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

From: David Kellogg <vaughndogblack who-is-at>
Date: Sat Aug 09 2008 - 07:18:26 PDT

Thanks, Bella! I different is the spelling of "genetic" in Russian (”’›’‚ōÁ’Šŕř?) and the transliteration of the name "Janet" (Pierre Janet)? Could Valsiner and van der Veer have made a mistake, and translated "genetic law" as "Janet's law"?

Andy, the reason why "narrative" sticks in my throat is†related to the reason why "function" sticks in yours. When LSV and Luria use†"line of development" it's often to try to distinguish between two things that are functionally or phenotypically similar but "genetically" or "genotypically" different.

For example, a human throat and a megaphone are†functionally similar, in that they both serve to project acoustic signals, and on an abstract level they even resemble each other, but they derive from two very different "lines of development".†A purely functional analysis cannot, therefore, reveal the differences.

In the same way, I think that LSV and Luria use "natural" and "cultural" lines of development not to tell the story of the descent of the higher psychological functions but to draw a clear demarcation line between forms of memory that are part of our biological endowment ("eidetic", as LSV calls them, although we probably wouldn't refer to them that way today) and those that are cultural "simultations" (e.g. writing). The two things are functionally similar but genetically different, but then they fuse and transform each other.

I think that the use of "thinking" and "speech" can be similarly understood, and of course the same holds true of "rationality" and "emotionality": in each case we have two faculties which develop separate, join together, and each one reconstructs the other. In order to understand how this happens "genetically" (as Bella points out, when LSV uses this word it often means something like "historically", in the sense of "genesis" rather than in the sense of DNA) we need to keep in mind their separate histories.

I think that the use of "narrative" in the sense of "storyline" obscures this. Narratives are a peculiar genre,†cognate with the rise of the individual bounded by skin, hair, nails, birth and death. Even†romantic novels are about one consciousness or the other, and not about the fusion of two consciousnessess.†They are products of individual consciousnesses, and as a result they can't tell the story of how consciousness itself arises. Nobody remembers the great dreamtime before they discovered language.

David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

--- On Sat, 8/9/08, bella kotik <> wrote:
From: bella kotik <>
Subject: Re: [xmca] Russian for "Lines of Development" and "Janet's Law"
To:, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
Date: Saturday, August 9, 2008, 3:37 AM

If to relate only to the terms: in this case the translation is exact:
"lines of development" is an exact translation of "linii
razvitija" use by
LSV, and adopting Luria's Systemic-dynamic approach it is resonable to use
the term "lines of development" in different contexts as in
examples. The term "genetic" in Russian can be used in two different
contexts: as a synonym of "developmental" (genesis=development)
biological connotation (i.e. genesis of this phenomenon) , and in the
biological context. It seems that when LSV used it the genetics as science
and correspondingly the term was still in the early stages of ...genesis.

On 8/9/08, Andy Blunden <> wrote:
> 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
> 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.
> Andy
> 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
>> 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
>> 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
>> 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
>> _______________________________________________
>> xmca mailing list
> --
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Andy Blunden
xmca mailing list
Received on Sat Aug 9 07:20 PDT 2008

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