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[Xmca-l] Re: Ilyenkov, Marx, & Spinoza



Thank you! :)

--
festina lente


> On 4 Aug 2017, at 15:38, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> Ivan,
> I think that is the best explanation of the very poorly named concept
> "double (dual) stimulation".
> I have never before been able to make sense of that concept but now in two
> brief sentences, you've made it crystal clear.
> Thank you for that (extra stimulus!).
> -greg
> 
>> On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 11:34 PM, Ivan Uemlianin <ivan@llaisdy.com> wrote:
>> 
>> Re Buridan's ass: didn't Vygotsky suggest a human would toss a coin? i.e.
>> provide themself with an extra stimulus that would differentiate the
>> options.
>> 
>> Ivan
>> 
>> --
>> festina lente
>> 
>> 
>>> On 4 Aug 2017, at 01:21, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> 
>>> I think that Sasha, on p. 37 of "Ilyenkov and the Revolution in
>>> Psychology", slips one by us. He quotes Davydov, who says that Ilyenkov
>>> provided the logical-philosophical basis for cultural-historical theory
>> and
>>> for Vygotsky's theory of instruction based on development. He then says
>>> that Davydov is wrong on both counts: neither Ilyenkov nor Vygotsky would
>>> have considered cultural-historical theory truly scientific, and Ilyenkov
>>> hardly ever mentions Vygotsky. Before we can ask what Sasha means by the
>>> first, he is off trying to explain why Ilyenkov doesn't mention Vygotsky
>>> much. There are lots of reasons not to mention Vygotsky when you are
>> doing
>>> philosophy. I am more interested in Sasha's notion that Vygotsky would
>> not
>>> have considered Davydov's version of the theory scientific.
>>> 
>>> Sasha calls Ilyenkov, Vygotsky, and Marx anti-naturalists. He says it is
>>> because of their recognition of the social, cultural-historical nature of
>>> the human psyche. But in all three cases, that social,
>> cultural-historical
>>> "nature" really is natural at its base: it depends on a "thinking body"
>> in
>>> the case of Ilyenkov (something Descartes would not have rejected!), it
>>> depends on the domestication of the human body and mind in the case of
>>> Vygotsky, and of course it depends on the transformation of use values
>> into
>>> exchange values in Marx. So I am not at all sure in what sense they are
>>> "anti-naturalist". If we take the Spinozan view, to be anti-naturalist is
>>> to be anti-substance, anti-thought, anti-extension. I don't think that
>>> applies to Marx, Vygotsky, or even Ilyenkov.
>>> 
>>> I'm reading the Pedology of the Adolescent, and I find Vygotsky to be
>> much
>>> more methodologically eclectic than Sasha suggests with phrases like
>> "sole
>>> correct scientific method" and "whose theoretical analysis alone" (38).
>> In
>>> my reading, Vygotsky doesn't think of methods like that: methods are only
>>> appropriate or inappropriate to problems of study. When you are studying
>>> behaviour, psychology may be the appropriate method, but when you are
>>> studying anatomy, try physiology. It is clear that Vygotsky has a
>>> preference for his own "functional method of dual stimulation", but that
>> is
>>> precisely because it is appropriate to the goal of diagnosing the "next",
>>> or proximal, zone of development. I think that even the psychotherapist's
>>> couch, which as Sasha points out was artificially constructed out of
>>> Freud's overwheening self-interest, had a place in Vygotsky's "science
>> of a
>>> natural whole": the only method he really does reject with disgust is the
>>> practice of imagining what it is like to be a child and then pretending
>>> that you have real scientific data. In the HDHMF, Vygotsky has a good
>> deal
>>> to say about Wundt and Titchener, not all of it critical (Chapters 3,4,5,
>>> where "Titchener's Piano" is the empirical basis of his experiments with
>>> choice). In contrast, Vygotsky has nothing to say about Socrates and
>> Plato.
