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[Xmca-l] Re: Oliver Sacks/Romantic Science

Try this, in Word this time.
*Andy Blunden*
On 1/09/2015 1:32 PM, mike cole wrote:
​It might be helpful to this discussion if someone would post the chapter on Romantic Science from Luria's autobiography which MUST be somewhere public in pdf. It appears that I do not have one.

After reading what the person said, then discussion of the ideas seems appropriate. Ditto Sacks, who has written a couple of extended essay's on
his view of Romantic Science.

It is true that the Russian psychologists, erudite as they were, were not sociologists. Nor were they anthropologists. The nature of their enterprise encompassed those fields and more.

Doing Romantic Science and immersing oneself in the individual case in no way excludes inclusion of sociology, anthropology, in their work. Nor does Luria argue so.


On Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 7:29 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com <mailto:dkellogg60@gmail.com>> wrote:

    I think the problem with this view of romantic science
    is that it
    completely precludes building a psychology on a
    sociology. In that sense
    (and in others), Vygotsky wasn't a romantic scientist
    at all. Vygotsky
    certainly did not believe in "total immersion in the
    individual case"; such
    an immersion is a refusal to rise to the level of
    theory. I'm not sure
    Luria was romantic that way either: "the Man with a
    Shattered Mind" and
    "The Memory of Mnemonist" are really exceptions.
    Remember the main
    criticism of Luria's book "The Nature of Human
    Conflicts" was always that
    it was too quantitative.

    There are, of course, some areas of psychology that
    are well studied as
    case histories. Recently, I've been looking into
    suicidology, and in
    particular the work of Edwin Shneidman, who pioneered
    the linguistic
    analysis of suicide notes (and who appears to have
    been influenced, as
    early as the 1970s, by Kasanin and by Vygotsky's work
    on schizophrinia).
    Now you would think that if ever there was a field
    that would benefit from
    total immersion in the individual case, this is one.
    But Shneidman says
    that suicide notes are mostly full of trite, banal
    phrases, and as a
    consequence very easy to code--and treat quantiatively
    (one of his first
    studies was simply to sort a pile of real and
    imitation suicide notes and
    carefully note the criteria he had when he made
    correct judgements). And of
    course the whole point of Durkheim's work on suicide
    is that the individual
    case can be utterly disregarded, since the great
    variations are
    sociological and the psychological variables all seem
    trivial, transient,
    or mutually cancelling when we look at suicide at a
    large scale (as we must
    these days). Shneidman says he has never read a
    suicide note he would want
    to have written.

    David Kellogg

    On Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 9:21 AM, Andy Blunden
    <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    > As little as I understand it, Larry, Oliver Sacks'
    style of Romantic
    > Science was his complete immersion in the individual
    case before him, and
    > development of a science of complete persons. The
    paradigm of this type of
    > science was Luria. A limit case of "Qualitative
    Science" I suppose. The
    > opposite is the study of just one aspect of each
    case, e.g. facial
    > recognition, and the attempt to formulate a
    "covering law" for just this
    > aspect.
    > Andy
    > *Andy Blunden*
    > http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
    > On 1/09/2015 8:40 AM, HENRY SHONERD wrote:
    >> Mike,
    >> I recall in an obituary in the NYTimes that
    naysayers were cited in
    >> reviewing Oliver Sacks’ life work. I am wondering
    if some of that push back
    >> was related to his practice of romantic science,
    which, if I understand
    >> from things Andy has written, involves immersion in
    the phenomena of
    >> interest in search of a unit of analysis. Goethe,
    for example, immersed
    >> himself in the phenomena of living things. His
    writing prefigures the cell
    >> as a unit of analysis, but the technology of
    microscopes could not confirm
    >> such a unit until later on. Your contrasting Bruner
    and Sacks makes me
    >> wonder if the subject, not just the object, is at
    issue. Different styles
    >> of research bring different construals. This may be
    the bane of
    >> objectivist, empiricist science but does it really
    make Sacks less of a
    >> researcher and just a lowly clinician?
    >> Henry
    >>> On Aug 30, 2015, at 7:02 PM, mike cole
    <mcole@ucsd.edu <mailto:mcole@ucsd.edu>> wrote:
    >>> Hi Laura-- I knew Oliver primarily through our
    connections with Luria and
    >>> the fact that we
    >>> independently came to embrace the idea of a
    romantic science. He was a
    >>> shy
    >>> and diffident person. You can get that feeling,
    and the difference
    >>> between
    >>> him and Jerry Bruner in this regard in the
    interview with them that
    >>> someone
    >>> pirated on
    >>> to youtube.
    >>> Jerry is very old but last heard from by me,
    engaging intellectually all
    >>> the while.
    >>> mike
    >>> On Sun, Aug 30, 2015 at 5:18 PM, Laura Martin
    <martinl@azscience.org <mailto:martinl@azscience.org>>
    >>> wrote:
    >>> Thanks, Mike. A number of years ago I had the
    privilege of spending an
    >>>> evening with Sacks when Lena Luria was visiting
    Jerry Bruner and Carol
    >>>> Feldman in NY.  I stood in for Sylvia who
    couldn't make the dinner - it
    >>>> was
    >>>> an extraordinary evening in many ways. Do you
    ever hear from Bruner? I
    >>>> wonder if he's still active.
    >>>> Laura
    >>>> Sent from my iPad
    >>>> On Aug 30, 2015, at 3:29 PM, mike cole
    <mcole@ucsd.edu <mailto:mcole@ucsd.edu>> wrote:
    >>>> Dear Colleagues ---
    >>>> I am forwarding, with personal sadness, the news
    that Oliver Sacks has
    >>>> succumbed to cancer.
    >>>> Its not a surprise, but a sad passing indeed.
    >>>> mike
    >>>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    >>>> Date: Sun, Aug 30, 2015 at 3:07 PM
    >>>> Subject: NYTimes.com: Oliver Sacks Dies at 82;
    Neurologist and Author
    >>>> Explored the Brain’s Quirks
    >>>> To: lchcmike@gmail.com <mailto:lchcmike@gmail.com>
    >>>>   Sent by sashacole510@gmail.com
    <mailto:sashacole510@gmail.com>: Oliver Sacks Dies at
    82; Neurologist
    >>>> and Author Explored the Brain’s Quirks
    >>>> <
    >>>> By
    >>>> Dr. Sacks explored some of the brain’s strangest
    pathways in
    >>>> best-selling
    >>>> case histories like “The Man Who Mistook His Wife
    for a Hat,” achieving
    >>>> a
    >>>> level of renown rare among scientists.
    >>>> Or, copy and paste this URL into your browser:
    >>>> <
    >>>> To
    >>>> get unlimited access to all New York Times
    articles, subscribe today.
    >>>> See
    >>>> Subscription Options.
    >>>> <
    >>>> To
    >>>> ensure delivery to your inbox, please add
    nytdirect@nytimes.com <mailto:nytdirect@nytimes.com>
    to your
    >>>> address book. Advertisement
    >>>> <
    >>>> >
    >>>> Copyright 2015
    >>>> <
    >>>> >
    >>>> | The New York Times Company
    >>>> <
    >>>> >
    >>>> | NYTimes.com 620 Eighth Avenue New York, NY 10018
    >>>> --
    >>>> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a
    natural science with an
    >>>> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch
    >>> --
    >>> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a
    natural science with an
    >>> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch


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

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