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[Xmca-l] Re: Writing date of Leontiev - The Present TasksofSovietPsychology ?

Thanks for this reflection that as you say is riveting reading. Certainly gives a visceral sense to the meaning of con/text. I want to juxtapose pose your reading as a way of [seeing through] to the historicity of Soviet Psychology with a riveting *figure* from Roth’s article [A Dialectcal Materialist Reading of the Sign] on page 148. I will attach the article so that this figure can be referenced. 

The figure engages three alternative sign complexes that express the hierarchical relation of travelling through an arc from the most concrete to the least concrete. In other words from the most real [lived-in] world towards the ideal world and ideas. 

Notice the top figure [looks like a castle turret] in which ‘matter’ moves to ‘form’ THEN THE GAP, and then matter-form-gap, matter-form-gap.  The gap is critical, being the [interval] 

Now move down to the five frames [photograph,  drawing, diagram, graph, equations] and may particular attention to the GAP separating each of the five frames. 

Now move down to the third sign complex [written words] and notice this third form [sign complex] is ‘translating]’ the other two sign complexes presented. Notice in particular the last phrase [from which they are separated by AN ONTOLOGICAL GAP. 

In all three *different* sign complexes the ONTOLOGICAL GAP exists as being at the ‘heart’ of translation. 

I found this figure#3 [on page 148] riveting. Put into relation with the quotation you presented from the book [Soviet Psychology] we may have a way of deepening our horizon of understanding of the relation of materialism & idealism??

Who knows?

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

From: Helena Worthen
Sent: April 16, 2017 10:32 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Writing date of Leontiev - The Present TasksofSovietPsychology ?

HI — I followed the link provided by Mike:

>> http://lchc.ucsd.edu/mca/Mail/xmcamail.2011_12.dir/msg00047.html

which got me started reading the chapter by Hiebsch, where I found what I copy below. Isn’t the discussion about mediation a revival of this fundamental issue? Idealism means dualism; the existence of something non-material which we would call “mind” or “consciousness”.  “Materialism” eliminates that non-material thing, whatever it is, and turns to culture, words, language, history and other aspects of social interaction to explain how human beings differ from animals. 

I don’t see how mediation exposes CHAT to the charge of dualism, though/ I would say mediation is necessary to avoid the charge of dualism. What you pick to do the mediation then is the question.

It’s a pretty riviting chapter.  Here’s a quote from pages 12-13:

"The history of psychology, like that, 
of other sciences, is the history of the conflict between 
materialism and idealism. All progressive thinkers were 
adherents of the materialist theory, while idealism al- 
ways provided a foundation of reactionary views. It not 
only hampered the progress of sciences, but was an 
obstacle to their very formation. We define idealism as 
all philosophical theories according to which the psychic 
factor is something autonomous and independent of mat- 
ter; i.e., it is not a special property of matter, nor is it 
a product of the brain. We define materialism, on the 
contrary, as all the theories which start from the assump- 
tion that the psychic factor has no independent existence, 
but is only a property of matter and is formed in the 
long process of its development.”

This is particularly interesting to me becuase of working with researchers in Viet Nam — where the education system post-1975 was heavily influenced by the USSR. the few social scientists i have met recognize the name Vygotsky but i’ll bet that their view of his work is all the post-1936 version, which would explain a lot about what I am running into.


