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



Huw:

Yes, Vygotsky uses "instants" and even more often "moments", and the word
"moment" sometimes means a stage, or a phase, or a step (as in the three
"moments" of the formation of the concept in Hegel, as in "in itself", "for
others", "for myself".

One of the most difficult problems we had to solve in translating the
Lectures on Pedology was that Vygotsky very clearly distinguishes three
moments of speech development: indicative, nominative, and signifying.
"Indicative" is often non-verbal, e.g. a pointing gesture. "Nominating" is
ipso facto verbal, because it is the naming function: "every thing has a
name". But "signifying" is much harder to pin down, and in one place
Vygotsky actually says that it is synonymous with the adult understanding
that anything can be named. So what is the difference between knowing that
everything has a name and the knowledge that any thing can be named?

I think that the distinction is just as subtle and just as significant
as the distinction between pointing to something with a gesture, pointing
to something with a word like "this" or "that", and pointing to something
with a word like "apple" or "pear". If I say that "everything has a name",
the name could be extremely general ("everything" or "thing") or it could
be highly specific ("Huw" or "this computer"). But I don't yet have the
idea that names are invented, and that therefore it is possible to name
objects which do not exist, and therefore to bring into existence modes of
pure abstract thinking through language. That's signifying, and it is
indeed a new moment, or a new instant, in the lifelong process of speech
development.

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

On Sun, Jan 10, 2016 at 4:04 PM, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com>
wrote:

> Thank you, David. That helps to explain a particular aspect that I thought
> Vygotsky was overlooking in the narrative, which is that stimuli can not
> only signify but also symbolise, i.e. they afford the kind of dynamics you
> have elucidated from Volkelt's schema.
>
> I have also noted that the translation of phrases like "instances of a
> process" is probably off the mark too.  What is really meant, I believe, is
> "instants of a process".  These have two rather different meanings from the
> perspective of thinking about processes.
>
> Best,
> Huw
>
> On 10 January 2016 at 06:02, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Huw:
> >
> > 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
> > schemata".
> >
> > 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>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > 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
> > >
> >
>