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[Xmca-l] Re: Oliver Sacks/Romantic Science

Yes, that helps, Peg. I think it is what is often called a "heuristic" - your equivalent of Engestrom's Expanding Triangle.
*Andy Blunden*
On 4/09/2015 7:11 AM, Peg Griffin wrote:
Andy, about what kind of tool:  For me, at this time, it is a tool for thinking about romantic science, Sacks, and Luria.

It's a tad like the problem of figure/ground illusion/perception -- except it's four panes instead of two.

I want a tool to see if I can avoid confusing or conflating specific and concrete as well as confusing or conflating general and abstract.
AND I want the tool to let me see together the dimension of concrete/abstract and the dimension of specific/general.

In the past I have used it to help me think about genetic primary examples.
I am also now about to try seeing what I need  (maybe different dimensions altogether, maybe more than four panes) to think about genetic chimerism and social situations with multiple activities which are coexisting...

In a sense, yes, my use of the tool is always diagnostic -- showing me what I stumble on in thinking -- and might bring a little progress (treatment).

Just like in the figure/ground illusions you can twiddle around a bit and make things obvious that you couldn't "see".
I'm attaching here some different ways you can twiddle around with the Johari window.
Does that help?
-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces+peg.griffin=att.net@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces+peg.griffin=att.net@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
Sent: Wednesday, September 02, 2015 11:09 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Oliver Sacks/Romantic Science

So this is a diagnostic tool, Peg?
Could you spell this out a little more for someone who still doesn't grasp what you are talking about? :) andy intrigued.
*Andy Blunden*
On 3/09/2015 12:52 AM, Peg Griffin wrote:
What I did not make clear is that the JoHari window is not really the same as a matrix.  It is a different kind of tool than I think David and Peter are thinking about.
Here's the trick: You change the pane sizes to emphasize the one of the four panes you are currently acting on -- but all four panes are always there.
So you can make the "concrete specific" pane HUGE by moving the top bottom inner divider far to the right and moving the left right inner divider far to the bottom.   Or you can move only one of the  dividers.  And you can move the dividers without such extremes.

Even if a diagnosis/treatment only does the first move I described, there's little abstract involved.  I don't mind that so much if the actors are involved in an emergency triage activity, but without the abstract you are going on observables very influenced by perceptual and cultural access of the actors and you might not even have the most useful template from the general to guide/evaluate your trials and errors.  So you'd better shift the panes pretty soon before things get way off base.

You can also fool around with the arrangement of the terms that name the panes:  Do you get more out of concrete vs. specific or more out of specific vs. concrete (in David's terms the anchors for the cline).  Same for abstract vs. concrete or concrete vs. abstract.

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces+peg.griffin=att.net@mailman.ucsd.edu
[mailto:xmca-l-bounces+peg.griffin=att.net@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf
Of Peg Griffin
Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2015 2:55 PM
To: 'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity'
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Oliver Sacks/Romantic Science

As far as I understand those terms (nomothetic and idiographic), the combined motor method does unite them and so arrives at dual stimulation, given the non-accidental mosaic.
But I don't know that my understanding goes far enough or too far!

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces+peg.griffin=att.net@mailman.ucsd.edu
[mailto:xmca-l-bounces+peg.griffin=att.net@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf
Of mike cole
Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2015 2:08 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Oliver Sacks/Romantic Science

Is that simultaneously uniting the nomothetic and idiographic, Peg? That is the way Luria talked about it.

On Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 10:52 AM, Peg Griffin <Peg.Griffin@att.net> wrote:
Just in a short-hand:

Concrete Specific:  Zasetsky (The man with the shattered world)

Concrete General: People with traumatic brain injury during WWII

Abstract General: Brain is a mosaic of specific domains with actions
that interact in dual stimulations (not pure will)

Abstract Specific:  A man acts to recall using images; it fails on a
certain target.  The man starts appears to abandon the recall by
acting an intimately related system – e.g., reciting the alphabet.
But the recital is “interrupted” when it bumps into the original
recall target and the recall is successful.

