RE: Leont'ev-Vygotsky controversy

From: Eugene Matusov (
Date: Fri Feb 13 2004 - 11:33:30 PST

Dear Mike-

Pavlov won Nobel Prize and Stalin Prize (I believe). Since 1930s up to 1980s
(I do not know the situation now), Pavlov was a part of every Soviet school
curriculum but Rubenshtein was not. Also, as you pointed out, after early
1930s you had to furnish yourself in Pavlovian language to speak psychology.
It was the language of Stalinist psychology of "engineers of human souls"
that were aimed to produce a new species "Homo Soveticus". Soviet Gulag was
somewhat inspired by Pavlov's Tower of Silence where he made his experiments
on poor dogs...

But, it reminds me a dispute of who is stronger: a boxer or a karate
fighter... :-)

> I am glad you are so optimistic about democracy in the United States.

Of course, we, immigrants (i.e., "vulnerary minorities" using Ogbu's term),
have to be optimistic. We can't afford pessimism. Where would we go next?!

Take care,


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mike Cole []
> Sent: Friday, February 13, 2004 1:20 PM
> To:
> Subject: RE: Leont'ev-Vygotsky controversy
> Rubenshtein won a Stalin Prize, Eugene. And Pavlov hated psychology. In
> 1952 maybe Pavlov won out, and certainly Luria's work (for example,
> semantic conditioning with Vinogradova, and his appropriation of second
> signal system idea as cover for mediation by language) was heavily
> self-censored and ventriloquated through Pavlovian language. But at that
> time he fully expected to be disappeared.
> I am glad you are so optimistic about democracy in the United States.
> And how interesting that Mr. Putin has now declared the fall of the
> USSR a monumental tragedy. The fact that our President has been able
> to look into his eyes to see what a great guy he is reassures me no
> end, perhaps they are similar to the eyes of his father, who, like
> Putin, comes out of the intelligence services. Or maybe my optimism
> comes from Mr. Ashcroft's defense of civil liberties.
> Enough for now. Time to work!
> mike

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