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[Xmca-l] Re: RES: Re: Child Development: Understanding a Cultural Perpsective

Yes, Vygotsky cites that passage in Tolstoy three times in Thinking and
Speech (and he also cites it elsewhere, e.g. in "Thinking in School Age" in
the Lectures on Pedology). But I don't want to be the fundamentalist on the
list; I think it's more important to grasp the context in which he's citing
this. It's always an emphasis on something Andy himself has often noted:
Marx's remark that human beings set themselves only the tasks that they can
solve (which is, after all, the whole basis for the zone of proximal
development and the functional method of dual stimulation).

It's not just that we don't perceive problems as problems until we perceive
them as potentially soluble; it's also because objectively the solutions to
problems evolve alongside the problems themselves. So that for example, as
Ruqaiya Hasan remarks, the reason why language is able to fulfil so many of
our needs is that many of those needs are created by language use.

I think Vygotsky is saying the same thing about concepts; they only arise
when the problems they solve have arisen in development. They do not arise
simply because we teach the labels that they have, and they don't fail to
arise just because we are not using the right label. In any case the idea
that the word is only ready when the concept is (which I think is what Andy
is objecting to, although it's hard to tell) is certainly implicit in the
way Vygotsky names his own concepts: they only emerge when the content has
become clear and the place in a system of concepts that have also emerged
is established.

Here's what Vygotsky says his report to the section on psychotechnics of
the Communist Academy in November 1930:

"I don't think that the adult never develops, but I think that he develops
obeying other rules, and for this development the lines which characterize
his development are different from those of that of the child, and it is
the qualitative particularity of child development is the direct object of
the pedologist. For me, to speak of a pedology of the adult is not only
false from the point of view of the very name of pedology but above all
from the point of view of isolating in a single unique line the process of
child development and the process of adult transformation. I repeat: the
same laws cannot embrace at one and the same time the internal changes in
child development and the changes of later ages. It is not excluded for
science, and for psychology in particular, to study those changes which are
produced at ripe age or in old age, but I do not associate these two
problematics and I don't think that this object belongs to the category of
phenomena that pedology deals with. "

(I'm taking this from a PhD thesis by Irina Leopoldoff-Martin of the
University of Geneva, No 561, p. 287).

On Sat, May 20, 2017 at 10:03 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> "The word is almost always ready when the concept is" Yes?
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> Andy Blunden
> http://home.mira.net/~andy
> http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making
> On 20/05/2017 9:07 AM, David Kellogg wrote:
>> Alfredo:
>> Just two quick points, and then I shall get back to Vygotsky--we are
>> having
>> our weekly on-line seminar today here and in Seoul, and it's all about the
>> Pedology of the Adolescent and "The Negative Phase of the Transitional
>> Age".
>> First--I don't think pre-life or any of the terms I offered are "adequate
>> labels" for the neoformations. In fact, "neoformation" is not an adequate
>> label either (Vygotsky takes it from geology!) In Vygotsky, the label is
>> just a place holder, it's a kind of mnemonic, a way of remembering
>> something that hasn't actually even been really said yet. "The word is
>> only
>> ready when the concept is," remember?
>> ...

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

"The Great Globe and All Who It Inherit:
Narrative and Dialogue in Story-telling with
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