>>> 
>>> I think that, rather like the "aphorisms" Sasha cites on 39, Sasha's
>> paper
>>> just touches on the problem that has always puzzled me: how Vygotsky
>>> reconciles the explanans of Spinoza with his chosen explanandum of choice
>>> and free will. It seems to me that they are reconcilable, but only
>> through
>>> the path that Sasha refuses to take, that is, the path of the semiotic,
>>> semantic, systemic structure of the "thinking body". Vygotsky says that
>> he
>>> wants to know what a real human does in the Buridan situation, tethered
>>> like the donkey between two equidistant and apparently equal piles of
>> hay.
>>> 
>>> Buridan himself would say that such a situation does not exist: piles of
>>> hay are never equidistant and never exactly equal, and the universe is
>>> really constructed like a chess game, where in any conceivable situation,
>>> there is one and only one perfectly rational move, even if it is quite
>>> beyond the power of man, beast, or even supercomputer to ever know what
>> it
>>> is. That was, I gather, Spinoza's solution as well, except that Spinoza
>>> drew the logical conclusion that when you do not know which choice is
>>> better, you must necessarily defer until you do. In the meantime, the
>>> proliferation of choice, like the proliferation of method, is a positive
>>> good, the closest we miserable slaves can get to freedom.
>>> 
>>> David Kellogg
>>> Macquarie University
>>> 
>>> "The Great Globe and All Who It Inherit:
>>> Narrative and Dialogue in Story-telling with
>>> Vygotsky, Halliday, and Shakespeare"
>>> 
>>> Free Chapters Downloadable at:
>>> 
>>> https://www.sensepublishers.com/media/2096-the-great-
>> globe-and-all-who-it-inherit.pdf
>>> 
>>> Recent Article: Thinking of feeling: Hasan, Vygotsky, and Some
>> Ruminations
>>> on the Development of Narrative in Korean Children
>>> 
>>> Free E-print Downloadable at:
>>> 
>>> http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/8Vaq4HpJMi55DzsAyFCf/full
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>>> On Mon, Jul 31, 2017 at 5:23 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu>
>> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> Hello,
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> I did my best to follow the thread on Ilyenkov, Marx, & Spinoza and I
>>>> probably did not read it as closely as I could have, nor did I read the
>>>> originating article, that is, the one Mike attached as the knot to this
>>>> thread, but I shall.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Of course being a big fan of Spinoza I had to eye-wig in and see what
>> was
>>>> to be seen on this here persistent thread.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> I would like to make a contribution as a point in contrast, to what is
>>>> becoming more prominent in my understanding of the non-dual view of the
>>>> apparent world as seen through Vedanta.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> First, and I'm sure I shall be corrected, please note, I see the Western
>>>> viewpoint (as springing from Descartes) as depicted as a linear rational
>>>> (and historical) view whereby thought and material are different
>> entities.
>>>> As I understand, according to Descartes, material comes into being
>> through
>>>> thought. I think first before I am first. Is this correct?
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Spinoza, as I understand, saw that there was a historical aspect that
>>>> Descartes missed that we actually transform material and it transforms
>> our
>>>> thought and so on, as they weaves through one another. And so on through
>>>> time. But how could this happen that if material and thought were of
>>>> different substances?  (Am I getting this right?)
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> But he also saw that we are not separate from nature, and are indeed
>>>> helplessly subject to it, we are nature but nature isn't us. Yet this
>>>> nature could not be separate from God, and thus with some lens-grinding
>>>> Spinoza came to see that not only is nature not separate from God, and
>> that
>>>> nature is not separate from us, but God is also not separate from us
>>>> because we are of the same "substance" in nature, that we are indeed,
>> as if
>>>> the same "material."
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> But then what of free will? Are we merely reacting like mechanical
>> robots,
>>>> or chemical reactions? or is there choice?
