Re: [xmca] Empirical Evidence for ZPD

From: Andy Blunden (ablunden@mira.net)
Date: Sun Dec 03 2006 - 13:58:05 PST


I don't know, Paul. I guess I would ask you to give me page references to
justify this observation.

The Lenin of the 1914/15 Notebooks certainly reads as a very different
character from the Lenin of the 1908 ME&C, but I am sure that if Lenin had
anywhere in those Notebooks made any kind of self-criticism of his 1908
position I would have noticed it. The same Trotskyist group which spent
countless hours bashing M&EC into my head spent even more hours bashing
"Volume 38" into my head, and it was this experience which prompted me to
make my own study of Hegel.

As to Ilyenkov, yes, Ilyenkov has been my guiding light to get out of the
dogmatism of M&EC. The problem is that while A&C and the Essays are at odds
with M&EC, Ilyenkov chooses to back Lenin to the hilt when he writes a book
about M&EC. As I said, there is nothing actually incorrect in M&EC; it
just, IMO, makes the wrong call in terms of emphasis and what is said/not
said. I am not aware that anywhere Ilyenkov said something like "M&EC was a
bad book".

Andy

At 06:07 AM 3/12/2006 -0800, you wrote:
>Andy,
>
> Isn't it the case that Lenin rejected his early position of M&EC in the
> Philosophic Notebooks and his study of Hegel's logic? Also, isn't
> Ilyenkov's position in 'From the Abstract to the Concrete' also at odds
> with the position in M&EC?
>
> Paul
>
>Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
> Can I see if I can say what I think Mike means by the "Russian" meaning of
>"reflection"?
>
>I was introduced both to Lenin and Vygotsky through a British Trotskyist
>group in the early 1980s, and this involved intensive study of Lenin's
>"Materialism and Empirio-criticism". This book was regarded in that quarter
>as more or less the last word in philosophy. Ilyenkov's book on Positivism,
>was published in English by the same group, and is a full-on defence of
>this book of Lenin's. In M&EC, Lenin uses "reflection" to mean a universal
>property of matter, more or less the propensity of any material thing to
>retain impressions of another material thing with which it has interacted.
>So this view of cognition as something utterly divorced from
>self-consciousness or even living organisms, let alone human beings, but
>rather as a universal property of matter, was encoded in the meaning
>attached by Lenin to the word "reflection."
>
>Now, my experiences in British Trotskyism may have been paralleled by the
>experience of others in Russian Stalinism, I don't know. But much as I love
>Ilyenkov, it has always been hard for me to understand his enthusiasm for
>M&EC. The political effect of ME&C as I received it was very
>retrograde. In the same book, Lenin blasts all forms of semiotics, by the
>way. There was a definite and valid purpose for Lenin's book when it was
>written in 1908, and he doesn't say anything in the whole several hundred
>pages which is actually wrong, but the drift of the polemic is crushing. In
>arguing against subjectivist epistemology, it encourages an absolutely
>devastatingly objectivist view of the human condition in general and
>cognition in particular.
>
>Personally, I find the notion of "reflection" an extremely *passive*
>rendering of the process of knowledge and life. The idea emphasises the
>dominant place of the object in a true subjective image, and the
>indifference of the image to the internal structure of the subject, but I
>have never found that it convinced anyone that didn't already understand
>these issues. The likening of human society to inorganic natural processes
>is not a point which needs to be made today.
>
>Is that what you meant Mike?
>
>Andy
>
>At 10:59 PM 2/12/2006 -0500, you wrote:
> >Agreed!
> >
> >The version of 'The Historical Meaning of the Crisis in Psychology' that I
> >have to hand is in 'The Esssential Vygostky' (2004, R. W. Rieber & D. K.
> >Robinson, eds. Kluger). It's a compilation of the 'best' of the 6 vol
> >Collected Works. The mirror example is on page 327.
> >
> >Regarding reflection, which is another concept I'm puzzled by (what is the
> >Russian manner, Mike?), I'd forgotten that this paragraph begins:
> >
> >"Let us compare consciousness, as is often done, with a mirror image..." At
> >the end of the paragraph I still can't tell whether V is suggesting it's a
> >good comparison or not.
> >
> >...and 3 pages earlier (p. 324) when he cites Lenin (1975, p. 260) along the
> >lines that I've mentioned, here again the work reflection is used:
> >
> >"the only 'property' of matter connected with philosophical materialism is
> >the property of being an objective reality, of existing outside of our
> >consciousness.... Epistemologically the concept of matter means NOTHING
> >other than objective reality, existing independently from human
> >consciousness and reflected by it" (original emphasis).
