Re: [xmca] Copernicus, Darwin and Bohr

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike who-is-at gmail.com>
Date: Mon Jun 25 2007 - 18:43:24 PDT

That citation really makes one stop and think about the polysemy and multi
(faiours)
uses of the word, humanism. Thanks Eirik.
mike

On 6/25/07, Eirik Knutsson <eikn6681@student.su.se> wrote:
>
> There are, of course, several humanisms:
>
> "... the civic humanism of the quattrocento Italian city-states, the
> Protestant
> humanism of sixteenth-century northern Europe, the rationalistic humanism
> that
> attended at the revolutions of enlightened modernity, and the romantic and
> positivistic humanisms through which the European bourgeoisies established
> their hegemony over it, the revolutionary humanism that shook the world
> and the
> liberal humanism that sought to tame it, the humanism of the Nazis and the
> humanism of their victims and opponents, the antihumanist humanism of
> Heidegger
> and the humanist antihumanism of Foucault and Althusser are not
> reducible to
> one, or even to a single line or pattern. Each has its distinctive
> historical
> curve, its particular discursive poetics, its own problematic scansion of
> the
> human. Each seeks, as all discourses must, to impose its own answer to the
> question of 'which is to be master'."
> (Davies, Tony. Humanism. Florence, KY, USA: Routledge, 1996:130-131).
>
>
> E.
>
>
>
> On 2007-06-25, at 20:25, Peter Smagorinsky wrote:
> > Rieber and Wollock's Prologue to Vol. 3 of Vygotsky's Collected Works
> > provides some interesting insights on Darwin and a Cultural-historical
> > perspective. They say:
> > "Marxism . . . is a radically humanist philosophy; radical in that it
> not
> > only emphasizes the human, but by removing God from the traditional
> God/man
> > and social struggle, is a radically humanist philosphy; radical in that
> it
> > not only emphasizes the human, but by removing God from the traditional
> > God/man nexus inevitably throws all emphasis on the human" (p. ix,
> 1997).
> > As I understand it, then, the atheism of Marxism allowed for a clearer
> look
> > at psychological development, unencumbered by the hand of the Almighty.
> I
> > probably can't quite appreciate how radical a move this was 80 or so
> years
> > ago, but I suspect that an atheistic perspective was necessary in order
> to
> > attempt the sort of comprehensive psychology that Vygotsky aimed for.
> This
> > helps explain for me the appeal of Darwin for the project founded by
> > Vygotsky.
> >
> > As a footnote, I have gotten bogged down in writing obligations, so
> can't
> > offer much on the promise of my initial intention to read extensively in
> > Vygotsky this summer--or to read much else, I'm afraid to say.
> >
> >
> > Peter Smagorinsky
> > The University of Georgia
> > Department of Language and Literacy Education
> > 125 Aderhold Hall
> > Athens, GA 30602-7123
> > smago@uga.edu /fax:706-542-4509/phone:706-542-4507/
> > http://www.coe.uga.edu/lle/faculty/smagorinsky/index.html
> >
> >
> > _____
> >
> > From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu]
> On
> > Behalf Of Michael Glassman
> > Sent: Monday, June 25, 2007 11:25 AM
> > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > Subject: RE: [xmca] Copernicus, Darwin and Bohr
> >
> >
> > David and Erik,
> >
> > This won't be a long message because basically none of my messages ever
> seem
> > to get through. But while it is true the communitarian aspects of the
> > evolving Russian society (I think very much influenced by Tolstoy's
> > philosophy - at least among intellectuals), along with the types of
> large,
> > barren landscapes many Russian naturalists worked within, affected the
> > Russian view of Darwin, I would argue with the idea that there was not
> that
> > much understanding of Darwin's mechanisms. If you read Petr Kropotkin's
> > book on Mutual Aid I think he had a really good understanding of Darwin
> -
> > Kropotkin was just looking to emphasize different issues, adaptation
> over
> > natural selection, and natural selection when it existed at the cross
> > species level rather than within species level.
> >
> > While Darwin was certainly influenced by Malthus, his ideas on
> adaptation
> > took his theory off in another direction. so it seems to me you have
> two
> > major Darwinian points, natural selection and adaptation. Which should
> be
> > emphasized was a tremendous argument over the late 19th century played
> out
> > in the pages of the journal 20th century. In England Darwin's theory
> took
> > a distinct Malthusian turn, it is true. But I think much of that has to
> do
> > with the belief system of Huxley, "Darwin's bulldog" who was the actual
> > person pushing evolutionary ideas in to mainstream society. There was
> also
> > the need of Darwinism to provide a parallel idea to religion's "Divine
> Right
> > of Kings" if it was going to have any success against religion. The
> role
> > Darwin played in this emphasis is I think up for some debate. (I
> remember
> > in an article I wrote about Kropotkin I said that Darwin my not have
> been
> > responsible for the strong Malthusian emphasis of his theory, and a
> reviewer
> > became upset saying everybody wants to protect "Saint Darwin).
> >
> > As far as survival of the fittest, I think accordning to Gould at least
> > Darwin really didn't like it. He did use it a few times near the end of
> his
> > career, but that may have been because everybody was using it, or the
> > influence of Huxley, or both.
