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[Xmca-l] Re: RES: Re: Child Development: Understanding a Cultural Perpsective
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- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: RES: Re: Child Development: Understanding a Cultural Perpsective
- From: Alfredo Jornet Gil <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Mon, 22 May 2017 13:54:04 +0000
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- Thread-topic: [Xmca-l] Re: RES: Re: Child Development: Understanding a Cultural Perpsective
David, your point that concepts live in families or societies makes good sense to me. But would not you also say the same of words? Your system makes sense in all the cases you mention in this last post (pre-we, etc), but the one on "pre-life" is harder to digest by the very logic of the system you are presenting to us. On the one hand, it seems to suggest continuity of development with adulthood. On the other hand, if something like "grand-life" was to be the neo-formation related to "pre-life", it seems as if the whole of adulthood was dumped together in one long period (not to mention the unfortunate sense that before life there was something, but not life). Words are only "labels" in very limited cases (like in some of Vygotsky's experiments in which invented words are given as stimuli), and so they also relate to each other as members of families or "groups". But then, using one or the other (like the compound "pre-life" in a sequence of periods) matters for how well a typology system works.
More so than to the problematic use of a label, I wanted to call attention to the term "pre-life" in order to raise the issue that the borderline between childhood and adulthood, and dis/continuities thereof, appears to be an unresolved issue. I see Vygotsky has a point in defending the object of study of the particular field of pedology. But I do also agree with Martin's remarks that Vygotsky also was defending the *qualitative* leap that separates different age periods within child development itself, which nonetheless did not lead him to establish a different discipline for each period.
From: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> on behalf of David Kellogg <email@example.com>
Sent: 21 May 2017 23:52
To: Andy Blunden; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: RES: Re: Child Development: Understanding a Cultural Perpsective
Yes, I gathered that, from your "Yes?". A very interesting demonstration of
how important it is to actually meet people and get use to their
intonation. I still regret not having a pint with Huw in London, because I
sometimes find his comments a little too condensed.
The Russian is not Vygotsky: it's Tolstoy. It's this:
'Слово почти всегда готово, когда готово понятие.'
(Word nearly always ready when ready concept.)
It seems to me that to say that the word is ready when the concept is ready
doesn't imply either word first or concept first. To a linguist, the
relationship is not causal or temporal: we don't say that a concept
"causes" a word, or that a word "causes" a concept, because they are
different orders of matter. We don't say "meaning first" or "word first"
because we have to model language parsimoniously, so that it is neutral to
whether we are taking the point of view of the speaker or the hearer. The
relationship is simply that of realization: that is, the word is the
realization of the meaning, and the meaning is an activation (as Vygotsky
says, "volitilization") of the word.
But I was making a different point having to do with what Alfredo called my
"labelling". My terminology wasn't supposed to be a label on a jar of
concept. Concepts don't live in jars; they live in families and societies,
just like the people who make them. So I was trying to choose names like
"pre-we", "pre-speech", "pre-will" on the one hand and "grandwe",
"grandspeech", and "grandwill" on the other to show how the critical
neoformations were BOTH individuals AND related to other critical
neoformations, and BOTH distinct from and linked to stable neoformations.
These two points were exactly the points that came up in Martin's post.
Actually, we've been here before. If you think of language as a kind of
You can see that the relationship between the three strata is realization.
But the names, or if you like the labels, are chosen accordingly: the
"~ing" is there to show that they are linked because they are all processes
and the roots "mean~", "word~", and "sound~" are there to show that they
are distinct because they are different orders of matter. I guess I was
trying to design my "labels" the same way. It's a good thing I don't work
in a marketing department; I'd get canned.
"The Great Globe and All Who It Inherit:
Narrative and Dialogue in Story-telling with
Vygotsky, Halliday, and Shakespeare"
Free Chapters Downloadable at:
Recent Article: Thinking of feeling: Hasan, Vygotsky, and Some Ruminations
on the Development of Narrative in Korean Children
Free E-print Downloadable at:
On Sun, May 21, 2017 at 11:30 AM, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> My interest, David, was (1) that you had inverted the claim with which I
> am familiar, and (2) I have always been curious as to the basis for the
> confidence Vygotsky has for his claim. Of course the point you make about
> the concept arising as part of the perception of the problem (Marx says
> "Mankind thus inevitably sets itself only such tasks as it is able to
> solve, since closer examination will always show that the problem itself
> arises only when the material conditions for its solution are already
> present *or at least in the course of formation*.") is correct. But my
> point is that Vygotsky is making a point about the place of the *word* in
> concept-formation in this excerpt, not the social/technical context or the
> problem/solution issues.
> Ad (1). "The word is almost always ready when the concept is" (neglecting
> the important "almost always") means word first, then concept. "The word is
> only ready when the concept is," (with the important "only") means concept
> first then word. So you've completely inverted Vygotsky's claim. Ad (2) -
> you may be right David, I know you read the Russian as well, or Master Lev
> may be mixed up. I don't think it's cut and dry like this. But the
> inversion was my point of interest. It would get to long-winded to go into
> the question itself, as I see it.
> Andy Blunden
> On 21/05/2017 7:41 AM, David Kellogg wrote:
>> 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 <email@example.com
>> <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>> wrote:
>> "The word is almost always ready when the concept is" Yes?
>> Andy Blunden
>> http://home.mira.net/~andy <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy>
>> On 20/05/2017 9:07 AM, David Kellogg wrote:
>> 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
>> Vygotsky, Halliday, and Shakespeare"
>> Free Chapters Downloadable at:
>> Recent Article: Thinking of feeling: Hasan, Vygotsky, and Some
>> Ruminations on the Development of Narrative in Korean Children
>> Free E-print Downloadable at: