Re: Leont'ev-Vygotsky controversy

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Sat Feb 21 2004 - 09:53:34 PST

David-- You are asking people to write you a book. I'll write some brief
answers and then perhaps you can tell us about your disseration work,
since general answers are a lot harder to forumlate satisfactorily than
answers related to what you are trying to do.

1. Methodological implications. Well, I take the position that LSV and ARL
were emphasizing two moments in the same process, mediated human action in
human activities. But where you cocentrate matters. So, make a list of
the major lines of empirical work undertaken by LSV or under his immediate
direction: Leontiev's thesis, prehistory of writing by Luria, concept formation,
........ Contrast this with work undertaken by Leontiev and his students
in later years. For early examples see work from Kharkov school mentioned
in earlier message by me on this list. See research by Istomina and Maniulenko
both conducted in 1940's and replicated by Ivanova in translation journal
(Istomina work is notriously difficult to replicate). Van der veer failed
to replicate Leontiev memory study if MY memory serves correctly.

2. What is progress in Chat research? When theoretical ideas are put to
empirical tests in various ways and modified or enriched in ways that
incorporate prior research. If you believe nothing of use has been learned
since 1934, the answer, there is no progress.

3. About the same answer as 2. What difference do you have in mind?

4. I do not believe this question can be answered in other than terms of
rhetorical preference. But perhaps I am wrong. If someone could find a way
to ask the people involved it would help. :-)

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