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[Xmca-l] Re: LSV&Spinoza

Greetings all,

I hope I'm not doing anything unhelpful by posting the Derry draft mike posted as a PDF to the list. I have labeled it as a draft to distinguish the difference from the published version that Andy posted. It is nice to see both versions, BTW.

(Besides taking the .doc Mike posted and producing it as PDF, I added "Unpublished draft" to the abstract and the first page, as well as added a by line. Hope this is OK and I haven't transgressed any etiquette. If so the blame is with me and my free will and intellect which I hope I am deploying in my search for freedom! :)

I am encouraged that there is an interest in Spinoza as of late! As well as consideration of what draughts Vygotsky drew from Spinoza's Philosophy. 

Hot dog! (Which is a barking animal!)

I would like to propose that Spinoza's notion of "adequate" and "inadequate" thoughts do not have to do with genesis, but that is an interesting twist. I'd like to make the claim that it is his way of depicting the human experience of ignorance, which is an absence of knowledge (what is true vs not true). 

If you can follow the line of thought here, to say a thought is adequate is to say that it is a "good enough" thought, to say it is "inadequate" is to say that it misses the mark. But what is the mark? That which is true. Because our minds are limited in nature (they can never be omnipresent nor omniscient) our thoughts can only be adequate or inadequate, not accurate or inaccurate. It is my sense that Spinoza reflected on the consequences of thoughts (in the wake of Descartes) and he recognized that when we have inadequate thoughts then we will be led astray (by our ignorance), because such thoughts do not correspond with the world as it is. 

For Spinoza, to have adequate thoughts has the result of healing the mind (which is more what Spinoza meant, than "correcting" it). When the mind has a developed intellect then it is able to reflect what is true, and this is what Spinoza means by development of the intellect, and why this would bring one closer to God, because it generates the intellectual love of God. This is not a belief, but a direct consequence of understanding, and understanding for oneself and no one else but oneself.

Also, any appropriation to pick and chose parts of Spinoza's philosophy seems inadequate to me. :)

Particularly because of the importance Spinoza stressed about unity, which appears to be in response to Descartes' duality. In Vygotsky I have seen no discussion of Spinoza's understanding of substance, which is cause sui. I don't think that Spinoza meant that humans are causa sui in the sense Vygotsky appears to have appropriated it. I would have to do some thinking about that. But I can see how easy it is to have that confusion, particularly if one rejects a God.

Of course, I do not mean to distress those on the list who do not accept a God, nor to I wish to press an argument to start debates in that realm, but perhaps I would prefer to say that it is easy to misunderstand Spinoza, which is based on what we bring to Spinoza when we read him. What isn't clear to me is whether Vygotsky misunderstood him, or intentionally appropriated what he could, given his political circumstances. If anyone has a comment on that I'd be curious to hear it.

Furthermore, I would like to propose that the notion of activity, as Spinoza describes in his rendering of active and passive actions, has a lot of similarities to Vedic notions of karma, in the sense that we (as humans) choose proper action to gain a proper result. If we do actions without conscious choice, this would be parallel to Spinoza's passive activity. Or what might be called "mechanical thinking" or even, "unconscious acts". 

BTW as an aside, for what it is worth, animals cannot do choose their acts, as they operate based solely upon instinct, or perhaps their consciousness is not developed enough to be free of their instincts and so self-awareness is thus limited in scope, compared to human consciousness. I say this because animals do possess intelligence, and we can't deny its existence in them.

Kind regards,


From: xmca-l-bounces+annalisa=unm.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces+annalisa=unm.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu>
Sent: Thursday, June 18, 2015 9:51 AM
To: Andy Blunden; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: LSV&Spinoza

Oh! Whatever it was it was not supposed to be the published version. Thanks

On Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 8:42 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> That's a PDF file, MIke.
> Try opening the attached instead.
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> On 19/06/2015 1:27 AM, mike cole wrote:
>> For those of you, like myself, who are not steeped in Spinoza, this
>> article
>> by Jan Derry from 2006 (Educational Review) might prove a helpful entry
>> point to the vygotsky-spinoza connection. This copy is  a draft version
>> obtained from Jan with thanks.
>> mike


All there is to thinking is seeing something noticeable which makes
you see something you weren't noticing which makes you see something
that isn't even visible. N. McLean, *A River Runs Through it*

Attachment: Derry_The Unity of Intellect and Will-Vygotsky and Spinoza_draft_pre2006.pdf
Description: Derry_The Unity of Intellect and Will-Vygotsky and Spinoza_draft_pre2006.pdf