Dear SashaI like this summary ... until the bit where you link Vygotsky with Rousseau and Kant.
To my eye, Vygotsky's writing has the influence of Spinoza stamped all over it. The development of the child is a story of the smaller, relatively passive body (i.e. the child) becoming aligned with, sharing in the life of, the larger, relatively active body (i.e. the social environment).
This is not a story of pre-existing entities coming to an agreement or a social contract.
Do you think Kant's influence on Vygotsky is stronger than Spinoza's? Best wishes Ivan On 12/09/2017 01:27, Alexander Surmava wrote:
Some reflections on the category of activity Theoretical understanding of the category of activity (deyatelnosti) in the philosophy of the Modern Era goes back to Spinoza. The one whose cause of action belongs to himself is active. Active is the one who acts (according the form of it's object). It is not the one who moves according to an external impulse or program of a trajectory. Conversely, the one whose movement or conditions are determined by any external cause, external influence or stimulus is passive. By the way, the concept of the Subject as it is is inseparable from the concept of activity. There where is no object oriented activity, there is no subject, no psychy, no life.The Stimulus-Reaction relationship is entirely passive, at least from the reacting side. Therefore, the S->R relationship is an attribute of the mechanism and is incompatible with living subjectivity. Thus, a computer responsive to clicks of a mouse or keyboard in accordance with its program is not a subject, but an entirely mechanical automaton, a passive obedient to our will object of OUR activity, our subjectivity. The same can be said about the Cartesian animals and the primitive, non-cultured man in the representation of the old philosophy (and to a large extent of Vygotsky and paradoxically even Ilyenkov).The question arises - how, according to the old philosophers, emerges a subject?Descartes' responce is - magically. Through the magical joining of the disembodied soul to the mechanical body. Through the addition of a purposeful free will to the causal mechanical stimulus-reactive automaton. Obviously, from the point of view of rational, scientific logic, Descartes' solution is a dead end.Meanwhile, the problem, in this formulation, simply has no solution. Basically.Starting from passive, simply reacting body we will never come to free subject. (In parentheses, recall that stimulus-reactive logic in any scientific understanding of both physiology and psychology is almost the only logic up to the present day.) The next attempt to solve the problem belongs to the philosophers of the Enlightenment. Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Kant, who completed this line of thought, belive that the transition from the unfree, animal-like existence of people to freedom and reason take place through a social contract. In other words, according to these philosphers freedom is achieved through a specific convention, agreement. Let's notice, that over a natural question, how mechanical, in fact automatic machine is capable to make such a somersault of a mortal they did not reflect. According to their teachings, it is necessary to distinguish between the natural state of a person in which he is similar to an animal, and his cultural state in which he becomes above his unfree natural affects and bodily impulses and gains freedom. You probably noticed that actually this is the formulation of the so-called cultural-historical theory of Vygotsky and this logic is equally far from both the real culture, and from real history, and from Marxism.Although, it can not be denied that Vygotsky had good philosophical grounds for his theory. Rousseau and Kant are the greatest thinkers in the history of culture. Let me finish this now, for it's already 3:00 a.m. in Moscow :-)If the topic seems interesting, I'll continue it tomorrow.Sashaпонедельник, 11 сентября 2017 23:38 Alfredo Jornet Gil <firstname.lastname@example.org> писал(а):Just to add some precedents, Dewey had taken the transactional view more or less at the same time as Vygotsky was lecturing on perezhivanie, when he formulated the notion of 'an experience' as unity of doing and undergoing, in his Art as Experience (1932-1934), and explicitly names his approach as *transactional* (vs self-factional and interactional) in Dewey and Bentley's Knowing and the Known, 1949. Marx and Engels too speak to the 'passible' nature of 'real experience', in their "The Holy Family", when critiquing "Critical Criticism" and speculative construction for going against "everything living, everything which is immediate, every sensuous experience, any and every *real* experience, the 'Whence' and 'Whither' of which one never *knows* beforehand". Alfredo________________________________________From: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> on behalf of mike cole <email@example.com> Sent: 11 September 2017 21:14 To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Отв: Re: Unit of Analysis Ivan-- your comment about everything being relative and the citation from Spinoza seem to fit pretty well with what Michael commented upon. For those of us trained as experimental psychologists, Spinoza was not a central feature of the curriculum (a well known cognitive psychologist colleague of mind outspokenly banned philosophy from consideration similar to Pavlov's ban on use of psychological vocabulary to talk about conditional reflexes in dogs. Consequently, your remarks are very valuable in helping to understand the issues at stake at stake among the cognoscenti vis a vis the particular topic at hand. thanks mike On Mon, Sep 11, 2017 at 12:08 PM, mike cole <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:I agree with your suggestions. I also consider actions to be transactions and happy to open the way to "feelings" instead of "sensations," which in English would accomplish the job. But its a terrible problem that we live life forward and understand it backwards. Leads to all sorts of tangles in the tread of life. mike On Mon, Sep 11, 2017 at 11:40 AM, Wolff-Michael Roth < email@example.com> wrote:Mike, if you add, "the capacity to be affected," then you open up theoretical possibilities for affect (emotion). I have recently suggested to think not in terms of actions but transactions. So, for example, listening to someone else requires (a) actively attending and (b) receiving what you (in most cases) not already know. That is, while actively attending to someone else speak, you do not know (grasp) what is affecting you until you realize that you are hurt (insulted etc). Anyway, you cannot reduce this to activity or passivity, because there are two movements, a going (attending) and a coming (receiving), efferent and afferent... So you are thinking in terms of transactions, the kind that you would get if you take seriously perezhivanie as the unity/identity of person and environment. Michael Wolff-Michael Roth, Lansdowne Professor ------------------------------------------------------------ -------------------- Applied Cognitive Science MacLaurin Building A567 University of Victoria Victoria, BC, V8P 5C2 http://web.uvic.ca/~mroth <http://education2.uvic.ca/faculty/mroth/> New book: *The Mathematics of Mathematics <https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/bookseries/new-dir ections-in-mathematics-and-science-education/the-mathematics -of-mathematics/>* On Mon, Sep 11, 2017 at 11:18 AM, mike cole <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:Aha! So we are not talking about a passive neonate. Whew. Passibility is a new word for me, Michael. The OED's first two entries appear to incompass both Ivan and your usage: 1. Chiefly *Theol.* The quality of being passible; capacity forsufferingor sensation. 2. Passiveness; inaction; sloth. *Obs.* *rare*. To me, the addition of the word sensation to suffering broadens itsmeaningsignificantly. Recently a Russian colleague suggested to me that Spinoza's use of thetermpassion would best be translated as perezhivanie. Certainly it bears a relationship to the concept of perezhivanie as that term is used by Vasiliuk. mike On Mon, Sep 11, 2017 at 10:49 AM, Wolff-Michael Roth < email@example.com> wrote:Ivan, the word passive has some unfortunate connotation. The term passibility--the capacity to suffer--seems to come with a range of affordances (e.g., see my book *Passibility*). Michael Wolff-Michael Roth, Lansdowne Professor ------------------------------------------------------------ -------------------- Applied Cognitive Science MacLaurin Building A567 University of Victoria Victoria, BC, V8P 5C2 http://web.uvic.ca/~mroth <http://education2.uvic.ca/faculty/mroth/> New book: *The Mathematics of Mathematics <https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/bookseries/new- directions-in-mathematics-and-science-education/the- mathematics-of-mathematics/>* On Mon, Sep 11, 2017 at 10:37 AM, Ivan Uemlianin <firstname.lastname@example.org>wrote:Dear Sasha Passive as in driven by the passions. Isn't that how Spinoza would characterise animals and infants? Ivan -- festina lenteOn 11 Sep 2017, at 18:05, Alexandre Sourmava <email@example.com>wrote:Dear Ivan. To say that "that the neo-nate is not active at all, but passive,andthat therefore neo-nate behaviour is not activity" means to say thatneonate is not alive creature, but mechanic agregate of dead parts.And Iamnot sure that idea about passiveness of animals or neo-nate fallowsfromSpinoza :-).Sasha 扭抉扶快忱快抖抆扶我抗, 11 扼快扶找攸忌把攸 2017 18:07 Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org扭我扼忘抖(忘):Yes, I think a further elaboration of this idea would lead to an examination of needs and activity and sensuousness in connection with needs and their development in connection with activity. Andy ------------------------------------------------------------ Andy Blunden http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htmOn 12/09/2017 1:01 AM, Alfredo Jornet Gil wrote: Thanks Andy, the sense of 'visceral' is much more nuanced in your text, yes, and quite different from what one could grasp from the previous e-mail. And I now follow your elaboration on micro- and macro-unit much better, so thanks for that. I was hoping, however, that the elaboration would lead to some acknowledgement of the role of needs, real needs, as key to what the