RE: The abstract (contd.)

From: White, Phillip (
Date: Thu May 05 2005 - 06:34:23 PDT

hey, Peter - a very fast response - i've got another 12 hour day in front of me, otherwise i'd reread Jurow's article - but very quickly, i think the students (keeping in mind their ages) are using emperical data, and then through analogy (guppy population varies like a person's weight) beginning to build a theoretical conception -
i do think that this glimpse that Jurow's is an initial glimpse - and that if the classroom teacher's over-arching object is for students to move towards constructing generalizibilities (is that a word?), and that there will be multiple activies over time that scaffold students' understanding towards that object. Of critical importance i think is also if the teacher is using Davydov's teminology for defining the object.
i think that it is very important to recognize that this xmca discussion is not unlike that which occurs in Latour's Pandora's Box, only, we're looking at the empirical samples brought in from the field, set out on a "grid" of the MCA journal, and we're attempting to make sense of it not from what we know in the field but rather from what we see isolated in text. it's tough to do.


From: Peter Moxhay []
Sent: Wed 5/4/2005 11:26 AM
Subject: Re: The abstract (contd.)

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?


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