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>> From my Vedanta studies there are similarities to the monist Sponiza
>>>> worldview of nature and God being one substance extending through time,
>>>> transforming through laws of physics and so forth. I'm not clear how
>>>> Spinoza saw the mind, and it seems that psychology, not having been
>>>> named/formed/created historically at that point in time, he had to have
>> a
>>>> different word for that, which seems to have been "spirit," methinks.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> So we are at odds at the way translations go not only from one language
>> to
>>>> another but from one historical moment to another (the way words mind
>>>> versus spirit are used). But the actual ontology was perhaps the very
>>>> turtle both psychology's notion of mind and Spinoza's notion of spirit
>> were
>>>> identically referencing.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Just thinking out loud here.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Now in Vedanta, the cosmology is such that the mind and the body are
>>>> indeed one substance, if there is a substance at all. And that the
>>>> perceivable world, is just a beginningless dance of names and forms,
>>>> whereby one thing becomes another thing, and its name changes, and so on
>>>> through time and space. That there is an order of consequences through
>>>> actions and reactions. Understanding the nature of those actions and
>>>> reactions helps offer choice to the person, as to what actions one
>> hopes to
>>>> perform to gain a particular (desired) consequence. And such is the
>>>> importance of karma, to consider one's actions and the consequences that
>>>> will come of them. It's just science, but a science incorporating the
>>>> subtle forms not just the gross.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> If all that is here is non-dual, as the ancients claimed, then it would
>>>> have to mean that mind and body are one substance, it seems that quantum
>>>> physics does show that things are not as solid as we might think, and
>> that
>>>> the mind is not as unaffected by gross material as we once thought.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> So if I am understanding the Vedic view of the mind and body being
>>>> material, that is, of one substance, this substance must exist in name
>> and
>>>> form across a spectrum, whereby on the one side we have all that is
>> subtle,
>>>> and on the other we have all that is gross, again in terms of name and
>> form
>>>> of said substance.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> A metaphor for this concept could be a consideration of the different
>>>> forms of water. Solid at one temperature, liquid in another, and steam
>> in
>>>> yet another. If time and space are relative (i.e., Einstein), then let's
>>>> pretend that they are infinitely stable if seen at an instant in time
>> (like
>>>> now, the present moment). Then it does seem that ice is a different
>>>> "material" than water, and also steam. But in reality their substance is
>>>> identical: H2O.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> This is a gross simplification (pun intended), because we have one
>>>> substance in three forms, but never at the same time, though in the same
>>>> place. The change is caused by temperature, and we can only see the
>> change
>>>> of form witnessed through time. But also the name changes too. So there
>> is
>>>> as if an appearance of a linear change.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> W1(ice) must pass through W2(water) to become W3(steam) and back again,
>>>> through time (with the help of temperature), but W occupies the same
>> space,
>>>> though the volume might change a little.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> OK, thanks for staying with me this far.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> As I'm understanding it, there is in the Vedic worldview three gunas
>>>> (branches, or better "properties") of which the perceivable world
>> consists,
>>>> these being sattwa (energy, purity, light), rajas (action, movement,
>> heat),
>>>> and tamas (form, heaviness, inertia, darkness). And every *thing* that
>> can
>>>> be a *thing* is a unique combination of sattwa, rajas, and tamas. But
>> this
>>>> is relative. For example a rock as more tamas than a river, which has
>> more
>>>> rajas than a rock, but the sunlight shining on the rock and the river
>> have
>>>> more sattwa than either of them. In otherwords, it's all relative.
>> There is
>>>> tamas and sattva in the river, and rajas and tamas in the sunlight, and
>>>> sattwa and rajas even in the rock, but those are in smaller ratios than
>> the
>>>> other dominant properties therein.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> If we consider Einstein's theory of relativity, E = mc2, then this might
>>>> also be seen sattwa = tamas multiplied by the speed of rajas. Put
>> another
>>>> way, that tamas in its gross form is transformed into sattwa its subtle
>>>> form through rajas, its movement(activity) through time and space.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> This is from the aspect of the material world, as we (humans) can
>>>> perceive, through physical laws. That there is only one substance here,
>> by
>>>> metaphor like water, is what Spinoza (I think) was attempting to "see,"
>>>> through a lens of inquiry and curiosity. How might this inquiry
>> transcend
>>>> the dualism as presented by Descartes?