> >
> > Anyway, Kropotkin was an extraordinary thinker - also a leading
> anarchist
> > philosopher (I never really knew what anarchism was, or how it played in
> to
> > evolution before I read him), and a great magician.
> >
> > Michael
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > _____
> >
> > From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu on behalf of Eirik Knutsson
> > Sent: Mon 6/25/2007 9:43 AM
> > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > Subject: Re: [xmca] Copernicus, Darwin and Bohr
> >
> >
> >
> > Thanks David K,
> >
> > Maybe there simply was no good reason (in 19th century Russia) to be
> > offended
> > by the (Darwinistic) dethronement of Western anthropocentrism? Just a
> > thought.
> > History, according to Berdyaev, is the story of man's dehumanization,
> the
> > story
> > of how man came to lose that spirit that makes him uniquely man.
> >
> > E.
> >
> >
> > On 2007-06-24, at 03:03, David Kellogg wrote:
> >> Dear Erik and Mike:
> >>
> >> Erik makes the main point I wanted to make far better than my own
> > maunderings did. It was precisely that the grandiose epistemological and
> > philosophical and even political meanings that we often attach to
> particular
> > scientific breakthroughs tend to reflect our own ontological
> predispositions
> > and philosophical predilections rather than any thorough assimilation of
> the
> > technological breakthrough at hand.
> >>
> >> The Russian affinity for Darwinism reflects, as Erik says, the
> > atmosphere
> > of anticipation in late 19th Century Russia rather than any deep
> > understanding
> > of the precise mechanism that Darwin was proposing. But of course the
> same
> > could be said of the Western distaste for Darwin.
> >>
> >> In fact, we can even say the same for Darwin's own phrase "natural
> > selection". Janet pointed out that this particular expression was
> > anthropomorphic, and it was for that reason that Darwin, via Wallace,
> began
> > to
> > use the phrase "survival of the fittest" (and of course this has been
> found
> > to
> > be tautological by people who do not differentiate between species,
> > organisms,
> > phenotypes and genotypes). Darwin's own understanding of his theory is
> > deeply
> > colored by Malthus and political economy, and this was one of the
> reasons
> > why
> > it could be so easily picked up by Spencer (who actually coined the
> > phrase "survival of the fittest").
> >>
> >> I don't mean to change the subject, but I think that another weakness
> of
> > the "toolforthoughts" approach is that it at least potentially
> constricts
> > LSV's
> > concept of mediation to intellectual concepts. Mediation was also part
> of
> > LSV's
> > vision of emotional development, as Gunilla Lindqvist's article (2000)
> makes
> > very clear.
> >>
> >> "Tools" are not artworks. LSV (2004, based on a previous discussion
> in
> > Ribot) divides creativity into four basic types:
> >>
> >> a) combinatorial (the creation of unicorns, manticores, dragons,
> > imaginary
> > friends, huts on chicken legs). Here the child is simply juxtaposing
> actual
> > aspects of experience in new ways.
> >>
> >> b) reconstructive (the way children conceptualize experiences they
> have
> > NEVER had, such as the children in Thinking and Speech Chapter Five who
> > imagined that serf-owners lived in ten story houses with electricity).
> Here
> > there is a "reality check" function that makes the child's creativity
> > socially
> > shareable with adults.
> >>
> >> c) emotional (the way children use creativity to control their
> emotions
> > and
> > even create new ones, such as the child who uses Harry Potter or Tom
> Sawyer
> > to
> > imagine a world without parents and make it bearable).
> >>
> >> d) innovative (the way children use creativity to bring into being
> the
> > kind
> > of objects that Popper associates with "World Three", music, drawing,
> drama,
> > etc.
> >>
> >> I see perfectly well how "tools" can mediate the kind of creativity
> we
> > see
> > in a), b), and even d). But it's much less clear to me how tools (as
> opposed
> > to
> > symbols) mediate the kind of creativity we see in c). In fact, I would
> argue
> > that in many ways the kinds of instant gratification we see developing
> in
> > computer based role-play games (and Hollywood movies such as "Pirates of
> the
> > Carribean") are INIMICAL to the development of higher emotions such as
> > justice
> > out of rage, caution out of fear, empathy out of pain.
> >>
> >> There is always an interaction between a particular tool and its
> > content,
> > and I do not think it is accidental that books evolved into novels,
> while
> > web-
> > based games are evolving into long but only very narrowly interactive
> > shopping
> > lists of monsters to kill, cars to hijack, prisoners to torture, women
> to
> > abuse.
> >>
> >> So I'm inclined to impute the starry-eyed anticipation of people who
> > believe that web-based games will replace literacy altogether to the
> kind of
> > wildly innaccurate (because asocial) foresight which, twenty or thirty
> years
> > ago, imagined a world twenty or thirty years hence where people commute
> > using
> > individual rocket belts.
> >>
> >> David Kellogg
> >> Seoul National University of Education
> >>
> >>
> > _______________________________________________
> > 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
Received on Mon Jun 25 18:46 PDT 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun Jul 01 2007 - 00:30:04 PDT