word 'visceral' was suggesting here. I was thinking that rather than a 'grasping', we gain more track by talking of an orienting, which is how I read Marx and Engels, when Marx talks about the significance of 'revolutionary', 'practical-critical' activity, the fundamental fact of a need and its connections to its production and satisfaction. A ------------------------------------------------------------ *From:* Andy Blunden <email@example.com> *Sent:* 09 September 2017 03:30 *To:* Alfredo Jornet Gil; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity *Subject:* Re: [Xmca-l] Re: Unit of Analysis Yes, it is tough discussing these topics by email. All the issues you raise are treated in http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/Goethe-Hegel-Marx_public.pdfI am *not* dividing the world into 'immediate, bodily, and sensuous' and 'mediated, disembodied, and a-sensuous'. The whole point is to begin by *not* dividing. By contrast for example, Newton explained natural processes (very successfully!) by describing a number of "forces"; a force is an example of something which is not visceral or sensuous (and also not discrete so it can't be a 'unit'). The "expression" of a force can be visceral (think of the effect of gravity) but gravity itself is an invention needed to make a theory of physics work (like God's Will) but has no content other than its expression. People got by without it for millennia. This is not to say it does not have a sound basis in material reality. But it is abstract, in the sense that it exists only within the framework of a theory, and cannot therefore provide a starting point or foundation for a theory. To claim that a force exists is to reify an abstraction from a form of movement (constant acceleration between two bodies). Goethe called his method "delicate empiricism" but this is something quite different from the kind of empiricism which uncritically accepts theory-laden perceptions, discovers patterns in these perceptions and then reifies these patterns in forces and such abstractions. If you don't know about climatology then you can't guess the unit of analysis. Marx took from 1843 to about 1858 to determine a unit of analysis for economics. Vygotsky took from about 1924 to 1931 to determine a unit of analysis for intellect. And both these characters studied their field obsessively during that interval. This is why I insist that the unit of analysis is a *visceral concept* unifying a series of phenomena, something which gets to the heart of a process, and which therefore comes only through prolonged study, not something which is generated by some formula with a moment's reflection. Each unit is the foundation of an entire science. But both Marx's Capital and Vygotsky's T&S identify a micro-unit but quickly move on to the real phenomenon of interest - capital and concepts respectively. But capital (which makes its appearance in chapter 4) cannot be understood without having first identified the real substance of value in the commodity. The rest of the book then proceeds on the basis of this unit, capital (i.e., a unit of capital, a firm). To ignore capital is to depict bourgeois society as a society of simple commodity exchange among equals - a total fiction. Likewise, Vygotsky's real aim it to elucidate the nature and development of concepts. He does not say it, and probably does not himself see it, but "concept" is a macro-unit (or molar unit in ANL's term), an aggregate of actions centred on a symbol or other artefact. The whole point of introducing the cell into biology was to understand the behaviour of *organisms*, not for the sake of creating the science of cell biology, though this was a side benefit of the discovery. Andy ------------------------------------------------------------ Andy Blunden http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htmOn 9/09/2017 5:31 AM, Alfredo Jornet Gil wrote: Andy, thanks for your clarification on the 'visceral'. The way you describe it, though, suggests to me an empiricist position that I know you do not ascribe to; and so I'll take it that either I've missed the correct reading, or that we are still developing language to talk about this. In any case, I assume you do not mean that whatever our object of study is, it is divided between the visceral as the 'immediate, bodily, and sensuous' and something else that, by implication, may have been said to be 'mediated, disembodied, and a-sensuous' (you may as well mean precisely this, I am not sure). I do not know what the climatologist's unit of analysis is when discussing hurricanes either, but I do think that Hurricanes Irma, Jos谷, etc, are expressions of a system in a very similar way that any psychological fact is a expression of the society as part of which it occurs. I was thinking that, if we assumed for a second that we know what the unit for studying of hurricanes is (some concrete relation between climate or environment and hurricane), 'feeling' the hurricane could be thought of in may ways, only some of which may be helpful to advance our scientific understanding of human praxis. The way you seemed to refer to this 'visceral' aspect, as 'immediate, embodied, and sensous' would make things hard, because, are we 'feeling' the hurricane, or the wind blowing our roofs away? In fact, is it the wind at all, or the many micro particles of soil and other matter that are smashing our skin as the hurricane passes above us, too big, too complex, to be 'felt' in any way that captures it all? And so, if your object of study is to be 'felt', I don't think the definition of 'immediate, embodied, and sensuous' helps unless we mean it WITHOUT it being the opposite to 'mediated, disembodied, and a-sensuous'. That is, if we do not oppose the immediate to the mediated in the sense just implied (visceral is immediate vs. 