The abstract (contd.)

From: Carol Macdonald (
Date: Wed May 04 2005 - 03:39:53 PDT

Hi Guys—
Sorry to add another author/s into the discussion, but I do think it is
helpful, in talking about the abstract.

Vygotsky talked about the “spontaneous” concepts and “scientific” (=subject
discipline) concepts in relation to the zpd. The spontaneous concepts grow
upwards (supply content) and the scientific concepts grow downwards through
instruction, until they meet and constitute true concepts (although many
might be “complexes”, but leave that aside for the moment.)

Hedegaard has used this explicitly in her theory of instruction involving
the notion of the zpd—“instruction creates the zpd”, and she says (1996)
“the everyday (=spontaneous) concepts are spontaneously developed in a
dialectical relation to the scientific concepts, which are mediated through

Mariane H goes on to do her famous “double move” in instruction which she
bases on Davydov’s (1990) idea of the distinction between empirical and
theoretical knowledge. Using theoretical knowledge. “Content and methods are
in this approach conceptualized as dialectically related and as conditions
for each other’s existence” (Hedegaard 2002:30) In this method Hedegaard
(1996) talks about the teacher moving from “general laws”, and in order to
explain the laws “the teacher must choose concrete examples that demonstrate
the general concepts and laws in the most transparent form”. She goes on to
use the “germ cell” model (Davydov, Engeström and herself) where subject
matter should be conceptualized within a connected system of a
subject-matter tradition. (There is more about this, but perhaps I have
written enough today.) This works beautifully, as the concepts change as the
relationships become more complex… .

Perhaps this is a very pedagogical approach to the question, but it seems to
make a great deal of sense, so I am quite content with working from the
abstract down.

Subject: Re: The uneducated

Walter Kaufman translates "Sauve qui peut" as "Let those who can save


At 08:42 PM 2/05/2005 -0700, you wrote:

Language dummy that I am, I do not know the translation of sauve. Nor do I
know the source of the Hegel quote that is apparently out there in google
land. Blush .

However, I believe that the way "abstract" is being interpreted in the
discussion of "rising to the concrete" is that abstractions are
empty until filled with appropriate content. in this sense, "Only those who
know nothing" would be an appropriate response to the
question "Who can think abstractly." Given my long standing distrust of the
notion of Kultur in the tradition that ranks people from without
culture to Kultured, this might be incorrect to the specific case, bb. But
my interpretation would at least link the ideas under discussion in
a non-pejoritive way.

On 5/2/05, bb < <> >

>Hegel asked the rhetorical question, "Who thinks abstractly?" and then,
>after saying in French "Sauve qui peut" answers his question, "Only the

Interesting discursive move. At once powerful and exclusive, and while
unsituated, ironic. So many levels of meaning that I'm wondering whether to
embrace Hegel anymore.

Thanks for sharing!

Andy Blunden, on behalf of the Victorian Peace Network, Phone (+61) 03-9380
Nancy Fraser Australian Tour 26 July-7 August 2005,
Andy Blunden, on behalf of the Victorian Peace Network, Phone (+61) 03-9380
Nancy Fraser Australian Tour 26 July-7 August 2005,
http:// <> /nancy-fraser/index.htm

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