RE: Scaffolding

From: Michael Glassman (
Date: Mon Jan 24 2005 - 04:48:08 PST

I thought Jean Buridan was a logician and a (French) contemporary of William of Occam? It seems to me Buridan's Ass is a variation on Occam's Razor and the idea that we use logic to force choice, part of the philosophical trajectory of the time. Applying mediation to this idea seems something of a stretch. I don't really get what Valsiner is getting at (why the supposedlys?) and I am wary that Vygotsky would use this as a reference for mediation.
On the other hand I am really interested as to where Vygotsky did use this and would really appreciate it if you had the reference. It might suggest that there was at least a small sliver of Vygotsky interested in logic in the same way the Pragmatists (especially Pierce) were interested in logic.


From: willthereallsvpleasespeakup who-is-at []
Sent: Sun 1/23/2005 8:13 PM
Subject: Re: Scaffolding


This reminds me of Buridan's Ass,

I do remember Vygotsky mentioning it, but Valsiner's diagrams really
bring out the significance of the reference for mediation.


Ana Marjanovic-Shane wrote:

> It would be fascinating to compare concepts like Skinner's "shaping"
> to "scaffolding" to ZPD.
> >From the little quote by Skinner about how they taught a pigeon to
> bowl, and from the descriptions of the mother-child interactions
> (further down), there seems to emerge at least one big difference in
> the two types of learning:
> Pigeons learn within almost closed feedback loop between their
> behavior and the "reward" -- it is learning in a given situation and
> by "blind" trial and error.
> Children (people) have the "third" component, which mediates between
> the behavior and its "outcome" -- symbolic behavior -- language and
> other symbolic devices.
> I think that the process of mediation, or in other words, symbolic
> tools are that what is being constructed in ZPD. The learning is not
> direct -- ZPD is a "place" where you focus on construction of tools
> for a particular knowledge domain -- tools that can be used to
> actually get a grip on a particular domain of the reality. That is why
> it so often seems that children and adults already can do/understand
> something in play while it is still impossible in "reality".
> The question is -- can we observe learning through construction of
> symbolic tools in animals?? Or some animals? Ability to construct and
> use symbolic tools becomes an interesting evolutionary difference
> between humans and other species. The question is, is there an
> intermediary step between learning by a direct feedback loop and
> learning through a mediated ZPD? How does this new way of leaning and
> understanding come into existence in the evolution?
> Ana

Email: willthereallsvpleasespeakup who-is-at

"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.

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