'not-visceral' is mediated). So, I am arguing in favour of the claim that we need to have this visceral relation that you mention, but I do think that we require a much more sophisticated definition of 'visceral' than the one that the three words already mentioned allow for. I do 'feel' that in most of his later works, Vygotsky was very concerned on emphasising the unity of intellect and affect as the most important problem for psychology for precisely this reason. I have also my reservations with the distinction that you draw in your e-mail between micro-unit and macro-unit. If the question is the production of awareness, of the 'experience of having a mind' that you are discussing with Michael, then we have to find just one unit, not two, not one micro and one macro. I am of course not saying that one unit addresses all the problems one can pose for psychology. But I do think that the very idea of unit analysis implies that it constitutes your field of inquiry for a particular problem (you've written about this). You ask about Michael's mind, and Michael responds that his mind is but one expression of a society.I would add that whatever society is as a whole, it lives as consciousness in and through each and every single one of our consciousness; if so, the unit Vygotsky was suggesting, the one denoting the unity of person and situation, seems to me well suited; not a micro-unit that is micro with respect to the macro-activity. If you take the Spinozist position that 'a true idea must agree with that of which it is the idea', and then agree with Vygotsky that ideas are not intellect on the one hand, and affect on the other, but a very special relation (a unity) between the two, then we need a notion of 'visceral and sensous' that is adequate to our 'idea' or field of inquiry. We can then ask questions about the affects of phenomena, of hurricanes, for example, as Latour writes about the 'affects of capitalism'. And we would do so without implying an opposition between the feeling and the felt, but some production process that accounts for both. Perezhivanie then, in my view, is not so much about experience as it is about human situations; historical events, which happen to have some individual people having them as inherent part of their being precisely that: historical events (a mindless or totally unconscious event would not be historical). I am no fun of frightening away people in the list with too long posts like this one, but I think the issue is complex and requires some elaboration. I hope xmca is also appreciated for allowing going deep into questions that otherwise seem to alway remain elusive. Alfredo ------------------------------------------------------------ *From:* Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org> *Sent:* 08 September 2017 04:11 *To:* Alfredo Jornet Gil; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity *Subject:* Re: [Xmca-l] Re: Unit of Analysis Alfredo, by "visceral" I mean it is something you know through your immediate, bodily and sensuous interaction with something. In this sense I am with Lakoff and Johnson here (though not being American I don't see guns as quite so fundamental to the human condition). Consider what Marx did when began Capital not from the abstract concept of "value" but from the action of exchanging commodities . Commodity exchange is just one form of value, but it is the most ancient, most visceral, most "real" and most fundamental form of value - as Marx shows in s. 3 of Chapter 1, v. I. I have never studied climatology, Alfredo, to the extent of grasping what their unit of analysis is. In any social system, including classroom activity, the micro-unit is an artefact-mediated action and the macro-units are the activities. That is the basic CHAT approach. But that is far from the whole picture isn't it? What chronotope determines classroom activity - are we training people to be productive workers or are we participating in social movements or are we engaged in transforming relations of domination in the classroom or are we part of a centuries-old struggle to understand and change the world? The action/activity just gives us one range of insights, but we might analyse the classroom from different perspectives. Andy ------------------------------------------------------------ Andy Blunden http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm https://andyblunden.academia.edu/researchOn 8/09/2017 7:58 AM, Alfredo Jornet Gil wrote: I am very curious about what "visceral" means here (Andy), andparticularly how that relates to the 