Re: The abstract (contd.)

From: Noel Enyedy (
Date: Wed May 04 2005 - 13:25:19 PDT

Peter, Carol, Phil, and all:

Can you say more about the difference between empirical and theoretical

I am not very familiar with Davydov's distinctions, but am very intrigued.
From what little I do know (from second hand sources), I understood one
difference to be a focus on generalization from an analysis of the
connections between an element and the essence of the whole (rather than
similarity between elements)

And the critique was a critique of pedagogical approaches that over
emphasized empirical generalization.

If we take the generalization Jurow reports:

Gento: "Itıs gonna‹itıs gonna increase uh, slowly and go down and go up
raises one hand above the other"
Followed by Max: ³Itıs like a personıs body weight. When you get to a
certain weight, (Patrick throws his head back with laughter) your weight
fluctuates, but it stays around the same area, going down, and up down and

The generalization itself seems to be dealing with connecting the particular
(what happens at a population of 6666) to a description of the essence of
the system/concept, some sort of dynamic steady state.

But if it is the genesis of the generalization that matters for Davydov,
then it is less clear to me. I think you are right that Jurow's "linking"
and "comparing" discussion points to the fact that the genesis did involve
some comparison of particulars, but I took that discussion to be in the
context of "what is sensible" which seems to have at least one eye on the

What do other's think?


on 5/4/05 10:26 AM, Peter Moxhay at wrote:

> Carol, Phil, and all:
> Seems like one point to be addressed, in reading Jurow's article, is
> whether the generalizations described there in are, in Davydov's
> terminology:
> (1) formal, empirical generalizations, or
> (2) contentful, theoretical generalizations.
> On first reading the article, I thought that it was clear that the
> focus was on empirical generalizations: note the strong emphasis on
> classification (see the discussion of "linking"). From Davydov,
> classification is a sure sign of formal logic at work.
> But on reading people's interpretations of the article in terms of the
> ascent from the abstract to the concrete, I am not so sure.
> What do you think? Are the students described in the article making
> empirical or theoretical generalizations? Or doesn't this question make
> sense?
> Peter

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