Martin-- I suspected that might be the case. My class read only ch7 and I
reminded how central ch1 was by Cynthia's note. We have a couple of people
spanish is excellent in the class and we can all expact to be hearing from
Too bad I am teaching a first year survey intro grad class and cannort spend
the whole time ton T&L or T&S, as you wish.
On 1/25/07, Martin Packer <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Mike, Cynthia is one the students here in the class at UDLA, Puebla. We've
> been reading chapter 1, and I just presented a shockingly brief overview
> Piaget's work in preparation for chapter 2.
> On 1/25/07 4:26 PM, "Mike Cole" <email@example.com> wrote:
> > Our seminar has been reading the "thought and word" chapter, David. So
> > note is timely.
> > ...
> > Martin-- Are your folks in Pueblo also working on this chapter these
> > mike
> > On 1/25/07, David Kellogg <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> >> Hola, Cynthia!
> >> First, I have an apology. I read Spanish, but my friends tell me
> >> when I try to speak it I sound like I am speaking French with a Spanish
> >> accent.
> >> Second, I have a warning. I work in primary education. My Vygotsky is
> >> primary school teacher. A lot of other people have other Vygotskies,
> who do
> >> different things.
> >> Third, I have a question for YOU. When Vygotsky says that "word
> >> is the unit of analysis, what does the word "word" mean?
> >> When people talk about what Vygotsky meant by "unit of analysis",
> >> usually go back to the little story that Vygotsky tells about the water
> >> molecule. Hydrogen burns, and oxygen helps it burn, but water neither
> >> nor helps things burn. So elements do not tell us much about what units
> >> do. We need units, not elements, if we want to analyze things.
> >> I don't like this story very much. First of all, it's not really
> >> Vygotsky's. He got it from John Stuart Mill. Secondly, a water molecure
> >> doesn't develop, or at least it doesn't develop in a revolutionary way,
> >> a molecule where there are two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom to a
> >> molecule where there are two oxygen atoms and one hydrogen atom.
> >> I have a better one. As Wittgenstein points out, games have almost
> >> nothing in common. There are board games and dice games and competitive
> >> games and cooperative ones; there are games based on luck and those
> based on
> >> skill, and then there are lots of activities that seem to be just based
> >> repetitive behavior (like jumprope or catch).
> >> Vygotsky pointed out that games have not one but TWO things in
> >> They all have an imaginary situation of some kind (even if it is highly
> >> implicit, like imagining that an action will continue indefinitely) and
> >> all have rules (even if they are very subtle, like "repeat, repeat,
> >> repeat").
> >> The reason we don't see this is that sometimes the imaginary
> >> is dominant and explicit and the rules are secret (like when children
> >> "House" and Daddy has to eat while Mommy serves) and sometimes it is
> >> other way around (like when they play soccer and they pretend that they
> >> can't touch the ball with their hands).
> >> In other words, games are a unit of analysis, and every game always
> >> contains two kinds of elements: imaginary situations and rules. But
> >> sometimes it is the imaginary situation which is derived from the
> rules, and
> >> sometimes it is the rules which have to be derived from the imaginary
> >> situation. (This is what happens when children play and they argue.)
> >> In Capital, Marx begins with a very abstract (but ubiquitous) unit of
> >> analysis, namely the commodity. The commodity contains an inherent
> >> contradiction, between use value and exchange value. This contradiction
> >> what causes it to develop, from a commodity that is mostly use value to
> >> that is mostly exchange value.
> >> As Capital develops, Marx shows how this very abstract analysis is
> >> expressed in concrete historical relationships. In order to show this,
> it is
> >> very important that the unit should be holistic, that is, that it
> >> contain BOTH sides of the contradiction, and that the change of
> >> (from "use value/exchange value" to "exchange value/use value") should
> be a
> >> revolutionary one.
> >> Both Volosinov and Vygotsky faced similar problems. In 1926 Volosinov
> >> was faced with a world populated by two types of linguists: those who
> >> ignored the actual thought in language and concentrated only on the
> >> structural oppositions (the abstract objectivists led by Saussure) and
> >> who ignored the structure of language and concentrated only on its
> >> expressive thought (the idealist subjectivists, led by Vossler).
> >> Volosinov understood that there could be no question of "uniting"
> >> two false positions. For one thing, Volosinov knew that they were
> >> tautological. It is not possible to "explain" the structure of language
> >> using the structure of language, as Saussure did. Nor is it possible to
> >> "explain" the thought of language by using the language of thought, as
> >> romantics wanted to.
> >> Volosinov understood that the utterance, which was HIS unit of
> >> contains both thought and structure. But for that very reason, as
> >> points out, the utterance cannot be both the unit of analysis and the
> >> explanatory principle.
> >> If the utterance contains both thought and structure, then we cannot
> >> that the utterance is caused by thought, or that the utterance is
> caused by
> >> structure, because both of those statements would contains tautologies.
> >> There must be some other explanatory principle, some other thing out of
> >> which both thought and structure co-evolve.
> >> Vygotsky's problem is almost identical, as well as contemporaneous.
> >> 1926, when Vygotsky got up at a conference in Moscow to talk about
> >> "Consciousness as a Problem in the Psychology of Behavior", there were
> >> types of psychologists in the room: those, like Chelpanov, who believed
> >> consciousness without behavior, to be explored using introspection
> >> observation, and those, like Pavlov, who believed in behavior without
> >> consciousness, to be explored by observation without introspection.
> >> (In fact, there was a third kind of psychologist in the room;
> >> who believed in "uniting" the two erroneous positions. But Kornilov
> >> in a psychology without Chelpanov or Pavlov, and that is why Vygotsky
> >> able to work with him for a time.)
> >> Vygotsky's solution is quite similar to Volosinov's too. He
> >> that there could be no question of uniting the weaknesses of both
> >> a synthesis could only be achieved by the Marxist method of double
> >> He had to find a unit of analysis that included both consciousness and
> >> behavior, united in an inherently unstable opposition that could
> >> from behavior/consciousness to consciousness/behavior.
> >> The unit he discovered is, amazingly, the same as that of Volosinov.
> >> is the utterance. I know, I know, he says that it is "word meaning."
> >> what does "word meaning" mean to a one-year-old child?
> >> One-year-old children know a lot about language: they know it has
> >> rhythm, and they know it has intonation. But there is lot that they
> >> know: they don't (yet) know that it has vocabulary and they don't yet
> >> that it has grammar.
> >> This seems like a contradiction. If they can hear the rhythm of
> >> and silence, then surely they know about words. If they can hear the
> >> difference between UP and DOWN intonation, then they probably know
> >> about sentences, and even questions.
> >> But in fact there is no contradiction. Or rather, there IS a
> >> contradiction, but it is precisely the kind of contradiction that we
> want, a
> >> contradiction WITHIN the unit of analysis that will allow it to
> >> The child knows the external aspect of words (that is, words as
> >> But the child does not yet know their internal structure (that is,
> words as
> >> discrete, analyzed meanings). The child knows the sentence as iconic,
> >> even indexical meaning, but not as a string of symbolic meanings.
> >> The child will learn, and develop. Someday the child will learn to
> >> e-mail, for example, and be able to read foreign languages which he or
> >> cannot pronounce correctly. The fact that you can read these words is
> >> that it is possible for the child to invert "sound/meaning" to
> >> "meaning/sound".
> >> But Vygotsky, like Volosinov, understood completely that since, in
> >> utterance-meaning, there is both consciousness AND behavior, we cannot
> >> simply use utterance-meaning to explain consciousness or behavior.
> >> if we do that, we get a tautology, or rather two of them: something
> >> contains consciousness already is what causes consciousness; something
> >> contains behavior already is what causes behavior.
> >> So Vygotsky, like Volosinov, looked for something else to use as his
> >> explanatory principle. You are not going to be surprised when I tell
> >> that what Vygotsky and Volosinov was exactly the same explanatory
> >> verbal and non-verbal human interaction; not abstract interaction, but
> >> dialogue between real flesh and blood humans and their immediate
> >> environment. Verbal and non-verbal interaction structures thought, and
> >> verbal and non-verbal interaction brings consciousness out of behavior.
> >> But if verbal and non-verbal interaction is the explanatory
> >> then "word" is not quite the right word, is it?
> >> David Kellogg
> >> Seoul National University of Education
> >> ---------------------------------
> >> We won't tell. Get more on shows you hate to love
> >> (and love to hate): Yahoo! TV's Guilty Pleasures list.
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> xmca mailing list
> >> email@example.com
> >> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> > _______________________________________________
> > xmca mailing list
> > firstname.lastname@example.org
> > http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> xmca mailing list
xmca mailing list
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Feb 01 2007 - 10:11:33 PST