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Re: Arievitch on Arievitch on Galperin i tak dalie (reposting)

Thanks for the additional comments, Igor. I learned a
lot from the whole discussion.

One thing that impresses me in all these disussion is
how difficult it is to pin down a real disagreement,
as opposed to a failure of understanding, but which I
mean that following further discussion, it turns out
that different people are using the same words in
different ways so that they are not, in effect,
talking about the same thing.

the phrase about following objective laws is a good
example. I didn't think that Galperin adopted a copy
theory. But he did seem to believe that adults know
things that kids should learn, and in this sense, are
more developed than young children. Eugene, if I read
him correctly, has his doubts about this point of
view, but I am not sure where the boundaries of any
of these arguments are!

It came as a surprise to me, for example, to read
that Leontiev endorsed a copy theory. So, by your
interpretation, when he writes that internalization
creates the intra-psychological plane, he thinks the
internal is a copy of the external quite generally?
Earlier I gave the case of abacus experts where such
a conclusion may seem warranted, but in general, the
nature of mediated knowing is such that I seriously
doubt all such claims and it is difficult to imagine
Leontiev, and his many sophisticated German and
Scandanavian followers, believing such a thing.

In a way, this discussion is an unexpectedly
interesting lead into rommetviet, our next topic of
discussion. I wonder how his ideas will play out with
respect to concepts of development, internalization,
and education.


> I very much enjoyed the discussion and think that
> everyone had a point in
> it. Galperin?s writings are always thought
> provocative, often too condensed,
> sometimes quite vague, and unfortunately, in some
> English translations,
> almost incomprehensible ? like in the fragment about
> attention quoted by
> Bill (Of course, there is nothing like almost
> Freudian ?Ego? in the
> original: It is the ?subject?, the individual who
> mentally monitors and
> controls the content and the flow of the activity.)
> To me, the central issue in the discussion was the
> one raised by Mike:
> ??I worry about the idea that ?"Understanding
> human action in any of its guises, including "mental"
> or "internal," as
> following objective rules of the outer world,?
> because I am not sure of what
> it means. The ?outer world? is experienced as a
> culturally mediated reality,
> that mediation is polysemic in the extreme. So what
> does ?following
> objective rules? mean? Presumably no one wants a copy
> theory.?
> A very important point, but I don?t think that
> Galperin?s reasoning suggests
> a copy theory. I do agree, though, that there is a
> challenge here for CHAT
> to avoid such an interpretation. My vision is very
> similar to Steve?s:
> ?Part of the solution may be seeing mental actions
> not as identical to
> physical, but as emergent ?internal? realities ?
> following the operative
> objective laws of nature and activity that spawned
> them ? that indeed
> ?appropriate? and ?think,? and then act back upon
> these ?external? realities
> as the person(s) involved interprets and reacts to
> them.?
> In fact, part of Galperin?s project was to construct
> something different
> from a copy theory. In dissatisfaction with Janet?s,
> Leontiev?s and similar
> views that the structure of mental activity copies
> the structure of external
> activity, he sought to explain the specifics of the
> structure of mental
> activity through its function in the individual?s
> life. Actually, I see the
> whole Galperin?s stepwise model of mental actions
> formation as an attempt to
> illustrate how actions get transformed
> (appropriated!) and therefore acquire
> the property to guide the individual?s activity in
> novel situations.
> Generally, it resonated with James? functional stance
> (?A reasoning animal
> can reach its ends by paths on which the light of
> previous experience has
> never shone.?) but with the idea of
> cultural-historical content and mediated
> structure of the activity in mind.
> It is also similar to the question posed by Bob (in
> relation to Mabel?s
> thought that "the inner world steps forward and
> builds an "ideal" (an idea
> which is born in
> this "inner") to pursue??):
> ?How indeed do we explain this "step forward"?
> Perhaps this
> stepping forward involves an important element of
> creativity in the way
> that we deal with the world.?
> In no way am I sure that Galperin completely
> succeeded in resolving those
> questions but I do think that the rich conceptual
> framework he developed is
> worth exploring.
> As to ?following the objective laws?, I again find
> myself in agreement with
> Steve:
> ?In Mike?s example of thinking about his
> grandchildren, their father, July
> 4th fireworks, Chicago, London, etc., his thinking is
> clearly
> object-related. Distances between places, locations
> in time, certain
> activities and specific people are key features of
> the thinking process he
> describes?. All thinking is object-related, and
> therefore,
> part of the objective world and in compliance with
> objective laws.?
> Also, I tend to think that Galperin?s reference to
> the ?objective laws? is
> not in the sense that those are constant or
> immutable, but more in the sense
> in which Piaget referred to logic (in the
> introductory passage of ?The
> Psychology of Intellect?) as being able, by contrast
> to physiology, to
> explain why two plus two is four. To be sure, even
> the sun and seemingly
> solid rocks are changing, and in human relations two
> plus two can often be
> five or anything else, but every human practice and
> culture more or less
> ?knows? (or thinks that it knows) how things work
> right now, and this
> knowledge is also an ?objective reality? for an
> individual within that
> culture (even when the individual is fantasizing
> about some Wonderland).
> For a more substantive discussion of these issues, I
> refer those interested
> to my article (with Van der Veer) ?The Role of
> Non-Automatic Processes in
> Activity Regulation? in the May 2004 issue of History
> of Psychology.
> Galperin?s ideas are presented there by comparing
> them with those of Lipps,
> Groos, Claparede, Stern, James, Dewey, Pavlov,
> Vygotsky, and Leontiev.
> Galperin?s stepwise model itself is discussed in
> detail in my upcoming
> article (with Haenen) ?Connecting Sociocultural
> Theory and Educational
> Practice? in Educational Psychologist.
> Regards,
> Igor
> Igor M. Arievitch, Professor
> Department of Education
> The College of Staten Island, CUNY
> 2800 Victory Boulevard (3S-215)
> Staten Island, NY 10314
> Tel: 718-982-4006
> Fax: 718-982-3743
> E-mail: arievitch@mail.csi.cuny.edu