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[Xmca-l] Re: Crises and stages/ages

So new social positions are an inadequate index of development due to the
prevalence of 'pathological development'.

I agree that 'it is always situational'.  The complexity in this is that
reflexivity is part of that situation.  E.g. in which particular
situational episode does a child 'gain' 'object permanence'?  And in which
particular situation does a child discover that a game can be made out of
fixed rules, rather than arbitrarily imagined ones that are subject to


On 20 March 2015 at 02:46, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Ha, ha! Huw, I had never heard of "the Peer Principle" before, but now
> I've read up on it, it very accurately describes what I have witnessed in a
> life time in universities! :)
> But the promotion of people to "their level of incompetence" (something
> Australia as a nation is going through at the moment!) is a *pathology* of
> development. The converse pathology is a child who is continued to be
> treated as a child long after they have outgrown childhood, or staff who
> massively over-perform their role, but due to extraneous reasons, never get
> promoted or leave in search of a better position.
> While the idea of development vs learning does connote ideas of
> qualitative and quantitative change, I do not believe these abstractions
> provide a rational understanding of human development.
> The main thing is that it is always situational.
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> Huw Lloyd wrote:
>> That 'change in social situation' interpretation does crop up quite
>> frequently.  But for me it is inadequate and misleading.  Particularly
>> with
>> phenomena described by the Peter principle.
>> For me, development as a distinction from the broader notion of learning
>> is
>> simply the accommodation of genuine generalisations affording greater
>> reflexivity.  This will, by virtue of the qualitative change, result in a
>> different social situation.
>> Rote and mere factual learning can theoretically actually lead to less
>> capacity for adaptation, so Simon may have a particular idea in mind.
>> Incidentally, I tend to pair that text of Simon's with Vicker's 'Art of
>> Judgement'.  Some good, more indirect, thinking there too.
>> Huw
>> On 20 March 2015 at 01:47, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>>> The distinction I use, Mike, is that in development, not only does a
>>> person's activity change, but also that of those in their social
>>> surroundings so that the person occupies a new social position or role.
>>> Learning is change, without change in your social position. In "Problem
>>> of
>>> Age" Vygotsky formulates this in terms of change from being an "infant"
>>> to
>>> "early childhood" or from "early childhood" to being a "pre-school
>>> child,"
>>> etc. Development is a social relation, involving both characteristics of
>>> the person and of their environment.
>>> Andy
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> *Andy Blunden*
>>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>> mike cole wrote:
>>>> After sending the note below I encountered the following definition of
>>>> learning in Simon's
>>>> *Sciences of the artificial* which I am reading with respect to other
>>>> (related) matters.
>>>> *Learning is any change in a system that produces a more or less
>>>> permanent
>>>> change in its capacity for adapting to the environment.*
>>>> The word, development, does not appear in this book.
>>>> Seems relevant to many long standing discussions of learning and
>>>> development in this discourse space.
>>>> mike
>>>> On Thu, Mar 19, 2015 at 5:14 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
>>>>> David ---
>>>>> Picking on just one thread from your multiplex comments in the context
>>>>> of
>>>>> the discussion on printing presses and digital computer
>>>>> ​technologies, i would like to thank you for juxtaposing these​ two
>>>>> paragraphs, one from LSV on crises in development, the other
>>>>> from Leontiev. I have made a separate header because I am not agile or
>>>>> learned enough to keep track of both at the same time,
>>>>> the ontogenetic level of analysis is plenty enough for me to try to
>>>>> think
>>>>> systematically about in a single message..
>>>>> \Vygotsky, (could you give pages in current English version so we enter
