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

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at mira.net>
Date: Fri Feb 22 2008 - 20:20:27 PST

Of course!
:) Andy
At 11:11 PM 22/02/2008 -0500, you wrote:
>But just to get back to the point I think Vygotsky was trying to develop
>his own definition of empiricism, and I think maybe it was informed by
>Marx as well, but that is just it, ideas have a lot of sources and
>exploration shouldn't be limited to just a few.
>
>Michael
>
>________________________________
>
>From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu on behalf of Andy Blunden
>Sent: Fri 2/22/2008 10:46 PM
>To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>Subject: RE: [xmca] Did the Butterfly Leave the Cocoon, and then what?
>
>
>
>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: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu 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.
> > >
> > >
> > >_______________________________________________
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> > >xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> > >http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> >
> > Andy Blunden : http://home.mira.net/~andy/ tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435,
> >mobile 0409 358 651
> >
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> >
> >
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> Andy Blunden : http://home.mira.net/~andy/ tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435,
>mobile 0409 358 651
>
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  Andy Blunden : http://home.mira.net/~andy/ tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435,
mobile 0409 358 651

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Received on Fri Feb 22 20:21 PST 2008

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