagle, porcupine
>>>>=20
>>>> With "moose" and "goose' the link is sounding--try bellowing the first
>>> like
>>>> a moose, and hooting the second like a goose. With "badger" and
>> "beaver"
>>>> the link is wording--badgers badger grubs and bother birds, while
>> beavers
>>>> are always beavering around with dams and nests. Eagle somehow
>>> alliterates
>>>> with "eye" and "spy", and "porcupine" suggests a piney, spiney,
>>>> pineapple-pig.
>>>>=20
>>>> Of course, none of these are concepts. All are forms of complex. But
>> all
>>> of
>>>> them are the ideological footprint, the long shadow, cast by an
>> artefact
>>>> down through history.
>>>>=20
>>>> If you want to hear the lark, you will have to wait to the end of the
>>>> opera, where it takes on another meaning. As everybody knows, Romeo
>> dies
>>>> before Juliet awakes. But in Gounod's version, he drinks the poison,
>> she
>>>> awakes, and they are once again joyful in each other's arms, until he
>>>> remembers the poison (a minor detail!) and dies singing...you guessed
>>>> it...2:31:00.
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>>>> "No, it is not the day
>>>> That is not the lark...
>>>> It's the sweet nightengale
>>>> The confidant of love!"
>>>>=20
>>>> Of course it's absurd (although not quite as absurd as the moment that
>>> poor
>>>> Rolando Villazon has to wipe the sweat off the end of his nose before
>> he
>>>> kisses Nina Machaidze). But it's also somewhat terrifying, as a raw
>>>> demonstrating of the ideological footprint of artworks. A single sound
>>> has
>>>> the power to be a bird in one century, a piccolo in another, and a
>>> digital
>>>> alarm clock in our own. Artifacts cast a long shadow, even at night.
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>>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DqmNULK87lK0
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>>>> David Kellogg
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> All there is to thinking is seeing something noticeable which makes
> you see something you weren't noticing which makes you see something
> that isn't even visible. N. McLean, *A River Runs Through it*