'interrelations' that David D.ismentioning, and that on the 'perspective of the researcher'.I was thinking of the Hurricanes going on now as theexpressionsofasystem, one that sustains category 5 hurricanes in *this*particularswaysthat are called Irma, Jos谷, etc. How the 'visceral' relation may belikewhen the object is a physical system (a hurricane and the climatesystemthat sustains it), and when it is a social system (e.g., a classroom conflict and the system that sustains it).Alfredo ________________________________________ From:email@example.com<firstname.lastname@example.org> on behalf of David Dirlam<email@example.com>Sent: 07 September 2017 19:41 To: Andy Blunden; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Unit of Analysis The issues that have arisen in this discussion clarify theconceptionofwhat sort of entity a "unit" is. Both and Andy and Martinstresstheimportance of the observer. Anyone with some experience shouldhavesomesense of it (Martin's point). But Andy added the notion thatexpertsneedbasically to be able to agree reliably on examples of the unit(worded likethe psychological researcher I am, but I'm sure Andy willcorrectmeif Imissed his meaning). We also need to address two other aspects of units--theirclassifiabilityand the types of relations between them. What makes water notanelement,but a compound, are the relations between the subunits (thechemicalbondsbetween the elements) as well as those with other molecules ofwater(howfast they travel relative to each other), which was DavidKellogg'spoint.So the analogy to activity is that it is like the molecule,whileactionsare like the elements. What is new to this discussion is thattheactivitymust contain not only actions, but also relationships betweenthem.If wemove up to the biological realm, we find a great increase inthecomplexityof the analogy. Bodies are made up of more than cells, and I'mnotjustreferring to entities like extracellular fluid. Theidentifiability,classification, and interrelations between cells and theirconstituents allhelp to make the unit so interesting to science. Likewise, theconstituentsof activities are more than actions. Yrjo's trianglesillustratethat.Also, we need to be able to identify an activity, classifyactivities, anddiscern the interrelations between them and their constituents. I think that is getting us close to David Kellogg's aim ofcharacterizingthe meaning of unit. But glad, like him, to read corrections. DavidOn Wed, Sep 6, 2017 at 10:08 PM, Andy Blunden<firstname.lastname@example.org>wrote:Yes, but I think, Martin, that the unit of analysis we need toaspire tois *visceral* and sensuous. There are "everyday" conceptswhichareutterlyabstract and saturated with ideology and received knowledge.Forexample,Marx's concept of capital is buying-in-order-to-sell, which isnotthe"everyday" concept of capital at all, of course. Andy ------------------------------------------------------------ Andy Blunden http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm https://andyblunden.academia.edu/researchOn 7/09/2017 8:48 AM, Martin John Packer wrote: Isn＊t a unit of analysis (a germ cell) a preliminary concept,onemightsay an everyday concept, that permits one to grasp thephenomenonthat isto be studied in such a way that it can be elaborated, in thecourse ofinvestigation, into an articulated and explicit scientificconcept?just wondering Martin On Sep 6, 2017, at 5:15 PM, Greg Thompson<email@example.com: Not sure if others might feel this is an oversimplificationofunit ofanalysis, but I just came across this in Wortham and Kim'sIntroductionto the volume Discourse and Education and found it useful. Theshortof itis that the unit of analysis is the unit that "preserves the essential features of the whole". Here is their longer explanation: "Marx (1867/1986) and Vygotsky (1934/1987) apply the concept"unitofanalysis" to social scientific problems. In their account,anadequateapproach to any phenomenon must find the right unit ofanalysis -onethat preserves the essential features of the whole. In order tostudywater, ascientist must not break the substance down below the levelofanindividual H20 molecule. Water is made up of nothing buthydrogenandoxygen, but studying hydrogen and oxygen separately will notilluminatethe essential properties of water. Similarly, meaningfullanguageuserequires a unit of analysis that includes aspects beyond phonology, grammar, semantics, and mental representations. All of theselinguisticand psychological factors play a role in linguisticcommunication,butnatural language use also involves social action in a context thatincludes otheractors and socially significant regularities." (entire chapter can be found on Research Gate at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319322253_Introduction_to_Discourse_and_Education ) I thought that the water/H20 metaphor was a useful one forthinkingabout unit of analysis. -greg -- Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Anthropology 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower Brigham Young University Provo, UT 84602 WEBSITE: greg.a.thompson.byu.edu http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
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