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



Dear Haydi:

In the very beginning of the text that Huw is reading, the HIstory of the
Development of the Higher Psychic Functions, Vygotsky writes of the basic
division psychology, between those who would treat the mind as something
made by "Deus Sive Natura" ("God, i.e. Nature"), like the eye or the hand
or any other physical phenomenon, and those who would treat the mind as (to
quote Mike's epigraph) an object which itself creates history. In one case,
we have an object which really can be usefully described synoptically, like
a sculpture that we can walk all the way around. But in the other we have a
process which can only be described dynamically, like a piece of theatre
that walks around us while we sit and observe.

Of course, we CAN argue, the way that Vico would argue, that to produce the
process is to fully understand it: we cannot fully understand the eye or
the hand, because although these things are part of us, they were made by
God. We can understand a telescope or a hammer, because although these
things are not part of us, they were made by ourselves. And we can even
argue that the process of making it is essentially the process of
understanding it: once you have made a telescope or a hammer and used it,
you have understood everything there is to know about it. That is, I
understand it, the position you attribute to dialectical logic, to CHAT,
and to Davydov, and I think you attribute it correctly. The problem is that
I am not sure that the position itself is correct.

The reason is this: we may be able to actively participate in the process
of producing and using a telescope or a hammer. We may even (although this
is much more problematic) actively participate in the process of producing
and using a mind or a personality. But our observational standpoint is
nevertheless fixed by our position in time: we can never "actively
participate" in constructing the counterfactual potential, the  meaning
potential, of a telescope or a hammer, much less a mind or a personality.
Our active participation is always fixed in the actual, and meaning
potential is accessible only through contemplation. It may be contemplation
with activity firmly in mind, but it is only potentially active and not
actually so.

I think this is a fundamental difference between Vygotsky and Leontiev, and
the activity theory that followed him: For Vygotsky, the autistic function
(that is, the irrealist function, the contemplative function which turns
away from immediate activity) may come late (as Vygotsky points out, it
receives major impetus from the acquisition of words and then concepts,
both of which come well after the beginning of social life), but this
"autistic" contemplative function is then never out of date: concepts are
not formed purely through activity, but also through the turning away from
reality oriented activity. And in that, he has the complete support of
Lenin, who knew a thing or two about how concepts are joined to action.

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

On Wed, Jan 13, 2016 at 12:06 AM, <haydizulfei@rocketmail.com> wrote:

>
> Thanks , David , for the two-parag. epigraph as always !
>
> --First of all, Kant says we cannot know / cognize a material object in
> itself because a priori we don't have an image of it so  we are unable to
> have an overlap between the two ; hence agnosticism let alone 'inner
> connections' of a whole as 'moments' . Dialectical Logic (close relative to
> CHAT) says as man relies on object-related activity while an ideal
> adaptable to the future coming object ever runs through the activity to the
> finish , is able to penetrate the depths . When you put the mental model
> into a material model , in reifying or objectifying that model into a
> finished product and all through the durational time , you can see what is
> necessary , essential and what is not . In higher momentums of conception ,
> you reach concepts and this is the time you've got a theoretical rational
> cognitive copy of the inner mechanisms and transformations of the related
> object or objects . When we say 'ideal' is a moment of an activity , we
> mean it's ever running through uninterruptedly because the whole entity
> falls down , collapses otherwise . Or if you aim to take it wholly apart ,
> again nothing is left for objectfication . Davydov says we cannot stop at
> phenomenology ; it's not to our will or taste ; we should ever reproduce
> our ever changing needs and products and that needs true science and true
> science needs true concepts . Yes , we want the object to move (dynamicity)
> according to its inner transformations (moments) which has come to us as
> fixated knowledge in speech and skills historically . We don't want to be
> stuck in our position observing it to move . If you take moments as moments
> of your positioning while observing , you've not been able to convert those
> phenomenal aspects (empiricism) into innermost movements hence agnosticism
> prevails . Yes ,  We could somehow treat these moments as always inhering ,
> how ? Are neoformations parts and parcels of some detachable independent
> separate phnomenon ? Are they not fused , interwoven , intertwined moments
> of inner mechanisms of whole development (internalization , appropriation ,
> instruction , development , upbringing involved) ? Does development or even
> periods of development contain , include some parts and parcels or do they
> subsume some moments of developmental transformations , those moments still
> sublated within the whole process reversible if development defects ?
>
> --Secondly , we agreed that moment is different from the instance as we
> took it as tokens , samples , etc. Everything began with the very fact .
>
> --Thirdly , with what I said , I suppose you've been responded to . Our
> focus is on moment as some (aspect as you say ; I first refrained from
> using 'aspectual' because aspect , too , does not convey the intention
> precisely) variable of a successive uninterrupted incessant moving movable
> whole in contrast to parts and parcels even components of some
> static internally immovable pseudo-stagnant whole which , if potentially
> realizable , will damage genuine cognition .
>
> Best
> Haydi
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
> *From:* David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
> *To:* Haydi Zulfei <haydizulfei@rocketmail.com>
> *Sent:* Tuesday, 12 January 2016, 9:08:03
> *Subject:* Re: [Xmca-l] Re: Volkelt's diagram (LSV's HMF Vol 4)
>
> Thanks, Haydi--I have always wondered what the word "molar" means (in the
> wk of Leontiev) and what the relationship to chemistry and dentistry is.
> Your explanation cleared this up, as well as clearing up the relation
> between "moment" and music.
>
> I'm not so sure that Andy's contribution--the idea that what is meant is a
> moment in calculus--is so irrelevant. You see, for me there are three
> problems that we have to work out in annotating Vygotsky's use of "moment"
> (and actually I think that the task of annotating Vygotsky's work is the
> real next step in Vygotsky studies, not mindless "mythbusting").
>
> First of all, "moment" is used in Kant, in Hegel, and in phenomenology in
> a way I would characterize as SYNOPTIC--that is, to describe something like
> a sculpture which does not move, which we may circumambulate and describe
> from various sides. But in Vygotsky the "object" being described is almost
> always no object at all, but rather an unfolding process. Where the
> synoptic object does not move and can be circumambulated, the dynamic
> object moves, and we are usually stuck in one position, observing it. This
> means that the "moments" are only aspects of the whole in retrospect: as we
> observe they tend to appear as neoformations which were not even present,
> much less typical, of the phenomenon previously. We could somehow treat
> these moments as always inhering, the way that puberty is implicit in a
> newborn infant) but treating real psychic phenomena like speech or
> musicality that way seems absurdly teleological and seems to deny the
> irreducible unpredictability of development. I think that the idea of
> "moment" as being a moment of an integral gets us around this (because even
> nonlinear functions can be integrated). Certainly if I were explaining
> "moment" to a high school teacher of science, I would use the example of
> angular momentum.
>
> Secondly, Vygotsky (and also Hegel) sometimes uses "moment" and sometimes
> uses "instance". Are these different? It seems to me that they are. The
> cline of instantiation, in Hallidayan linguistics, is quite different from
> the description of development. A text is an instance of a language, but
> it's not a 'moment'. A context of situation is an instance of a context of
> culture, but it's not a moment of it. We cannot say that "weather" is a
> "moment" in the development of a climate: it's an instance. Viewed
> synoptically, weather and climate are simply to different chronological
> sections of one and the same phenomenon (akin to using "phylogenesis",
> "ontogenesis", "microgenesis"). But that brings me to a third problem,
> where it seems to me that Haydi's musical analogy is indispensible.
>
> I think that it is only when we treat the phenomenon to be described
> synoptically, and not when we treat it dynamically, that we can seriously
> say that, for example, weather and climate are descriptions of the same
> phenomenon which differ in granularity. In fact, weather is chiefly
> influenced by wind; the angle of the sun (or the relationship between solar
> radiation absorbed and solar radiation reflected out into space) is
> present, but it is much less immediately causal. With climate, it's the
> other way around. When we say that word meaning develops, we see much the
> same qualitative shifts: sense is a constitutive moment of infant speech
> while signiication is quite peripheral, whereas with dialogue on xmca we
> have the reverse relationship. This shift in the organic make up of the
> phenomenon also occurs with other dynamic phenomena, and an obvious way to
> grasp this is Haydi's example of music: recitative in opera, for example,
> is dominated by melody (derived from speech), but arias are much more
> regular and rhythmical (and for this reason stand somewhat closer to
> emotion and to logical thought, even when looked at as text).
>
> David Kellogg
> Macquarie University
>
> On Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 6:04 PM, <haydizulfei@rocketmail.com> wrote:
>
>
> Dear all ,
>
> Look at this please !
>
> [[V. S. Bibler has singled out the following basic features of a thought
> experiment: 1) The
> object of cognition is mentally transferred to conditions where its
> essence can be revealed
> particularly clearly; 2) this object then undergoes further mental
> transformations; 3) this same
> experiment leads to the formation of a system of mental links in which the
> object is
> “embedded.” If the construction of this object can still be represented as
> a process of
> abstraction of the real object’s properties, then this third moment
> essentially becomes a
> productive contribution to the mentally represented object. It is only
> within this special
> system of links that the object’s content gets revealed.]]
>
> This is the same with "activity" as "molar" , that is , activity , action
> , operation are not parts or stages of a whole , discrete and separate even
> componential . As I can think of it , it is a point in a circular
> succession of a whole which could naturally be manifest in temporal
> instants . By definition , in a round of activity , neither itself , nor
> action , nor operation could keep to their constancy or stability or
> independence or invariability. At each point of succession or motionality ,
> because of opposites , alterations in drives , motives
> , emotional incentives or stimuation , each of the three could be converted
> in the other as we all have seen .
>
> And there's an affinity in music domain . A whole melody is played with
> all nuances , pitch , other contours in their entire composition . It's a
> whole to be absorbed in its entirety so that the invited pleasurable
> feeling is obtained . Usually some individual wouldn't refer to a
> particular part or stage orietating on which this or that kind of affect or
> ecstacy runs through the soul . The individual might even stop to think of
> how to express it and he might  finally resort to imitation . Then , the
> philosopher , might refer to that particular point or that single note in
> whole composition or in playing as moment or as a temporal instant on which
> such and such a manifestation , event , episode , feature , state occurs .
> Taking that single note apart from the whole might be uncognizable or
> immanipulative in itself and the whole without it or with a substitute
> might lose the favor . Another example might be the "ideal" which is said
> to be immersed in material activity . Davydov's works are good sources for
> such qurries but I can't give a locus now .
>
>
>
> Best
>
> Haydi
>
>
>
>
>
>