>>>>> the relevant portion of the text?):
>>>>> These ages (i.e. stable ages--DK) and this type of child development
>>>>> have
>>>>> been studied more completely than ages characterized by a different
>>>>> course
>>>>> of child development (i.e.the crisis--DK). These latter were discovered
>>>>> by
>>>>> empirical paths, one by one, in a haphazard manner, and many have still
>>>>> not
>>>>> been shown by the majority of investigators in systems and are not
>>>>> included
>>>>> in the general periodization of child development. Many authors have
>>>>> even
>>>>> doubted the evidence of the inner necessity of their existence. Many
>>>>> are
>>>>> inclined to take them more as “maladies” of development, as deviations
>>>>> of
>>>>> the process fromthe normal path, than as internally necessary periods
>>>>> of
>>>>> child development. Almost none of the bourgeois investigators have
>>>>> realized
>>>>> their theoretical signfiicance, and the attempt in our book at their
>>>>> systematization, at their theoretical interpretation, and at their
>>>>> inclusion in the general scheme of child development for this reason
>>>>> should
>>>>> be seen as perhaps the first attempt of this kind."
>>>>> Compare:
>>>>>   “These crises—the three year old crisis, the seven year old crisis,
>>>>> the
>>>>> adolescent crisis, the youth crisis—are always associated with a change
>>>>> of
>>>>> stage. They indicate in clear, obvious form that these changes, these
>>>>> transitions from one stage to another have an inner necessity of their
>>>>> own. The existence of development of crises has long been known and
>>>>> their
>>>>> ‘classic’ interpretation is that they are caused by the child’s
>>>>> maturing
>>>>> inner characteristics and the contradictions that arise on that soil
>>>>> between it andthe environment. From the standpoint of that
>>>>> interpretation
>>>>> the crises are, of course, inevitable, because these contradictions are
>>>>> inevitable in any conditions. There is nothing more false, however, in
>>>>> the
>>>>> theory of the development of the child’s psyche than this idea. In
>>>>> fact,
>>>>> crises are not at all inevitable accomplishments of psychic
>>>>> development.
>>>>> It
>>>>> is not the crises which are inevitable, but the turning points or
>>>>> breaks,
>>>>> the qualitative shifts in development. The crisis, on the contrary, is
>>>>> evidence that a turning point or shift has not been made in time. There
>>>>> need by no crises at all if the child’s psychic development does not
>>>>> take
>>>>> shape spontaneously but in a rationally controlled process, controlled
>>>>> upbringing.”  (pp. 398-399)
>>>>> Leontiev, A.N. (1981). Problems of the Development of the Mind.
>>>>> Progress:
>>>>> Moscow
>>>>> ​I take the red​ text to be the crux of the argument, and the kind of
>>>>> difference we see in the two men's articles
>>>>> about the "problem of the environment."
>>>>> In American developmental psychology the issue of continuities and
>>>>> discontinuities in ontogenetic development
>>>>> continues today the discussion taking place in the 1920's and 1930's.
>>>>> But
>>>>> I have never seen anyone argue that (say) the syndrome
>>>>> of behaviors identified as "the terrible twos" occurs because a turning
>>>>> point has not happened in time, nor that ontogeny is rendered
>>>>> continuous
>>>>> by
>>>>> rational control of parents/society. That, it seems, is the red thread
>>>>> of
>>>>> Stalinism that is so offputting in ANL.
>>>>> I do not love LSV's characterization of non-Soviet psychologists
>>>>> treating
>>>>> such periods "as deviations of the process from the normal path." I am
>>>>> not sure who he is referring to, and perhaps he is right and I just
>>>>> need
>>>>> to
>>>>> dig deeper into the history of European and American developmental
>>>>> psychology. Piaget and Erikson,  two Europeans whose work was
>>>>> influential
>>>>> from the 1950/60's don't, at least on the surface, fit this discussion.
>>>>> Maybe they do below the surface, or there are other, allied issue to
>>>>> raised.
>>>>> Several years ago we (you and I and Andy and others) sought to
>>>>> characterize LSV's developmental theory but could not reach agreement.
>>>>> Perhaps it is worth another try.
>>>>> mike
>>>>> --
>>>>> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
>>>>> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.