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> But I would like to prpose right about now that the dualism as presented
>>>> by Descartes was "historically invented" as a means to bypass
>> intellectual
>>>> persecution by the Church fathers (i.e. Galileo). It is not apparent to
>> me
>>>> that Descartes even believed everything that he wrote, but that it was a
>>>> story crafted to gift the material world for experimentation (with
>>>> impunity) to the scientists (so we could really figure out what was
>> going
>>>> on here in the material world) and to leave the empty carton of the
>>>> "spiritual" (i.e. the mind) to the Church, which was just like selling
>> the
>>>> Church a bridge that leads to swampland, really. And it worked!
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> I digress. Because the mind question really is a material question, but
>> of
>>>> a subtle nature, and it would have to be that if we assert non-duality,
>>>> which I am, but you do not have to, as that is your choice! :)
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> It ends up that much of cognitive science is showing mind as a material
>>>> question to be the case, for example by its examination of distributed
>>>> cognition, embodied thinking, and so on, and also in cultural psychology
>>>> (like wet water) the way culture's soup creates so much of our human
>>>> experience. It is all relative, which means, to be relative it must be
>> one
>>>> unified substance. Mind is created through activity and culture, which
>> also
>>>> creates activity and culture, as woven threads extending out through
>> time
>>>> and space in all directions.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Substance is a difficult and slippery word, because anything that would
>> be
>>>> made of this substance couldn't be perceived by us, as we are products
>> of
>>>> that substance.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> It gets a bit Escher here if we could. You know staircases collapsing
>> upon
>>>> one another, or hands drawing themselves, etc. Kind of Mobius strippy.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> But this creates a reality of turtles all the way down, of infinite
>>>> regression. That does not work.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Spinoza's insight is that there IS a oneness, and that this can be
>>>> experienced ("seen"), but only through spiritual pursuit of
>>>> self-examination and inquiry, which was a kind of purification to him.
>> In
>>>> this sense there is free will, because one is choosing to do this self
>>>> reflection, but on the other hand there is a necessary result that
>> comes of
>>>> seeing what is already there, nothing is "produced". Hence the beauty of
>>>> him being a lensgrinder, is a marvelous metaphor in so many aspects.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> My intuition is that LSV was attempting to balance Spinoza's substance
>>>> with Marx's materialism as a way to bring the two together, with the
>> goal
>>>> of illustrating that there was a predictable "physics" to the way mind
>>>> develops as a necessary consequence of culture moving through history
>> (i.e.
>>>> meaning), and vice versa (culture and history being created in turn by
>>>> mind).
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> This is not a linear summation or consequence, but an intermingling of
>>>> three properties (in relation to one another), light, mass, and energy
>> or
>>>> as the ancients called them sattwa, rajas, and tamas, and these
>> properties
>>>> are always in movement and in consequence to one another, but from the
>>>> aspect of the perceivable world.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>> From the aspect of itself, it is static, nothing is changing, and it
>>>> exists outside of time and space. This is what Spinoza would have called
>>>> God (or nature), or in Vedanta, "Brahman," which cannot be objectified,
>> but
>>>> it can be known because it is the only "thing" here, upon which all
>> things
>>>> depend for existence. Like the pot is dependent upon the clay for its
>>>> existence.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> This metaphor useful here for how the clay still "sees itself" as clay
>>>> even if it is in the shape of the pot, or a plate, but the pot can only
>>>> "see itself" as a pot if the form is of a particularly named shape, but
>> is
>>>> no longer one if the pot-shape is shattered, though the clay remains
>>>> regardless of the presence of the pot-shape or shard-shape. It is still
>>>> clay. Relative to the pot, the clay is not changing, outside time and
>>>> space, relative to the pot, which is changing inside time and space.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> When a pot can only see its own potness, then it appears there can be no
>>>> unifying principle inside time and space. It is a duality. But if pot
>> can
>>>> see that its true unifying substance is clay, then its clayness stands
>>>> outside of time and space, and it continues to exist as long as clay is
>>>> there, just in transformation from the aspect inside time and space, but
>>>> eternal from the aspect outside of time and space.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Thanks for reading, and thanks also for your commentary. All being food
>> in
>>>> my pot. :)
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Kind regards,
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Annalisa
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> --
>> 
>> 
>> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Anthropology
> 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> Brigham Young University
> Provo, UT 84602
> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson