Re: [xmca] soznanie/osoznanie

From: Ed Wall (
Date: Mon Feb 12 2007 - 08:51:30 PST

Dewey remarks in Human Nature (178-179) that
consciousness might be thought of "as a kind of
disease, since we have no consciousness of bodily
or mental organs as long as they work at ease in
perfect health." [As a somewhat aside: he goes
on, "The idea of disease is, however, aside from
the point, unless we are pessimistic enough to
regard every slip in total adjustment of a person
to his surroundings as something abnormal-a point
of view which ... would identify well-being with
perfect automatism. The truth is that in every
waking moment, the complete balance of the
organism and its environment is constantly
interfered with and is constantly restored."]

Would one, for example in Swedish, use "knowing
together with" to translate this or does it just
become incoherent?

Ed Wall

>Just a note from The North
>consciousness in Swedish is MED-VETANDE (knowing
>together WITH) i.e. impossible for one -
>possible for two (Feuerbach in T&L)
>2007-02-12 kl. 06.09 skrev Mike Cole:
>>On 2/11/07, Andy Blunden <> wrote:
>>>But "recognition" (in the relevant usages) comes from "cognate" - co-born,
>>>i.e., of the same kin.
>>>At 10:32 PM 11/02/2007 -0500, you wrote:
>>>>Did you know that the root word both for the English KNOWLEDGE and Slavic
>>>>"ZNANYE", Latin "GNOSIS" is the same Sanskrit "jna"? (remark
>>>>Here is an interesting etymological view:
>>>>Mike Cole wrote:
>>>>>OK, here is the message on this topic. It has not appeared on the
>>>>>where I looked for it. I
>>>>>am trying to figure out why. Thanks to Ed Wall for pointing me to it.
>>>>>There is a cluster of messages from David, Vera, Ana and Martin and ??
>>>>>that seems to me
>>>>>especially important and potentially generative.
>>>>>Referring to the note I sent earlier with the analysis of the Russian
>>>>>also knew Sanskrit, I questioned
>>>>>the issue of so- as a prefix in Russian. ditto o-
>>>>>And when we combine the two prefixes ( so-znanie/ o-so-znanie) what is
>>>>>created. Peter? MGU Aspiranti?
>>>>>Anna S? ???
>>>>>znanie =knowledge
>>>>>so-znanie ~ co knowledge ????
>>>>>o-so-znanie ~~ about-co-knowledge, concerning-co-knowledge???????
>>>>>---------- Forwarded message ----------
>>>>>From: Martin Packer <>
>>>>>Date: Feb 9, 2007 6:36 PM
>>>>>Subject: Re: [xmca] Harried instructor seeks words of wisdom
>>>>>To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
>>>>>I would certainly be interested in hearing more about the distinctions
>>>>>you're making between responsiveness, awareness and consciousness.
>>>>>To add to the (my) confusion, digging through my notes I've come across
>>>>>following note by translator Norris Minick in Thinking & Speech (p. 388,
>>>>>"By the phrase 'conscious awareness' we gloss the Russian osaznanie,
>>>which V
>>>>>carefully and consistently uses and distinguishes from the term soznanie
>>>>>'consciousness.' Vygotsky clarifies the difference between the two at
>>>>>several points in the textŠ the earlier translation of this volume
>>>>>and languageŠ) rendered both terms as 'consciousness,' introducing a
>>>>>confusion not to be found in the original Russian text."
>>>>>The links to neuroscience are very interesting. If I understand it
>>>>>correctly, Vygotsky's psychology was the study of consciousness and
>>>>>physiology (the material basis of consciousness). The division of labor
>>>>>developed between Vygotsky and Luria speaks to this, I think. Modern
>>>>>neuroscience too often wants to treat consciousness as an epiphenomenon,
>>>>>Vygotsky clearly viewed it as having a purpose: it has evolved because
>>>>>serves an important function. After my last message I recalled
>>>>>insistence that consciousness appears when action meets an obstacle. I'm
>>>>>pretty confident he says this as early as Educational Psychology, and as
>>> >>late as T&S, but I can't track down specific citations at this moment.
>>>>>this links to David's comments about volition. Consciousness occurs when
>>>>>prereflective action is blocked, and we must deliberate, look around,
>>>>>consider alternatives. A two-way link to volition: Cs arises from
>>>>>activity, and serves to reorganize that activity. Cs gives us the will
>>>to do
>>>>>what is hard to do, what needs to be done, what at first grasp seems
>>>>>impossible to do.
>>>>>And while I'm cutting and pasting from my notes, this is from the last
>>>>>of Educational Psychology:
>>>>>"Man has set himself the goal of becoming master of his own feelings, of
>>>>>lifting the instincts to the heights of consciousness and making them
>>>>>transparent, of stretching the thread of will into what is concealed and
>>>>>into the underground, and to thereby lift himself up to a new stage, to
>>>>>create a 'higher' sociociological type, a, so to speak, super-man." 351
>>>>>None of this gives my students a *definition* of consciousness. But
>>>>>one has to be satisfied with a *history* of it, a story that describes
>>>>>it comes into being and then departs again.
>>>>>On 2/9/07 11:24 AM, "Vera Steiner" <> wrote:
>>>>>>I sent my message on consciousness before reading Martin's "harried
>>>>>>instructor seeks words of wisdom." It is a fine discussion, and my
>>>>>>apologies for not referring to it in my somewhat differently focused
>>>>>>comments.In my class last night, I tried to differentiate between
>>>>>>responsiveness, awareness and consciousness, a hard task, but if anyone
>>>>>>is interested, I would be willing to struggle with it some more in our
>>>>>>discussions. Right now, I have to leave the house and the computer,
>>>>>>Martin Packer wrote:
>>>>>>>Trying to get the worms out of one can I seem to have opened another,
>>>>>>>think David may have rescued me before I started to ask. Trying to
>>>>>>>why studying consciousness was important to Vygotsky, I started with
>>>>>>>assertion that for him (and me too) consciousness is in our
>>>>>>>the world. I suppose that all animals have consciousness, perhaps even
>>>>>>>plants in some sense, since they respond to changes in the environment
>>>>>>>& night; the movement of the sun) and so must sense these in some way.
>>>>>>>human consciousness is, one supposes, much more complex, and it
>>>>>>>If consciousness is in our interactions, not in our heads, that is
>>>>>>>when we are trying to avoid dualistic thinking. And, yes, Vygotsky
>>>>>>>trying to give a materialistic account of consciousness, which at
>>>>>>>seems pretty contradictory.
>>>>>>>Psychology today generally doesn1t consider consciousness: in one
>>>>>>>might study memory, in another perception, in a third language, and so
>>>>>>>> From Vygotsky1s point of view this has divided up something unitary
>>>>>>>all, in my conscious existence I am thinking at one moment,
>>>>>>>something the next, then imagining something, talking, ... and even
>>>>>>>account divides consciousness up too much. So the proper study of
>>>>>>>consciousness is the study of all these functions in their
>>>>>>>interrelationship. It is, I said, only to keep things simple that
>>>>>>>focuses mainly on thinking and talking in the book we are reading.
>>>>>>>I said some more. I said it in (bad) Spanish and now I can1t remember
>>>>>>>And they said, okay, very good, but what was Vygotsky1s definition of
>>>>>>>‘consciousness1? Give us a definition of consciousness, and keep it
>>>>>>>and formal. They said this with a (collective) smile, so I know they
>>>>>>>expecting a dictionary definition, even before reading David1s
>>>>>>>I wasn1t able to give a (good) answer.
>>>>>>>David, for me, too, consciousness is not cognition. I completely agree
>>>>>>>you that volition is crucial for Vygotsky. (For example, I think
>>>>>>>position on scientific concepts is misunderstood when people say that
>>> >>such
>>>>>>>concepts enable self-control; V is clear that it1s the other way
>>>>>>>self-control, mastery of one1s own psychological functions, makes such
>>>>>>>concepts possible.) But I1m not entirely comfortable *equating*
>>>>>>>consciousness with volition. I guess for a first shot I1d say that
>>>>>>>is a relation between consciousness and functions that lack
>>>>>>>One thing I like about this formulation is that it includes the
>>>>>>>that consciousness is social, intersubjective, and that self-control
>>>>>>>roots in control-by-others. And I do believe that this was Vygotsky1s
>>>>>>>position (in-itself; for-others; for-itself). But - having put it this
>>>>>way -
>>>>>>>one has to distinguish carefully between consciousness and
>>>>>>>self-consciousness, no?
>>>>>>>Enough for one day. I1m off for enchiladas. More words of wisdom from
>>>>>>>collective consciousness will be much appreciated!
>>>>>>>p.s I think Osimbologia may be a Nahuatl word. ;) I saw a wonderful
>>>>>>>Spanish-Nahuatl dictionary the other day. Any takers?
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>>>>/151 W. Tulpehocken St./
>>>>/Philadelphia//, PA 19144///
>>>>/(h) 215-843-2909/
>>>>/ <>/
>>>>/ <
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