Helena Worthen
Berkeley, CA 94707
Blog about US and Viet Nam: helenaworthen.wordpress.com

> On Apr 15, 2017, at 7:25 AM, <lpscholar2@gmail.com> <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
> Michael, I am aware this thread is focused on Leontiv and tasks of soviet society.
> Your prompts may need their own particular thread (the idea OF the plural singular)??
> If it is agreeable to include your and Alfredo’s insights into the orbit/trajectory of this thread (enlarging it's scope) I hesitantly move to note 3 (page 168) of your 2006 article.
> Your premise that ‘sign complexes’ & ‘commodities’ share a family resemblance because of (a third). That third is the nature ‘of’ exchange value that lies ‘under’ both ‘sign complexes’ & ‘commodities’. This (third) implying ‘commensurability’ at the HEART OF (Dad Kapital).
> This trajectory (possibly subsumed under the theme: Plural-singular) is moved forward in your note 3. 
> You express in this note that Karl Marx opens (Dad Kapital) with ‘commodity’ but does not define this term PRIOR to beginning his analysis but allows the ‘nature of’ commodity to emerge in the course of his analysis AS SOMETHING that has ‘use value’ & ‘exchange value’.
> This being the ‘nature of’ the ‘third’.
> This trajectory is in the (spirit of) Wittgenstein, according to which a word does not have meaning
> That the meaning lies in its use (exchange value).
> This indicating a family resemblance between Marx (in the German Ideology) & Wittgenstein’s (Philosophische Untersungen).
> I acknowledge all this is new and challenging to understand. My intent is to try to move along WITHIN the orbit of this trajectory squiring a ‘feeling’ of the mood. 
> Is it time or appropriate to open a new thread titled (Plural-Singular Realization)? The theme exploring the ‘nature of’ thirds that include the nature of ‘other’ terms as faces, factors, facets, aspects, of the UNIT as ‘third’
> Possibly turning to Jean-Luc Nancy?.
> An open question
> Sent from my Windows 10 phone
> From: Wolff-Michael Roth
> Sent: April 14, 2017 5:18 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Writing date of Leontiev - The Present Tasks ofSovietPsychology ?
> Larry,
> the idea can also be expressed in the Spinozist manner: singular plural or
> plural singular. The philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy---someone who doesn't
> require mediation, and who writes about mediation that mediates nothing,
> has articulated this idea of the plural singular. Some Spinozist Marxian
> scholars, too, are taking this route.
> Michael
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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
> <https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/bookseries/new-directions-in-mathematics-and-science-education/the-mathematics-of-mathematics/>*
> On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 2:56 PM, <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Mike indicates grounding our analyses in everyday activities as a focus.
>> Alfredo highlights the many current manifestations of Marxian psychology
>> in our current explorations.
>> This may be an appropriate moment to consider  Wolff Michael Roth’s 2006
>> article (A Dialectical Material Reading of the sign) posted here on April 9
>> 2017.
>> Page 141 to 144   opens the article with an empirical example of everyday
>> activities and identifies the way signs are exchanged at 3 different levels.
>> 1st) sign complexes are ‘traded’ between research assistant and participant
>> 2nd) the person actually ‘translates’ one sign complex into another sign
>> complex. (graph into text)
>> Another kind of ‘translation’ occurs while the scientist follows a curve
>> on the graph with his pencil, thereby ‘reproducing’ the curve iconically
>> 3rd) Roth’s article does NOT feature the original sign complex, but in a
>> manner that (reflects) its content, uses other material sign complexes to
>> point back to the original sign complexes EXCHANGED during the encounter
>> between the research assistant and participants in the empirical example.
>> With this grounding ‘in’ and ‘of’ exchange levels, Roth moves to Marxian
>> notions of exchange and exchange value through exploring
>> ‘commensurability’. On page 143 Roth claims:
>> ‘Commensurability, that is sameness in the face of difference, is at the
>> HEART of Karl Marx’s (1976) Capital, and in particular the dialectic of
