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

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at>
Date: Wed Feb 27 2008 - 16:48:24 PST

OK, you are quite right, Volker. I should not speak in such a way,
My apologies. (My old communist training coming to the surface!)
At 12:26 AM 28/02/2008 +0100, you wrote:
>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 understanding.
>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.
>>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.
>>>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?
>>>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'.
>>> >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
>>>xmca mailing list
>>>xmca mailing list
>> Andy Blunden : tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435,
>> mobile 0409 358 651
>>xmca mailing list
>xmca mailing list

  Andy Blunden : tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435,
mobile 0409 358 651

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Received on Wed Feb 27 16:49 PST 2008

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