Re: [xmca] Did the Butterfly Leave the Cocoon, and then what?

From: Volker Bunzendahl <Volker.hippie who-is-at>
Date: Wed Feb 27 2008 - 15:26:01 PST

Sorry, but, the quote:/ "I read laughable commentary about LSV"/ makes
me not happy, but sad.

I know many people who love and dance to the music of Bob Marley. Not
all off them, who dance to the music and listen to the words, have read
the Bible (or smoked Ganja). For me, and for LSV as I read him, the
important thing is the dance, the joint-activity, not who is best in

But /to judge by laughing /about others understanding is, in my eyes not
at all revolutionary.

But surely it is a good idea to read Marx, Engels, Spinoza, Iljenkov
and/or to listen to Bob Marley.

One love, Volker

Andy Blunden skrev:
> Well, in my experience, in this case, it is true.
> Recently I read an article by a well-known expert on LSV who I judge
> had not read Hegel or Marx, and I read laughable commentary about
> LSV's "method of thesis-antithesis-synthesis" which the author
> mistakenly thought had something to do with Hegel and Marx's use of
> the same fiction. This was helpful for me because a couple of months
> ago I spoke to a guy who had a book in draft about whether LSV's
> dialectic came from Marx or Hegel based on the premise that Marx used
> the "method of thesis-antithesis-synthesis". On being questioned, the
> writer claimed "The Misery of Philosophy" as his source, but it turned
> out that it was Proudhon using these terms and being ridiculed for it
> by Marx. All I am saying is that confusion reigns. LSV was "steeped"
> in Marxism. What he meant by "Empiricism" would have been informed by
> voluminous Marxist literature attacking empiricism at that time,
> possibly, rather than James. One gets what one can from a writer;
> that's fine of course. We all can only read a certain tiny portion of
> what has been written, and exotic appropriations are always original
> and creative. But when a writer is working within a genre such as
> Marxism, I really think that a broader familiarity with that genre is
> essential. Stern and Spinoza are a different question altogether.
> Andy
> At 08:11 PM 22/02/2008 -0500, you wrote:
>> Andy, come on - to say it's difficult to understand somebody if you
>> haven't read one of the progenitors of their ideas is a rather dicey
>> proposition. I mean it seems to me Vygotsky took his ideas from a
>> number of different sources. I've also heard people say you couldn't
>> understand what Vygotsky meant by concepts if you haven't read
>> Stern. Others say you can't really understand Vygotsky if you
>> haven't read Spinoza. I could make the argument that you can't
>> understand what Vygotsky meant by empiricism unless you read James.
>> I mean all different sources go in to all our ideas, but in the end
>> they are our ideas, and they rise and they fall and they are
>> understood or misunderstood as a result of our own efforts.
>> Michael
>> ________________________________
>> From: on behalf of Andy Blunden
>> Sent: Fri 2/22/2008 5:49 PM
>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Subject: RE: [xmca] Did the Butterfly Leave the Cocoon, and then what?
>> Philip, I've always wondered how someone who has not read Hegel
>> understands
>> what LSV meant by a "genuine concept" as opposed to a
>> "pseudo-concept" at
>> all actually. And how anyone who had not read Marx's Capital could
>> understand what LSV meant by a "unit of analysis." Self-evidently
>> people
>> do, so I admit to an element of irony here, but what about it?
>> Andy
>> At 12:31 PM 22/02/2008 -0700, you wrote:
>> >Martin, I found your paper a pleasure to read - provided for me
>> multiple
>> >insights about LV, particularly about the intellectual-historical
>> context
>> >that he matured in. What i'm writing here is rather a kind on running
>> >dialogue, based on your text, my experiences, other texts i've read.
>> >
>> >I can't say that these are my final thoughts, or concrete - mostly
>> >thoughts that stochastically emerged in response to your text. (by the
>> >way, don't you think that Wertsch took history into account in the
>> text in
>> >which he describes the history of pole vaulting, and the historical
>> >changes that emerged over time as practice and technology changed?)
>> >