For diagnosis and/or treatment, we must rise to the concrete specific.

Sorry I don’t have time to develop this further but I am sure many on
this list do, and I know that Luria and Sacks did so in wondrous and
glorious instances.


From: Andy Blunden [mailto:ablunden@mira.net]
Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2015 11:21 AM
To: Peg Griffin; 'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity'
Subject: Re: [Xmca-l] Re: Oliver Sacks/Romantic Science

Could you give an example, Peg?


*Andy Blunden*

On 2/09/2015 1:14 AM, Peg Griffin wrote:

What has always helped me – and helps me appreciate Luria and Sachs –
with rising to the concrete is this funny little square I made (based
on the even funnier JoHari window after Joseph Luft and Harrington
Ingham, I heard). I can think better by working to fill in each of the four cells in
the square about an issue of interest.   It helps me think about
genetically primary examples in mathematics curricula, too.
    Concrete       Abstract

A romantic square,

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces+peg.griffin=att.net@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
xmca-l-bounces+peg.griffin=att.net@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Rod
Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2015 4:55 AM
To: ablunden@mira.net; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Oliver Sacks/Romantic Science

Thanks for posting this, Andy.

I found Luria's account fascinating, particularly because of his
reference to 'the beauty of the art of science' and his observation
that 'The eye of science does not probe “a thing,” an event isolated
from other things or events. Its real object is to see and understand
the way a thing or event relates to other things or events'.

We are able to communicate because we are able to agree (more or
less) on ways of organising experience into shareable categories but
our communication ranges across a whole spectrum of ways of using
these categories. Luria refers to classical and romantic branches of
science but he also acknowledges the differences between 'poetic' use
of language and more routine, formulaic forms of communication. The
romantic focus on an 'individual' can only ever be conducted in the
medium of a very un-individual language and no person's life could
possibly be understood without reference to relationships with other
persons which then spread roots and branches out to a forest of connections, causes and consequences.

David wrote of the impossibility of 'rising' to the level of theory
if one were to immerse oneself in the study of an individual case and
Luria cites Marx's description of science as 'ascending to the
concrete'. As Luria goes on to conclude 'People come and go, but the
creative sources of great historical events and the important ideas
and deeds remain' so, in this sense, what matters is the contribution
individuals make to something bigger and more enduring than
themselves but Luria also writes that 'Romantics in science want
neither to split living reality into its elementary components nor to
represent the wealth of life's concrete events in abstract models that lose the properties of the phenomena themselves'.

I think Luria's account of Sherashevsky's mental experience is
particularly interesting because it may reveal something about how
all minds work, albeit that Sherashevsky's 'limen' may have been 'set'
lower than most people's, allowing him to notice the sensory
associations which words bring with them in a way which, for most of
us, may occur only at a pre-conscious level. This provides a
particularly powerful reminder of the inescapable fact that every
person's use of a shared language (whether of words, gestures,
behaviours or any other units of meaning) is just the surface of a
pool of connections and associations which can never be shared with
or known by anyone else. However romantic our focus may be, we can
only go so far in understanding another person's understanding and
much less far in communicating that to other people (knowing someone
is a very different thing from being able to share that knowledge in
a rich and meaningful way). And of course, on the other side of the
spectrum, classical scientists who pretend that their knowledge is
entirely pure and untainted by the personal associations that swirl beneath the limens of their knowing are just inventing stories!

I apologise for rambling but I am particularly interested in what
lies beneath the concrete because of my focus on how very young
children are able to make sense of a world which, for adults, is so
powerfully dominated by abstractions.

All the best,


-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces+rod.parker-rees=plymouth.ac.uk@mailman.ucsd.edu
On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
Sent: 01 September 2015 05:17
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Oliver Sacks/Romantic Science

Try this, in Word this time.
*Andy Blunden*
On 1/09/2015 1:32 PM, mike cole wrote:

​It might be helpful to this discussion if someone would post the
chapter on Romantic Science from Luria's autobiography which MUST be
somewhere public in pdf. It appears that I do not have one.

