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[Xmca-l] Re: The Russian Spinozists

Annalisa, Henry,

I am interested in what Jan Derry calls a "stream" or "line" or "tradition"
leading through Spinoza, towards Hegel, then Marx, Vygotsky, McDowell,
Brandom, and Bakhurst.
The tension between "construction" as creative free will in contrast to
"will" as a development of "self-determination" [the concept of development
in this lineage as a "system" within a "space of reasons".

The concept "will" for Leslie Farber is a very general term which can be
used as a synonym for:
"decision, choice, intention, passion, spirit, determination, control, or
volition." Leslie's general use of the term "will" can include all these
synonyms as the category through which we examine that aspect of our life
which is the MOVER OF our life. That aspect UPON WHICH we are moved.
The construction metaphor may be focussed more on the theme of moving "for"
[the "in order to" realm].

The notion of "prime" mover as "construction" Derry says is a misguided
reading "of" [upon which] Vygotsky through the stream "of" representative
thinking as "abstract" reasoning.  Derry's book is an attempt to make
explicit how she "reads" this version of neo-Vygotskian research as a
misconstrual.  Derry is making a case that locating Vygotsky as a
constructive philosopher is mis-representing him as a representational
thinker caught in the construction metaphor. Derry argues that to
understand Vygotsky we must return him to the Spinozian/Hegelian/
Marxist/Bakhurst stream of thought that sees the "prime mover" as
"self-determination which develops through "bildung" within a "space of

Annalisa, Henry, [and others] who are not clear on the EXPLICIT contrasts
OF :

1]"abstract representational systems of thought as construction
2] the Spinoza/Hegel version that focuses a notion of "prime mover" [will]
as developing within a "space of reasons" through a process of

Derry "reads" Wertsch and Lave as working within the construction
representational paradigm
and in her critique she opens a space OF [upon which] conversation which
can facilitate becoming clear and explicit on the contrasting paradigms of
[1] and [2] above.

I hope I have done justice to my "reading" of Derry on this theme.  For
Spinoza "will" develops THROUGH acquiring "self-determination" which in
contemporary language [Brandom, Bakhurst] develops WITHIN a "space of
reasons" which is NOT ABSTRACT reason. It is also NOT construction but
exists within a "system" OF [upon which] reasons that GENERATE inferences.
Self-determination is the result of this development.

What is "developing" within a ZPD?  Is what is developing a generative act
as  creative "free will" or is a  "system" developing  as a space of
reasons which generates self-determination.
Derry's project is to make this question more explicit.



On Mon, Jul 6, 2015 at 10:51 PM, HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com> wrote:

> I’m with Annalisa. I would like to hear from anyone else who has been
> bitten by the Spinoza bug. Spinoza and Vygtosky rhyme with each other.
> Spinoza was an excommunicated Jew, died at 44, of T.B. I’ve heard Spinoza
> challenged Descartes right as the Enlightenment was getting started. Hegel
> is supposed to have said, “You’re either a Spinozist or you aren’t a
> philosopher.” I know this has been discussed lately on the CHAT and
> readings on Spinoza have been proffered. It’s late. zzzzzzzz.
> Henry
> > On Jul 6, 2015, at 10:25 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:
> >
> > Hello esteemed others!
> >
> >
> > I just got my hands on this Maidansky paper (2003) On the Russian
> Spinozists, and I'm very intrigued by this paper.
> >
> >
> > (mike) I actually used the google search box on the lchc homepage to see
> if anyone had already commented upon it, and I see that the fine screen of
> CHATers did catch this moth to the flame.
> >
> >
> > Unfortunately, a link that had been posted to more English translations
> has gone 404, so I was also wondering about other work by Maidansky that
> anyone might recommend.
> >
> >
> > Yes. I confess I'm on a Spinoza kick now, what can I say?
> >
> >
> > It seemed a problem to me (and I apologize if I'm lighting a fuse here),
> that he was equating Vygotsky with activity theory. But I presume that that
> is how Vygotsky is known in Russia? As the father of AT? I wasn't sure.
> >
> >
> > Then, I was also curious about the connection of Vygotsky and Spinoza,
> and how Spinoza has been rebranded "Marx without a beard," which seemed
> weird to me. I'd have said Marx was "Spinoza with a beard" (and then some),
> just because of the chronology of history.
> >
> >
> > But OK, not meaning to kickstart a controversy here on the list.
> >
> >
> > I also consider that Spinoza is misunderstood when he is branded an
> atheist, and that his philosophy has been appropriated incorrectly, which
> is too bad.
> >
> >
> > It's a deep philosophical argument I'm considering that requires careful
> unfolding. I haven't done it yet, but I think I shall.
> >
> >
> > Kind regards,
> >
> >
> > Annalisa
> >
> >