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

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at>
Date: Fri Feb 22 2008 - 15:29:12 PST

Oh yes! and also, exactly how does one describe the authors of "The
Philosophy of Right" and "Capital" as "utopian" and "positivist"? Beats me.
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 Fri Feb 22 15:30 PST 2008

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