After reading what the person said, then discussion of the ideas
seems appropriate. Ditto Sacks, who has written a couple of extended
essay's on his view of Romantic Science.

It is true that the Russian psychologists, erudite as they were, were
not sociologists. Nor were they anthropologists. The nature of their
enterprise encompassed those fields and more.

Doing Romantic Science and immersing oneself in the individual case
in no way excludes inclusion of sociology, anthropology, in their work.
Nor does Luria argue so.


On Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 7:29 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com
<mailto:dkellogg60@gmail.com> <mailto:dkellogg60@gmail.com>> wrote:

      I think the problem with this view of romantic science
      is that it
      completely precludes building a psychology on a
      sociology. In that sense
      (and in others), Vygotsky wasn't a romantic scientist
      at all. Vygotsky
      certainly did not believe in "total immersion in the
      individual case"; such
      an immersion is a refusal to rise to the level of
      theory. I'm not sure
      Luria was romantic that way either: "the Man with a
      Shattered Mind" and
      "The Memory of Mnemonist" are really exceptions.
      Remember the main
      criticism of Luria's book "The Nature of Human
      Conflicts" was always that
      it was too quantitative.

      There are, of course, some areas of psychology that
      are well studied as
      case histories. Recently, I've been looking into
      suicidology, and in
      particular the work of Edwin Shneidman, who pioneered
      the linguistic
      analysis of suicide notes (and who appears to have
      been influenced, as
      early as the 1970s, by Kasanin and by Vygotsky's work
      on schizophrinia).
      Now you would think that if ever there was a field
      that would benefit from
      total immersion in the individual case, this is one.
      But Shneidman says
      that suicide notes are mostly full of trite, banal
      phrases, and as a
      consequence very easy to code--and treat quantiatively
      (one of his first
      studies was simply to sort a pile of real and
      imitation suicide notes and
      carefully note the criteria he had when he made
      correct judgements). And of
      course the whole point of Durkheim's work on suicide
      is that the individual
      case can be utterly disregarded, since the great
      variations are
      sociological and the psychological variables all seem
      trivial, transient,
      or mutually cancelling when we look at suicide at a
      large scale (as we must
      these days). Shneidman says he has never read a
      suicide note he would want
      to have written.

      David Kellogg

      On Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 9:21 AM, Andy Blunden
      <ablunden@mira.net  <mailto:ablunden@mira.net> <mailto:
ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