> >
> >I can't find the references from the Crisis anywhere in this book, but I
> >have the Spanish translation now too, and the citation there is to Lenin's
> >Collected Works, vol 19, p. 275. In Spanish the word 'reflected' is
> >translated as 'reflejada' and 'mirror image' as 'reflejo.'
> >
> >Martin
> >
> >
> >On 12/2/06 10:40 PM, "Mike Cole" wrote:
> >
> > > Nothing sceptical, Martin. There are many imponderables here from
> > > many
> >sources. Trying to think with you.
> >I would be greatly assisted, and I
> > > assume I am not alone in this, if
> >discussants would provide page numbers
> > > and
> >references so that those not "in the know" could pin down sources and
> > > thus
> >better triangulate on what the focus
> >of discussion is.
> >
> >I am not versed
> > > in Spinoza. I am barely versed in parts of Vygotsky. So when
> >arcaine
> > > references and partial information
> >are floated out on xmca as if everyone were
> > > an insider, when we are all
> >border liners, it confuses me.
> >mike
> >
> >On 12/2/06,
> > > Martin Packer
>wrote:
> > >
> > > Mike, this sounds to me like a
> > > skeptical Hmmmm. What strikes you as
> > > dubious?
> > > I'm happy to be
> > > mediated.
> > >
> > > Martin
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > On 12/2/06 6:03 PM, "Mike Cole"
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > Hmmmm indeed.
> > > mike
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > On 12/2/06,
> > > Martin Packer
>wrote:
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Natalia, thanks very much.
> > > The cyrillic didn't come through, but I can
> > > >
> > > > piece
> > > > together the
> > > English:
> > > >
> > > > "after all a cornerstone of materialism is a
> > > > proposition
> > > about (that)
> > > > consciousness and the brain are, both, a product
> > > > (of
> > > nature), (and) a part
> > > > of nature, (the one) that reflects the rest of
> > > >
> > > nature"
> > > >
> > > > Might you be able to take a look at the other two excerpts in
> > > the
> > > > original
> > > > Russian?
> > > >
> > > > Let me think about this 'out loud' a
> > > little. This is
> > > > the point in Crisis
> > > > where Vygotsky is specifying what
> > > a truly Marxist
> > > > psychology, a 'general'
> > > > psychology, must study. A
> > > science, he insists,
> > > > studies not appearances but
> > > > what really exists.
> > > Optics, for example, studies
> > > > mirror surfaces and light
> > > > rays, not the
> > > images we see in the mirror, for the
> > > > latter are phantoms. A
> > > > scientific
> > > psychology must study the real processes
> > > > that can give rise to
> > > > such
> > > appearances, not (just) the appearances. [It's
> > > > not clear to me how
> > > >
> > > far
> > > > to go with this seeming analogy between the way a
> > > > mirror reflects
> > > and the
> > > > way the brain/Cs 'reflects the rest of nature'.] So
> > > > any
> > > descriptive,
> > > > intuitionist phenomenology must be rejected. What really
> > > >
> > > exists? A
> > > > materialist maintains that the brain exists, and consciousness
> > >
> > > > too. V
> > > > cites
> > > > Lenin to the effect that what is matter, what is
> > > objective,
> > > > is what exists
> > > > independently of human consciousness. And,
> > > seemingly
> > > > paradoxically,
> > > > consciousness can exist outside our
> > > consciousness: for we can
> > > > be conscious
> > > > without being self-conscious. I
> > > can see without knowing that I
> > > > see. So a
> > > > general psychology must study
> > > consciousness, but to know the mind
> > > > we can't
> > > > rely on introspection, in
> > > part because in introspection mind splits
> > > > into
> > > > subject and object: a
> > > dualism arises in the act of self-reflection.
> > > > We
> > > > can't
> > > > establish a
> > > psychological science only on the basis of what we
> > > > experience
> > > > directly
> > > (as Husserl tried to do); it must be based on knowledge,
> > > > which is
> > > > the
> > > result of analysis, not merely of experience. And what is
> > > > analysis?
> > > >
> > > Complicated answer put briefly: analysis lies at the intersection
> > > > of
> > > >
> > > methodology and practice: it is the exhaustive study of a single case
> > > > in
> > >
> > > > all
> > > > its connections, taken as a social microcosm. It involves what
> > > >
> > > Marx
> > > > (following Hegel) called abstraction.
> > > >
> > > > I'll confess I'm still
> > > not
> > > > clear what V is proposing as the solutions to
> > > > the
> > > >
> > > epistemological and
> > > > ontological problems that he has distinguished. It
> > > >
> > > looks
> > > > to me as though
> > > > he is saying that the epistemological problem -
> > > that
> > > > concerning the relation
> > > > between subject and object - arises only
> > > when one
> > > > accepts uncritically the
> > > > dualism that arises in introspection
> > > (or 'blind
> > > > empiricism'?). So once one
> > > > rejects introspection this
> > > problem dissolves.
> > > > The
> > > > implication is that if
> > > > one begins not with
> > > introspection but with
> > > > practice,
> > > > one avoids any
> > > > subject-object
> > > dualism. The ontological problem -
> > > > concerning
> > > > the relation
> > > > between
> > > mind and matter - is what he's trying to study, no?
> > > > How
> > > > is a
> > > >
> > > brain-in-a-body-in-a-social-world the basis for consciousness, then
> > > >
> > > >
> > > self-consciousness, then self-mastery and knowledge?
> > > >
> > > > Hmmm
> > > >
> > > >
> > > Martin
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > > Hi Martin,
> > > > > I found it --- in Russian, vol.1 of
> > > "Sobranie Sochinenii", on
> > > > page 416.
> > > > > It reads in Russian as very
> > > similar to the English quote your
> > > > posted
> > > > above:
> > > > >
> > > > > "Âåäü --
> > > after all-- ê› åóãîëü&shy;ûì ê ì&shy;åì ì
> òå›è
> > ëèçì
> > > > -- a corneestone
> > > > of
> > > > >
> > > materialism -- ÿâëÿåòñÿ ïîëîæå&shy;èå î òîì, -- is a
> > > > proposition about, ---
> > >
> > > > ÷òî
> > > > > ñîç&shy; &shy;èå è ìîçã åñòü ï›îäóêò ---
> (that)
> > > > consciousness and the
> > > brain are,
> > > > > both, a product (of nature),--- ÷ ñòü
> > > > ï›è›îäû, ---(and) a
> > > part of
> > > > nature, --
> > > > > îò› æ flù flö ÿ îñò ëü&shy;ófl
> ï›è›îäó
> > > > -- (the one)
> > > that reflects the rest of
> > > > > nature"
> > > > >
> > > > > Or something like
> > > >
> > > this.
> > > > >
> > > > > Hope this is helpful, and not making things more
> > > confusing.
> > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Cheers,
> > > > > Natalia.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > On 11/30/06 2:47
> > > PM, "Natalia Gajdamaschko"
> > > > wrote:
> > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > On Thu, 30 Nov 2006 08:55:29 -0500
> > > > xmca@weber.ucsd.edu wrote:
> > > > >>
> > > >
> > > >> A few pages later:
> > > > >>
> > > > >> ""After all,
> > > > a cornerstone of
> > > materialism is the proposition that
> > > > >> consciousness and
> > > > the brain are
> > > a product, a part of nature, which
> > > > reflect
> > > > >> the rest of
> > > > nature"
> > > (327).
> > > > >>
> > > > >> The last sentence is not grammatical English, so
> > > >
> > > something has clearly
> > > > > gone
> > > > >> wrong with the translation.
> > > > >>
> > > >
> > > >> If
> > > > anyone has access to the original Russian and could comment,that
> > > >
> > > >> would
> > > > be
> > > > >> great. (Page numbers are from the version in The
> > > Essential
> > > > Vygotsky.)
> > > > >>
> > > > >> Martin
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > >
> > > > >
> > > >
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > > > xmca mailing list
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> > > > > http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > _______________________________________________
> > > > xmca mailing
> > > list
> > > >
> > > > xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> > > >
> > > http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> > > >
> > >
> > > >
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > > xmca mailing list
> > > >
> > > xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> > > > http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > xmca mailing list
> > >
> > > xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> > > http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> > >
> >
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > xmca mailing list
> > > xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> > > http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> >
> >
> >_______________________________________________
> >xmca mailing list
> >xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> >http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>
>Andy Blunden : http://home.mira.net/~andy/ tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435, AIM
>identity: AndyMarxists mobile 0409 358 651
>
>_______________________________________________
>xmca mailing list
>xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>
>
>
>---------------------------------
>Want to start your own business? Learn how on Yahoo! Small Business.
>_______________________________________________
>xmca mailing list
>xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca

  Andy Blunden : http://home.mira.net/~andy/ tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435, AIM
identity: AndyMarxists mobile 0409 358 651

_______________________________________________
xmca mailing list
xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca



This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed Jan 03 2007 - 07:06:17 PST