>> >so, what i'm about to put out here is a kind of muddle that's my
>> initial
>> >start in working with your paper.
>> >
>> >for me the answer to your title is "yes, Vygotsky is relevant." After
>> >reading your paper, my own conclusion is that Vygotsky's work has
>> >transcended Marxism. I'm not sure I agree with your conclusion that
>> it's
>> >necessary for future scholars to read "Marx, Hegel, Engels, Lenin,
>> Trotsky
>> >...". I strongly agree that it is "perhaps na´ve to think that we
>> can use
>> >the one (psychology) that Vygotsky fashioned unmodified", as you
>> write in
>> >your final sentence.
>> >
>> >I thought of Newton as I read your paper, all of his "natural laws" of
>> >motion and light that he constructed, and considered too that Newton
>> was
>> >at heart and practice, an alchemist. To understand Newton, we do
>> >understand his historical context, but we don't read the alchemy
>> texts in
>> >order to understand his work - even his construction of labeling his
>> work
>> >"laws of nature", in order to avoid being attacked as a religious
>> heretic,
>> >we understand - so that when Newton explains that he's merely revealing
>> >the laws of God, I don't think then that we turn to the bible for
>> further
>> >illumination or Aquinas or Descartes.
>> >
>> >So too with Vygotsky - the authors you, Martin, cite (Marx, Hegel,
>> Engels,
>> >Lenin & Trotsky) - I look back to as situated in a word of positivism,
>> >with beliefs of utopianism (new society, new man & forces controlled by
>> >men themselves & the root of the content and disconent of mend, and
>> which
>> >in that way determines their destiny & the new man could
>> self-consciously
>> >grasp and master the laws of his own formation & time to change the
>> world
>> >& fate & destiny & science of history & the natural laws of society's
>> >movement & lay bare the economic law of motion of modern society,
>> >etc.) and I consider what epistemological failures these beliefs were.
>> >
>> >Instead, I consider Gregory Bateson (1904 - 84), who had many of the
>> same
>> >concerns as Vygotsky (1896 - 34), or Foucault (1926 - 84), as well as
>> >Pierre Bourdieu and Bruno Latour, who emerged also out of the
>> tradition of
>> >Kant, and Hegel, and yes, referred back to Marx and Engels, though
>> >certainly not Lenin and Trotsky, 'and struggled with the multiple
>> >questions of "mind in society" -
>> >
>> >I find the greatest strength in your paper beginning on page 23 with
>> >'Vygotsky's Account of 'Child History'" . I think Vygotsky's brilliant
>> >lies in picking out gems from Marx - as in your quotes - but then
>> building
>> >a method of research that looks at consciousness, language, memory,
>> change
>> >over time - and the utilization of the concept of 'sublated'.
>> Vygotsky's
>> >exploration of consciousness is so much richer and grounded in the
>> >dialectic of theory and practice, than say Jung's or Freud's notions of
>> >consciousness. It is a brilliant insight, as you explain, in the
>> >understanding of "coming to act on oneself as one acted on others,
>> or as
>> >others acted on one" (p. 28). (Which goes a long way in explaining why
>> >Russians failed at socialism - tracing their historical path of a
>> >multiplicity of repressions for 500 years - and why northern European
>> >nations did such a far more successful job of socialism - those nations
>> >did not have 500 years of state police, censorship, and power
>> residing in
>> >a single person - they had a far greater source of flexibility of
>> cultural
>> >resources to build on.) So, for a conception of history to build a new
>> >psychology on, a new pedagogy in my case, I'd much rather look to
>> >Foucault, Bateson, Vygotsky, Bourdieu, Cole, Wertsch, and read
>> Tolstoy's
>> >"War and Peace" - for in Tolstoy one sees that the stochastic
>> emergence
>> >of events assures that there is no developmental path of history, much
>> >less psychology and education.
>> >
>> >
>> >_______________________________________________
>> >xmca mailing list
>> >
>> >
>> Andy Blunden : tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435,
>> mobile 0409 358 651
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Received on Wed Feb 27 15:28 PST 2008

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