Nate, You wrote I would argue there is more consistency in the view above with his other work than not. What is interesting to me, and maybe it is the transactive world view is if you pretend something does not exist, it doesn't. Psychological functions exist if we believe in them or not. What you are saying is we'll leave that issue to biological determanist to solve, I find that view unacceptable Actually I don't think it is true that psychological functions exist whether we like it or not. The whole idea of psychological functions was developed in the early part of this century, at least in part to support the eugenics movement. They have become so much a part of our vocabulary because alternative explorations into human activity have become so marginalized. Psychological functions are part of one explanation. I guess this comes back to George Lakoff's whoe thesis of framing. Claiming that there absolutely are psychological functions within the individual organism immediately frames and limits the discussion we can have about human activity. You might say it we don't focus on psychological functions as an anchor then what do we talk about? I would suggest experience (culture in the broad sense of the word). I am less concerned with what I want Vygotsky to be than what he was. Vygotsky's book on Child Development had a stage like emphasis. Even his work on concept development is organized in a stage like way. I think reading Vygotsky with Dewey glasses on may give one a different outlook. To be honest, I'm not really much of a developmentalist. My main objective is examine "interpretations" of the ZPD, and then measure it against Vygotsky's own ideas in the context of his over all theory of child development. I just think you run in to an awful lot of trouble if you make the claim you can figure out exactly what a person writing almost a century ago in a very different time and place was actually thinking. I also think that Vygotksy was probably struggling with his ideas about development and human activity just like me, just like you, just like pretty much everybody. I think if you isolate his thinking to one point and time instead of trying to examine where he was going and what that means to you right now you are going to miss the forest for the trees. Even Santayana, who was perhaps the most famous historical realist, made the argument that we try and figure out what was going on in the past in order to better understand what is happening to us today (name dropping perhaps, but what are you going to do). Once you claim to have the authoritative view of something you don't embrace history, you kill it. I really would like to hear a transactive argument to Vygotsky? Which works in particular were you thinking of? I have written about this in a number of places, in different articles and here on this list. I believe that Vygtosky was probably an interactional thinker for most of his career but he was looking for something more. I believe in his later work, especially THOUGHT AND WORD he stumbled into a transactional perspective and found where he really wanted to be. I am especially thinking of his discussion of Russian literature and his discussion of scoring a play which comes from Stanislavsky who, while not a theorist in any sense of the word, wrote the greatest applications to human of what Dewey would later call the transactional perspective. I believe this work served as the bridge to later Activity Theory, and is one of the reasons I believe Activity Theory has a better possibility of representing the transactional perspective than even Pragmatics. Thanks for your response, Michael ________________________________ From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Sun 11/14/2004 9:02 PM To: email@example.com Subject: Re: http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/cartoons/ Michael Glassman wrote: >In sum, the main features of the analysis of zone of proximal development are: (a) whole child > >Something a lot of people agree on, for what it's worth. The whole parts to whole thing which came from Hegel and his vision of an organic whole that is developing or progressing towards a more adaptive existence (tele > > I think this is a great strenth to Vygotsky's views on development. At least in the U.S. we continously talk of emotional, social, cognitive, and moral development. > > (b) internal structure (i.e., relationships between psychological functions), > >Here is where I start to have trouble with this view. Once you set up an internal structure that is basically the relationship between psychological functions it seems to me you are doing two things. 1) You are setting up an inescapable dualism trap in which there is a qualitative difference between what is inside the head (even if it is only functional) and what is going on out in the world. You can talk about unity all you want, but I think enough thinkers have shown that there is really know way out of this once you have set up the internal structure as a thing in and of itself, whether it is malleable or not (from reading Chaiklin's chapter it seems to me he wants to escape this by making this functional apparatus malleable to social circumstances). 2) You are setting up the child as an organism that acts on the world, rather than acting with in the world (one point of reference among many). I go back to what I originally wrote, that this to me represents self action with all its inherent difficulties. But more important, much of Vygotsky's other writing suggests to me at least that this was not where he wanted to go with his theory. > > I would argue there is more consistency in the view above with his other work than not. What is interesting to me, and maybe it is the transactive world view is if you pretend something does not exist, it doesn't. Psychological functions exist if we believe in them or not. What you are saying is we'll leave that issue to biological determanist to solve, I find that view unacceptable. > (c) development as a qualitative change in the structural relationships, > And more importantly the social situations of development that serve as the motive context for such qualatative change. > (e) each age period has a leading activity/contradiction that organizes the child's actions (within which subjective interests are operating) and which contributes to the development of the new functions. > >This part to me is the most troublesome. It sets Vygotsky up as a stage theorist, which in a sense is falling in to another trap which is to make Vygotsky's theory actually more American mainstream than it already is. > I am less concerned with what I want Vygotsky to be than what he was. Vygotsky's book on Child Development had a stage like emphasis. Even his work on concept development is organized in a stage like way. I think reading Vygotsky with Dewey glasses on may give one a different outlook. To be honest, I'm not really much of a developmentalist. My main objective is examine "interpretations" of the ZPD, and then measure it against Vygotsky's own ideas in the context of his over all theory of child development. > >Just a couple of other things. Aren't all theories explanatory? Isn't that why they're theories? > > I would say most are descriptive. They describe the social world, but that is about it. >Don't pretty much all theories today see the social situation as awakening future development? > > Well we first would have to agree on what development is. For some culture, development, learning etc are interchangable. For others it is simply change over time within the individual. For others, it is qualatative changes that reorganize internal (psychological functions) or external (Activity) entities. I really would like to hear a transactive argument to Vygotsky? Which works in particular were you thinking of? Nate -- Website: http://nateweb.info/ Blog: http://levvygotsky.blogspot.com/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org "The zone of proximal development defines those functions that have not yet matured but are in the process of maturation, functions that will mature tomorrow but are currently in an embryonic state. These functions could be termed the buds or flowers of development rather than the "fruits" of development. The actual developmental level characterizes mental development retrospectively, while the zone of proximal development characterizes mental development prospectively." - L.S.V.