Re: [xmca] sense/meaning-signs/tools

From: Ana Marjanovic-Shane (
Date: Thu Jul 14 2005 - 20:57:51 PDT

Dear Dot,
Creating a dynamic analysis of meaning was also my goal when I started
studying metaphor and polysemy in development in very young children.
Your words sound almost exactly like some of the conclusions I made
based on the material I gathered -- everyday language and events in
lives of several little children. I wrote about this in my dissertation
- Chapter 4: "Components of a metaphoric proposition", is posted on the
XMCA website as additional readings for this discussion. Based on the
research on children spontaneous speech metaphors, I developed a dynamic
theory of meaning in which signs are understood as sign functions which
are in ever changing dialectical relationship to other sign functions
(although I did not use that exact term there). I defined making meaning
as a dynamic process of establishing topics between participants in
conversation and making comments about the topics. These two functions:
establishing a topic and making a comment, repeat recursively at every
layer of speech -- from completely situated utterances which are
inseparable from the rest of the interpersonal situation, to more
"portable" embodied utterances, to sentences, and finally, to single
words. This kind of dynamic analysis makes it possible to separate
"coding" from "function" and to observe progressive development of the
coding as development not from "words" to "sentences" (grammatical
terminology), but as a development from simple pointing and global
emotional signaling to the emergence of "words" which are short codes
for very intricate system of embedded topic/comment units.
I developed this model starting from Vygotsky's theory of speech and
thought and following his guidance to always look at the phenomena in
functional, dynamic and social way.

I will be looking forward to listening to the Dialectic Psychology
Section at ISCAR.


Dot Robbins wrote:

> Dear Friends,
> Sometimes in viewing sense/meaning, signs/tools I get caught in a
> static model that is not always connected to the social. In reality,
> there are no signs as such, but sign functions, according to U. Eco
> and others. I hope to transcend my static thoughts in future, by
> trying to introduce a flow model approach that is based with the
> cultural-historical method, which truly must include an understanding
> of dialectics and Marxism. This is a reason that I am also excited
> about Sasha's new section within ISCAR on Dialectical Psychology. And,
> I hope to focus much more on process, as opposed to product, and on
> the "whole" as opposed to the "parts." This also requires a return to
> a genetic analysis that returns to the source....for me, it is
> important to return to the concept of "code" going through semiotics
> to the "word," trying to use explanatory forms of understanding, not
> just descriptive. The aspects of the general genetic law of
> development, and the method of double stimul! ation, are extremely
> important in a fluid model, I think, and need to be connected to the
> social/individual as a unit. Going further, it also seems very
> important to begin discussions within Vygotsky's understanding of
> language that defines what "non-classical psychology" actually is, and
> return to a core concept of "personality" (a concept which certainly
> helps to unite thoughts of Vygotsky and A. N. Leontiev and Russian
> activity theory). This then leads to one core aspect of personality,
> which is will, and another aspect, which is the "mastery of behavior,"
> or "self-regulation," or "free action of will," etc. In returning to
> areas such as signs/tools, sense/meaning, there is a unity, but not
> identity; and, it is important to not get caught in a sense of
> dualism, such as mixing up philosophical genres, such as
> subject/object within epistemology, and mind/matter within ontology.
> To establish a scientific science of making inner processes more
> objective, there needs to be a new met! hodology, and from a
> Vygotskian perspective it will need to be within the context of
> dialectics and Marxist thinking. It has become interesting for me to
> view common paradoxes, which flow in an asymmetrical process, and are
> often viewed as opposing elements in my, I view monism
> (something not individual and personal) as being completed within
> dialectics (which is always changing); meaning as being completed
> within sense (which is always changing); scientific concepts as being
> completed in everyday concepts (always changing); etc.The holographic
> model I am discovering is one of empowerment, not control; one of
> movement...This is what Karl Pribram (who worked with Luria) wrote
> years ago: "My hypothesis is that all thinking has, in addition to
> sign and symbol manipulation, a holographic component...Holograms are
> composed by transformations which, when they are simply repeated,
> essentially reconstruct the original from which the holographic
> representation was compose! d. Holograms are the "catalysts of
> thought." (p. 370).
> Best,
> Dot
> *Karl Pribram (1971): Languages of the Brain, Prentice-Hall.
> *thoughts on codes (representation, and images) I have written are in
> Chapt. 7 of
> Vygotsky's and A. A. Leontiev's Semiotics and Psycholinguistics,
> Praeger Pub., 2003.
> __________________________________________________
> Do You Yahoo!?
> Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
>xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Aug 01 2005 - 01:01:07 PDT