      > As little as I understand it, Larry, Oliver Sacks'
      style of Romantic
      > Science was his complete immersion in the individual
      case before him, and
      > development of a science of complete persons. The
      paradigm of this type of
      > science was Luria. A limit case of "Qualitative
      Science" I suppose. The
      > opposite is the study of just one aspect of each
      case, e.g. facial
      > recognition, and the attempt to formulate a
      "covering law" for just this
      > aspect.
      > Andy
      > *Andy Blunden*
      > http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
       <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/> <
      > On 1/09/2015 8:40 AM, HENRY SHONERD wrote:
      >> Mike,
      >> I recall in an obituary in the NYTimes that
      naysayers were cited in
      >> reviewing Oliver Sacks’ life work. I am wondering
      if some of that push back
      >> was related to his practice of romantic science,
      which, if I understand
      >> from things Andy has written, involves immersion in
      the phenomena of
      >> interest in search of a unit of analysis. Goethe,
      for example, immersed
      >> himself in the phenomena of living things. His
      writing prefigures the cell
      >> as a unit of analysis, but the technology of
      microscopes could not confirm
      >> such a unit until later on. Your contrasting Bruner
      and Sacks makes me
      >> wonder if the subject, not just the object, is at
      issue. Different styles
      >> of research bring different construals. This may be
      the bane of
      >> objectivist, empiricist science but does it really
      make Sacks less of a
      >> researcher and just a lowly clinician?
      >> Henry
      >>> On Aug 30, 2015, at 7:02 PM, mike cole
      <mcole@ucsd.edu  <mailto:mcole@ucsd.edu>
      >>> Hi Laura-- I knew Oliver primarily through our
      connections with Luria and
      >>> the fact that we
      >>> independently came to embrace the idea of a
      romantic science. He was a
      >>> shy
      >>> and diffident person. You can get that feeling,
      and the difference
      >>> between
      >>> him and Jerry Bruner in this regard in the
      interview with them that
      >>> someone
      >>> pirated on
      >>> to youtube.
      >>> Jerry is very old but last heard from by me,
      engaging intellectually all
      >>> the while.
      >>> mike
      >>> On Sun, Aug 30, 2015 at 5:18 PM, Laura Martin
      <martinl@azscience.org  <mailto:martinl@azscience.org> <mailto:
      >>> wrote:
      >>> Thanks, Mike. A number of years ago I had the
      privilege of spending an
      >>>> evening with Sacks when Lena Luria was visiting
      Jerry Bruner and Carol
      >>>> Feldman in NY.  I stood in for Sylvia who
      couldn't make the dinner - it
      >>>> was
      >>>> an extraordinary evening in many ways. Do you
      ever hear from Bruner? I
      >>>> wonder if he's still active.
      >>>> Laura
      >>>> Sent from my iPad
      >>>> On Aug 30, 2015, at 3:29 PM, mike cole
      <mcole@ucsd.edu  <mailto:mcole@ucsd.edu>
      >>>> Dear Colleagues ---
      >>>> I am forwarding, with personal sadness, the news
      that Oliver Sacks has
      >>>> succumbed to cancer.
      >>>> Its not a surprise, but a sad passing indeed.
      >>>> mike
      >>>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
      >>>> Date: Sun, Aug 30, 2015 at 3:07 PM
      >>>> Subject: NYTimes.com: Oliver Sacks Dies at 82;
      Neurologist and Author
      >>>> Explored the Brain’s Quirks
      >>>> To: lchcmike@gmail.com  <mailto:lchcmike@gmail.com> <mailto:
      >>>>   Sent by sashacole510@gmail.com
       <mailto:sashacole510@gmail.com> <mailto:sashacole510@gmail.com>:
Oliver Sacks Dies at
      82; Neurologist
      >>>> and Author Explored the Brain’s Quirks
      >>>> <

a <
      >>>> By
      >>>> Dr. Sacks explored some of the brain’s strangest
      pathways in
      >>>> best-selling
      >>>> case histories like “The Man Who Mistook His Wife
      for a Hat,” achieving
      >>>> a
      >>>> level of renown rare among scientists.
      >>>> Or, copy and paste this URL into your browser:
      >>>> <

a <
      >>>> To
      >>>> get unlimited access to all New York Times
      articles, subscribe today.
      >>>> See
      >>>> Subscription Options.
      >>>> <

      >>>> To
      >>>> ensure delivery to your inbox, please add
      nytdirect@nytimes.com  <mailto:nytdirect@nytimes.com> <mailto:
      to your
      >>>> address book. Advertisement
      >>>> <
      http://www.nytimes.com/adx/bin/adx_click.html?type=goto <
      >>>> >
      >>>> Copyright 2015
      >>>> <

P IxganfKahJGpDcKtdpfztygRnz23j1z6nDpx4eAAqQbYRMMl5L56EeQ==
      >>>> >
      >>>> | The New York Times Company
      >>>> <

h <
      >>>> >
      >>>> | NYTimes.com 620 Eighth Avenue New York, NY 10018
      >>>> --
      >>>> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a
      natural science with an
      >>>> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch
      >>> --
      >>> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a
      natural science with an
      >>> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch


It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
object that creates history. Ernst Boesch

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