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[Xmca-l] Re: ZPD and DST!

Hi David, you will disagree even more with this one:

Roth, W.-M., & Jornet, A. (in press). Theorizing with/out "mediators."
Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science.

But people like Feliks Mikhailov, and also Ekaterina Zavershneva indicate
that toward the end of his life, Vygotsy was moving away from mediation. We
give an extended argument for theorizing without mediators in the article.

But I hope you understand that I am not out to interpret and find out what
Vygotsky really said even if he did not say it. I think you are well
positioned to do THAT kind of research. I want to move on. And, frankly, I
have no clue what people are saying when they write that something is
mediated. It seems to me that they are hiding or refraining from going
after what I am interested in. I am not interested in knowing that a tool
mediates something. I am interested in what the tool actually does, what
are the events in which tools participate, shape people and get shaped by

In the end, all this is about finding suitable discourses, and
descriptions, for doing the kinds of things we want to do.


Wolff-Michael Roth, Lansdowne Professor
Applied Cognitive Science
MacLaurin Building A567
University of Victoria
Victoria, BC, V8P 5C2
http://web.uvic.ca/~mroth <http://education2.uvic.ca/faculty/mroth/>

New book: *The Mathematics of Mathematics

On Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 2:22 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

> I think the Roth article I would recommend isn't the editorial, but rather
> this one:
> Roth, W-M. 2007. On Mediation: Towards a Cultural Historical Understanding.
> Theory and Psychology 17 (5): 655-680.
> There's a lot I disagree with in this paper (e.g. I disagree with the idea
> that if mediation "explains" everything then it explains nothing--it is
> like saying that if perception applies to all visible phenomena then it
> applies to none of them). But here's why I prefer it to Saeed's paper:
> a) Roth gets to concrete examples from direct experience almost immediately
> (fish feeding, on p. 656). This gives me something to go back to when I get
> lost in abstraction, and I need it.
> b) Instead of using Theory A to illuminate Theory B, Roth goes back into
> the historical origins of Theory A and discovers, immanently, Theory B, C,
> etc.. This has two advantages: it avoids chalk-and-cheese eclecticism, and
> it helps me understand how Theory A was formed in the first place. With
> Saeed's paper, I find myself missing: 1) an account of the CRITICAL
> DISTINCTIONS between the two theories, 2) an explanation of how each MAKES
> UP for what the other lacks, and 3) some argument for long term
> COMPATABILITY, some explication of why the emulsion will not re-separate,
> like vinegar and oil.
> c) For Vygotsky--no, for mediation more generally--the key problem is
> volition, free will, choice. Vygotsky once said that the most interesting
> problem in the whole of psychology, bar none, is what a human being would
> really do in the situation of Buridan's donkey (that is a situation of
> volition, of free will, of choice where the outcomes were either apparently
> equal or equally unknown). This isn't true of DST, which has, as Saeed
> admits, an "emergentist" account of volition (to put it uncharitably,
> handwaving and magic). At the very least, choice is late emerging in a DST
> account, and that makes, for example, the child's early and
> successful acquisition of speech very hard to explain.
> That said, Saeed--I DID appreciate the part on p. 86 where you remind us
> that learning and development are distinct but linked. As Wolff-Michael
> says, the point has been made before, but I think that we've got to keep
> saying this, until people really see that mixing up "microgenesis" and
> ontogenesis is, in our own time, the same kind of error that mixing up
> ontogenesis and phylogenesis was in Vygotsky's. If I read one more article
> which invokes the ZPD for some trivial incident of learning, I'm getting a
> tattoo that says: "Look here, mate, just because it didn't kill ya doesn't
> mean it made ya any stronger".
> David Kellogg
> Macquarie University