Re: The abstract (contd.)

From: Phil Chappell (
Date: Wed May 04 2005 - 04:18:17 PDT

Carol and All,
Thanks for these points. Following your pedagogical thread, recently
departed Joachim Lompscher (following Davydov and Elkonin), as many
here would know, wrote about two main steps of ascending from the
abstract to the concrete - first, formation of starting abstractions,
and second, looking at the concrete via the abstractions that tie in
with the goals of instruction and the instructional content. Quoting
J.L., "In this process of ascending, the concrete variety is
cognitively penetrated and the abstract conceptualisation itself is
changed and enriched by the concrete content. The starting abstraction
contains only the most important features and relations of the learning
object and forms a kind of holistic frame into which the concrete
details may then be integrated and stored in memory".

What I find useful is J.L's point that the learner(s) need to actively
modify the learning object - the starting abstractions are "discovered"
and formed by the learners, in collaboration with others with guidance
from others (in the zpd).


On 04/05/2005, at 5:39 PM, Carol Macdonald wrote:

> 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 instruction.”
> 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.
> Carol
> Subject: Re: The uneducated
> Walter Kaufman translates "Sauve qui peut" as "Let those who can save
> themselves!"
> Andy
> 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.
> mike
> On 5/2/05, bb <> wrote:
> >Hegel asked the rhetorical question, "Who thinks abstractly?" and
> then,
> >after saying in French "Sauve qui peut" answers his question, "Only
> the
> >uneducated."
> 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!
> bb
> Andy Blunden, on behalf of the Victorian Peace Network, Phone (+61)
> 03-9380 9435
> Nancy Fraser Australian Tour 26 July-7 August 2005,
> Andy Blunden, on behalf of the Victorian Peace Network, Phone (+61)
> 03-9380 9435
> Nancy Fraser Australian Tour 26 July-7 August 2005,

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed Jun 01 2005 - 01:00:04 PDT