>> commodities.’
>> Then Roth moves to this (as if relation) between sign complexes and
>> commodities. In Roth’s words:
>> ‘It therefore appears as if there is some similarity between signs and
>> commodities UNDER the light of their role and function in EXCHANGE
>> processes’
>> I find Roth’s exploration of ‘commensurability’ at the ‘heart’ of Marx’s
>> writing (sign complexes) under the light of exchange relations a
>> fascinating way of understanding (sameness in the face of difference).
>> A theme of symmetry in the face of asymmetry.
>> My turn is up but I find Wolff Michael and Alfredo’s collaboration
>> generative.
>> Sent from my Windows 10 phone
>> From: Alfredo Jornet Gil
>> Sent: April 14, 2017 11:19 AM
>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Writing date of Leontiev - The Present Tasks of
>> SovietPsychology ?
>> Wow, great historical and bibliographical references, thanks.
>> I just found this 2017 book, where Andy B. has a chapter, and which is one
>> example (or rather several, as it is an edited volume) of what in the
>> present day is taken to be a Marxist psychology.
>> Ratner, C., & Silva, D.N.H. (Eds.) (2017). Vygotsky and Marx: Toward a
>> Marxist Psychology. Routledge.
>> https://books.google.ca/books?hl=no&lr=&id=ZOyfDgAAQBAJ&oi=
>> fnd&pg=PT126&ots=YeTJ4fOp-h&sig=papwRk5IKK3cJIKophwMNOQOMhM&
>> redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
>> ________________________________________
>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>> on behalf of mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu>
>> Sent: 14 April 2017 18:06
>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Writing date of Leontiev - The Present Tasks of
>> Soviet Psychology ?
>> The experience of reading those articles helped to deepen our understanding
>> of the Vygotsky-Leontiev falling out, Clay. For those, like myself, for
>> whom the grounding of our analyses in everyday activities is a central
>> concern, Leontiev gave a way to motivate deeper theorizing of the "context"
>> of mediated action.
>> Along with Yrjo Engestrom, Arne Raiethel, Alfred Lang, and others we came
>> up with the "chat" name for attempts to supersede the differences between
>> them. Pushed toward extremes signocentricism and authoritarian behaviorism,
>> we opted for both/and.
>> We have been chatting here ever since. And as you can see, recycling and
>> re-thinking prior understandings as we go.
>> mike
>> On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 7:19 AM, Clay Spinuzzi <clay.spinuzzi@utexas.edu>
>> wrote:
>>> Thanks, David, Mike, and Haydi, for your efforts and for the link to the
>>> older xmca thread! I appreciate the context as well as the link to the
>> PDF.
>>> CS
>>> Message: 18
>>>> Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2017 08:09:57 +1000
>>>> From: David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
>>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Writing date of Leontiev - The Present Tasks of
>>>>        Soviet Psychology ?
>>>> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>>> Message-ID:
>>>>        <CACwG6Dt=D9PusFzK8KZNq0uwd8yiXWaNUg_S3BtiOf8Fo7jNvw@mail.
>>>> gmail.com>
>>>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
>>>> Clay:
>>>> We discussed this text on xmca back in 2011, e.g.
>>>> http://lchc.ucsd.edu/mca/Mail/xmcamail.2011_12.dir/msg00047.html
>>>> Here's what Mike said at the time:
>>>> "From the book itself, it is difficult to date the articles or to link
>>> them
>>>> to a particular occasion. The book was published in 1961 and came from
>>>> East Germany. From the introductory material by Hans Hiebsch, an East
>>>> German
>>>>> psychologist, it appears to have followed the "Victory of Lysenko in
>>>> August 1948." It appeared in "Soviet Pedagogy" in Number 1, 1949. I do
>>> not
>>>> have a copy.
>>>> I think I have a copy of it back in my library in Korea, in a pamphlet
>>> put
>>>> out by psychiatrists sympathetic to the Communist Party--sometime in
>> the
>>>> mid-fifties, at the height of the McCarthy witch-hunt. But I'm in
>>> Australia
>>>> right now!
>>>> David Kellogg
>>>> Macquarie University
>>> --
>>> Dr. Clay Spinuzzi
>>> Associate Chair, Department of Rhetoric and Writing
>>> University of Texas at Austin
>>> 208 W. 21st St., Stop B5500
>>> Austin, TX  78712-1038

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