Re: [xmca] Russian for "Lines of Development" and "Janet's Law"

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at>
Date: Fri Aug 08 2008 - 22:01:04 PDT

I am mystified why we seem to be unable to communicate on
this one David. Put simply, is a "line of dveelopment" an
intelligible process or a thing? I say it is an intelligible
process. The way we make a process intelligible is by
rendering it into a story or narrative. A "line of
development," e.g. Whales, is a story about a mammal that
somehow or other re-adapted to life in the ocean. But you
can also take a whale as simply an objectively existing
class of *things* with certain properties, if you like.


David Kellogg wrote:
> Dear xmca Russophones:
> I'm afraid I need help again! I have two questions that only xmca Russophones can answer.
> a) Vygotsky uses "lines of development" in several places:
> i. He talks about "natural" versus "cultural" lines of development (e.g. Tool and Symbol)
> ii He talks about "thinking" and "speech" as separate lines of development (e.g. Thinking and Speech).
> iii He talks about "emotion" and "rationality" as separate lines of development which fuse (e.g. Imagination and Creativity in Adolescence).
> iv He talks about "central" and "peripheral" lines of development in "Problem of Age" and in his unfinished manuscript on child development in Volume Five of the Collected Works.
> Now, Andy sees "line of development" in Volume Five as a kind of narrative: a story in which the child uses the resources at hand to overcome the predicament the child faces in the social situation of development. My take is a little different; I see "line of development" as meaning something almost genetic: or the "line of development" of fish as opposed to whales, or the "line of development" of the nervous system as opposed to the skeletal system.
> So my first question is whether the Russian expression translated as "line of development" in these instances is the same, or whether Vygotsky uses different expressions which are then translated, rather unimaginatively, as the same. In other words, does the expression "line of development" have the same line of development in these disparate works, or is it the same?
> b) In "The Social Mind" and also in "Understanding Vygotsky" van der Veer and Valsiner suggest that the idea that every higher psychological function was once a real, concrete, social relation between people is "Janet's Law". I have not been able to find anything remotely resembling this in Janet; on the contrary, a number of Janet's writings seem to suggest precisely the opposite. Is it possible...just possible...that the Russian word for "genetic" and the Russian transliteration of "Janet's" might look the same?
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
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Andy Blunden +61 3 9380 9435 
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Received on Fri Aug 8 22:02 PDT 2008

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