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[Xmca-l] Re: Volkelt's diagram (LSV's HMF Vol 4)


Here's what Vygotsky really says:

Если задача не превышает естественных сил ребенка, он справляется с ней
непосредственным или примитивным способом. В этих случаях структура его
поведения совершенно напоминает схему, нарисованную Фолькельтом.  (Russian
Collected Works, p. 117).

This means (as nearly as I can make out): "If the task did not go beyond
the natural capability of the child, he could deal with it in an unmediated
or primitive method. In this cases, the structure of his behavior would be
completely similar to the scheme as presented by Volkelt".

I think there is no diagramme, at least not in the sense of a two
dimensional graphic one can have a copy of. What Vygotsky is referring to
is Volkelt's attempt to explain all child behavior as the result of an
affectively tinged FUSION of perception and behavior, an affectively
colored, unanalyzable, whole  in which perception and behavior were
absolutely inseparable. This was what Hans Volkelt concluded from a series
of experiments that Vygotsky refers to repeatedly, both in HDHMF and in the
Lectures on Pedology and elswhere.

What Volkelt did was this: he had four baby bottles: one shaped like a
triangle, one like a violin, one like a square, etc. They were all
different colors as well. But three of them didn't have holes in the teat:
you could see and smell the milk but you couldn't drink it. One did. He
taught the infants to associate the drinking of milk and the feeling of
satiation with one particular bottle, so that they would actually ignore
the bottle unless it had all the characteristics: triangularity, blueness,
etc. So Volkelt argued that from the child's point of view, he was not
drinking milk but triangular blue milk. This kind of "affectively colored
whole" is what Vygotsky refers to as "Volkelt's scheme", or "Volkelt's

Volkelt's scheme came to a bad end. He eventually decided that we never
grow out of unanalyzable affectively colored perception-behavior wholes,
and this would explain the indivisible and inseparable devotion of the
German volk to their Fuhrer. So in later work Vygotsky is very careful to
distance himself from Volkelt even in his explanations of infant behavior:
in the Lectures on Pedology he argues that ALL THREE layers of behavior
(that is, instinct, habit, and intelligence) are present in infancy.

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

On Sat, Jan 9, 2016 at 10:50 PM, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com>

> Does anyone have a copy of "Volkelt's diagram" to hand that is referred to
> in The History of the Development of Higher Mental Functions (1997, p.85
> and onwards in ch. 4)?  I don't think a reference is given.
> Best,
> Huw