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



Is that simultaneously uniting the nomothetic and idiographic, Peg? That is
the way Luria talked about it.
mike

On Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 10:52 AM, Peg Griffin <Peg.Griffin@att.net> wrote:

> Just in a short-hand:
>
> Concrete Specific:  Zasetsky (The man with the shattered world)
>
> Concrete General: People with traumatic brain injury during WWII
>
> Abstract General: Brain is a mosaic of specific domains with actions that
> interact in dual stimulations (not pure will)
>
> Abstract Specific:  A man acts to recall using images; it fails on a
> certain target.  The man starts appears to abandon the recall by acting an
> intimately related system – e.g., reciting the alphabet.  But the recital
> is “interrupted” when it bumps into the original recall target and the
> recall is successful.
>
>
>
> For diagnosis and/or treatment, we must rise to the concrete specific.
>
>
>
> Sorry I don’t have time to develop this further but I am sure many on this
> list do, and I know that Luria and Sacks did so in wondrous and glorious
> instances.
>
> Peg
>
>
>
>
>
> From: Andy Blunden [mailto:ablunden@mira.net]
> Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2015 11:21 AM
> To: Peg Griffin; 'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity'
> Subject: Re: [Xmca-l] Re: Oliver Sacks/Romantic Science
>
>
>
> Could you give an example, Peg?
> andy
>
>   _____
>
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>
> On 2/09/2015 1:14 AM, Peg Griffin wrote:
>
> What has always helped me – and helps me appreciate Luria and Sachs – with
> rising to the concrete is this funny little square I made (based on the
> even funnier JoHari window after Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham, I
> heard). I can think better by working to fill in each of the four cells in
> the square about an issue of interest.   It helps me think about
> genetically primary examples in mathematics curricula, too.
>   Concrete       Abstract
> Specific
> General
>
> A romantic square,
> Peg
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces+peg.griffin=att.net@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> xmca-l-bounces+peg.griffin=att.net@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Rod
> Parker-Rees
> Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2015 4:55 AM
> To: ablunden@mira.net; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Oliver Sacks/Romantic Science
>
> Thanks for posting this, Andy.
>
> I found Luria's account fascinating, particularly because of his reference
> to 'the beauty of the art of science' and his observation that 'The eye of
> science does not probe “a thing,” an event isolated from other things or
> events. Its real object is to see and understand the way a thing or event
> relates to other things or events'.
>
> We are able to communicate because we are able to agree (more or less) on
> ways of organising experience into shareable categories but our
> communication ranges across a whole spectrum of ways of using these
> categories. Luria refers to classical and romantic branches of science but
> he also acknowledges the differences between 'poetic' use of language and
> more routine, formulaic forms of communication. The romantic focus on an
> 'individual' can only ever be conducted in the medium of a very
> un-individual language and no person's life could possibly be understood
> without reference to relationships with other persons which then spread
> roots and branches out to a forest of connections, causes and consequences.
>
> David wrote of the impossibility of 'rising' to the level of theory if one
> were to immerse oneself in the study of an individual case and Luria cites
> Marx's description of science as 'ascending to the concrete'. As Luria goes
> on to conclude 'People come and go, but the creative sources of great
> historical events and the important ideas and deeds remain' so, in this
> sense, what matters is the contribution individuals make to something
> bigger and more enduring than themselves but Luria also writes that
> 'Romantics in science want neither to split living reality into its
> elementary components nor to represent the wealth of life's concrete events
> in abstract models that lose the properties of the phenomena themselves'.
>
> I think Luria's account of Sherashevsky's mental experience is
> particularly interesting because it may reveal something about how all
> minds work, albeit that Sherashevsky's 'limen' may have been 'set' lower
> than most people's, allowing him to notice the sensory associations which
> words bring with them in a way which, for most of us, may occur only at a
> pre-conscious level. This provides a particularly powerful reminder of the
> inescapable fact that every person's use of a shared language (whether of
> words, gestures, behaviours or any other units of meaning) is just the
> surface of a pool of connections and associations which can never be shared
> with or known by anyone else. However romantic our focus may be, we can
> only go so far in understanding another person's understanding and much
> less far in communicating that to other people (knowing someone is a very
> different thing from being able to share that knowledge in a  rich and
> meaningful way). And of course, on the other side of the
> spectrum, classical scientists who pretend that their knowledge is
> entirely pure and untainted by the personal associations that swirl beneath
> the limens of their knowing are just inventing stories!
>
> I apologise for rambling but I am particularly interested in what lies
> beneath the concrete because of my focus on how very young children are
> able to make sense of a world which, for adults, is so powerfully dominated
> by abstractions.
>
> All the best,
>
> Rod
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces+rod.parker-rees=plymouth.ac.uk@mailman.ucsd.edu
> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces+rod.parker-rees=plymouth.ac.uk@mailman.ucsd.edu]
> On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
> Sent: 01 September 2015 05:17
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Oliver Sacks/Romantic Science
>
> Try this, in Word this time.
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> 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.
>
> mike
> ​
>
> On Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 7:29 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com
>  <mailto: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> <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/
>      <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/> <
> http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>     > 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> <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> <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> <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> <mailto:
> lchcmike@gmail.com>
>     >>>>
>     >>>>
>     >>>>   Sent by sashacole510@gmail.com
>      <mailto:sashacole510@gmail.com> <mailto:sashacole510@gmail.com>:
> Oliver Sacks Dies at
>     82; Neurologist
>     >>>> and Author Explored the Brain’s Quirks
>     >>>> <
>     >>>>
>
> http://p.nytimes.com/email/re?location=InCMR7g4BCKC2wiZPkcVUieQKbejxL4a <
> http://p.nytimes.com/email/re?location=InCMR7g4BCKC2wiZPkcVUieQKbejxL4a&user_id=bd31502e6eb851a9261827fdfbbcdf6d&email_type=eta&task_id=1440972441657668&regi_id=0>
> &user_id=bd31502e6eb851a9261827fdfbbcdf6d&email_type=eta&task_id=1440972441657668&regi_id=0>
>     >>>> By
>     >>>> GREGORY COWLES
>     >>>>
>     >>>> 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:
>     http://nyti.ms/1LL040D
>     >>>> <
>     >>>>
>
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>     >>>> get unlimited access to all New York Times
>     articles, subscribe today.
>     >>>> See
>     >>>> Subscription Options.
>     >>>> <
>     >>>>
>
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>     >>>>
>     >>>>
>     >>>>
>     >>>>
>     >>>>
>     >>>> --
>     >>>>
>     >>>> 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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-- 

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