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

Haydi, you ask is it true that "All true concepts are both concrete and universal"? Vygotsky uses the expression "true concept" in a quite specific sense, namely a concept as it is first acquired purely through instruction. "Instruction" means in some institution. In this case a "true concept" is not concrete, it is abstract. A "true concept" becomes concrete over time, through experiences, but at first it is abstract. Because it is acquired from an institution a "true concept" is universal, that is to say, it is part of an entire social formation. These answers are given in the terms of Vygotsky's "Thinking and Speech," that is to say from the point of view of Psychology, yes, but Cultural Psychology, not positivist psychology. From a Hegelian point of view (not psychology), a true concept is abstract but also concrete, because it is the product and expression of an entire historical development.

That's my answer to your first question. I can't deal with everything in this message. But ...

About "fuzzy boundaries." The way you specify this question: 'to blend some "matter" with some "idea" and some idea with some matter' is ridiculed by Vygotsky. To talk of "fuzzy boundaries" implies that there are different kinds of stuff, i.e., existants, but by definition ideas are not existent. The way you pose the question reifies ideas. In the psychological sense, ideas are internal, psychological entities and it is absurd to think of blurring a "boundary" between consciousness and matter. No such boundary, fuzzy or firm, exists. I think the only consistent way to make sense of this is to accept that matter and consciousness are *relational* not absolute concepts. What you do, including what you think, is material (objective) from my point of view but from your point of view there is an absolute sharp distinction between your thoughts and your behaviour. And the movement of neurons is not thought, but merely the material substratum of thinking. Thinking is a function of the entire person. If I consider the activity of a person before me, there is both material behaviour (physical movements) and consciousness lying "behind" the behaviour. Thinking and behaving are united in activity, but they are not two different substances which are mixed or blurred, because you can (as an observer) make no distinction between them if you going to speak scientifically. Look at "Thinking and Speech." Does Vygotsky make a distinction between concepts and forms of action? I think not. These are just forms of abstraction from one integral, irreducible substance, activity.

*Andy Blunden*
On 6/09/2015 2:06 AM, ‪Haydi Zulfei‬ ‪ wrote:

Dear Andy,

The reason I came to you was Peg's authority and personality and brilliance of research . Now again I put my problem clearly : I have some supposition to the effect that "All true concepts are both concrete and universal" according to my previous explanation . If I'm mistaken , someone might be kind to justify the point . This is where I was led to during discussions .

P.S. What I wrote you as Marx's evaluation of Feuerbach not being "revolutionary" is at hand but I have some more important thing to say as to clarify what I meant by "fuzzy boundaries" .

I said of ontology as tending towards "external transformable/s [entities] . And you said of plurality of both terms . Now I give more explanation .

By that , I wouldn't have meant just rocks and stones . In this regard , in my personal correspondence I referred you to the wrestling and involvement and therefrom to "man and his world" . That is , man , the world , actions , interactions , processes , relations , relationships , so on so forth . That is , to the extent where man still remains "man" and "his world" remains "his world" . As I understand it , this is the dimension and limits of "ontology" .

But you're talking in a way that one might figure out that it's possible to blend some "matter" with some "idea" and some idea with some matter . This is what I meant by "fuzzy bordering" .

If , as you say , the being of thought (spatially temporally) is something and the knowing of thought something else , the former ontological , the latter , epistemological , then what are the neuronal processes taking place in the brain ? Wouldn't you agree that this latter case might be closer to "ontology" . I say we are either dealing with thought or with the thinking man ; that is they related but distinctive . And it's when we are dealing with the thinking man as "social being" that the problem of being "revolutionary" or "non-revolutionary" or "counter-revolutionary" occurs .

And it's O.K. for us to think over the well-known saying that "behind consciousness is BEING" . Does not this BEING , first of all , mean the Being who is born , who grows , lives , works , uses tools , acts , interacts , wrestles with , involves , gets engaged , enters processes , joins , communicates , socializes , fails , succeeds , dies , etc. ?

Please first go to the first parag in full . Others are deletable .


*From:* Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
*To:* ‪Haydi Zulfei‬ ‪ <haydizulfei@rocketmail.com>; "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
*Sent:* Saturday, 5 September 2015, 16:47:41
*Subject:* Re: [Xmca-l] Re: Oliver Sacks/Romantic Science

But Haydi, those "fuzzy foggy boundaries" are revolutionary practice! Now you see it now you don't!

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

On 5/09/2015 9:15 PM, ‪Haydi Zulfei‬ ‪ wrote:

Thanks for the explanation !

A large part of my personal debate was about the theses , the first one in particular and you admitted that you'd seen nothing richer than them . Then , it was not a matter of recent decades , revisions , innovations or the other Marx or Marxes . To put it simply even today : The table exists and the idea of the table exists . Does creating fuzzy foggy boundaries in between help resolve our problems ? Now , that's not our main point of reference .

What you're talking about was my Post-Script , an addendum to a major point . Shortly , within our bounds (Vygotsky Marxist School of the Time and beyond) , could we say : "All true concepts are both universal and concrete" ?

I would not provide support for this because , I think , David Kellog or Mike is able to locate if such a saying exists within Vygotsky's Collected works or some other Vygotskian's . My mind triggers blazingly though it's too old .

Larry ! I'll read your post again and try to provide an answer . Many thanks !



*From:* Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> <mailto:ablunden@mira.net> *To:* "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> <mailto:xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
*Sent:* Saturday, 5 September 2015, 4:58:38
*Subject:* [Xmca-l] Re: Oliver Sacks/Romantic Science

Haydi, on the question of ontology and epistemology ...
Ontology is the study of being. That does not mean that it
is concerned only with independently existing entities. It
is the study of what forms of being there are, such as
"thoughts". In recent decades this has come to mean a person
or a culture's belief in the array of different entities
that may be talked of, e.g. gods, classes or individuals, so
it is an aspect of cultural difference.
Epistemology is the study of knowing, in particular the
limits and validity of knowledge. It is not necessarily a
study of reflection. In recent decades it has comes to mean
a person or a culture's beliefs about the legitimate sources
of knowledge, e.g. priests, books or experience, etc.
It was Hegel who first proposed that these sciences were
bankrupt and should be transcended, because every social
formation had its own integral "epistemology" and "ontology"
and there was no final answer to the question these sciences
proposed, so Hegel's view leads us to the modern way of
talking about epistemologies and ontologies in the plural
and aspects of a way of thinking and acting in the world.
Hegel's Ontology is the first Book of the Logic, and I can
see a sense in which you could say that the Second Book is
about epistemology, but I don't think this is accurate.

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

On 5/09/2015 7:08 AM, ‪Haydi Zulfei‬ ‪ wrote:
> P.S. Many a time I've made efforts , asked others , to differentiate between ONTOLOGY and EPISTEMOLOGY ; yet I've stayed on the same spot . First thesis of Feuerbach tells us if it's the case that we imagine / conceive the objects there to themselves without any wrestling on our part to get involved with them , then science / genuine materialism would not present any meaning to us . All things arise from the wrestling and the involvement . On this point , too , in either case , our work and thinking power are involved except that with ontology , we try to conceive things as existent and trace them as external transformables in themselves while with epistemology we deal with the pertaining ideas as reflexions . Then , in the natural and physical sciences , by concrete we mean "of matter" , corporeal , while in philosophy and gnoseology which is the province of the second of our division , knowledge , concrete , of necessity , would mean conceptual , the highest and most valued categorial philosophical term .
> In what ways am I completely mistaken ?
> Best
> Haydi