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[Xmca-l] Re: Ilyenkov, Marx, & Spinoza



Ivan,
I think that is the best explanation of the very poorly named concept
"double (dual) stimulation".
I have never before been able to make sense of that concept but now in two
brief sentences, you've made it crystal clear.
Thank you for that (extra stimulus!).
-greg

On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 11:34 PM, Ivan Uemlianin <ivan@llaisdy.com> wrote:

> Re Buridan's ass: didn't Vygotsky suggest a human would toss a coin? i.e.
> provide themself with an extra stimulus that would differentiate the
> options.
>
> Ivan
>
> --
> festina lente
>
>
> > On 4 Aug 2017, at 01:21, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > I think that Sasha, on p. 37 of "Ilyenkov and the Revolution in
> > Psychology", slips one by us. He quotes Davydov, who says that Ilyenkov
> > provided the logical-philosophical basis for cultural-historical theory
> and
> > for Vygotsky's theory of instruction based on development. He then says
> > that Davydov is wrong on both counts: neither Ilyenkov nor Vygotsky would
> > have considered cultural-historical theory truly scientific, and Ilyenkov
> > hardly ever mentions Vygotsky. Before we can ask what Sasha means by the
> > first, he is off trying to explain why Ilyenkov doesn't mention Vygotsky
> > much. There are lots of reasons not to mention Vygotsky when you are
> doing
> > philosophy. I am more interested in Sasha's notion that Vygotsky would
> not
> > have considered Davydov's version of the theory scientific.
> >
> > Sasha calls Ilyenkov, Vygotsky, and Marx anti-naturalists. He says it is
> > because of their recognition of the social, cultural-historical nature of
> > the human psyche. But in all three cases, that social,
> cultural-historical
> > "nature" really is natural at its base: it depends on a "thinking body"
> in
> > the case of Ilyenkov (something Descartes would not have rejected!), it
> > depends on the domestication of the human body and mind in the case of
> > Vygotsky, and of course it depends on the transformation of use values
> into
> > exchange values in Marx. So I am not at all sure in what sense they are
> > "anti-naturalist". If we take the Spinozan view, to be anti-naturalist is
> > to be anti-substance, anti-thought, anti-extension. I don't think that
> > applies to Marx, Vygotsky, or even Ilyenkov.
> >
> > I'm reading the Pedology of the Adolescent, and I find Vygotsky to be
> much
> > more methodologically eclectic than Sasha suggests with phrases like
> "sole
> > correct scientific method" and "whose theoretical analysis alone" (38).
> In
> > my reading, Vygotsky doesn't think of methods like that: methods are only
> > appropriate or inappropriate to problems of study. When you are studying
> > behaviour, psychology may be the appropriate method, but when you are
> > studying anatomy, try physiology. It is clear that Vygotsky has a
> > preference for his own "functional method of dual stimulation", but that
> is
> > precisely because it is appropriate to the goal of diagnosing the "next",
> > or proximal, zone of development. I think that even the psychotherapist's
> > couch, which as Sasha points out was artificially constructed out of
> > Freud's overwheening self-interest, had a place in Vygotsky's "science
> of a
> > natural whole": the only method he really does reject with disgust is the
> > practice of imagining what it is like to be a child and then pretending
> > that you have real scientific data. In the HDHMF, Vygotsky has a good
> deal
> > to say about Wundt and Titchener, not all of it critical (Chapters 3,4,5,
> > where "Titchener's Piano" is the empirical basis of his experiments with
> > choice). In contrast, Vygotsky has nothing to say about Socrates and
> Plato.
> >
> > I think that, rather like the "aphorisms" Sasha cites on 39, Sasha's
> paper
> > just touches on the problem that has always puzzled me: how Vygotsky
> > reconciles the explanans of Spinoza with his chosen explanandum of choice
> > and free will. It seems to me that they are reconcilable, but only
> through
> > the path that Sasha refuses to take, that is, the path of the semiotic,
> > semantic, systemic structure of the "thinking body". Vygotsky says that
> he
> > wants to know what a real human does in the Buridan situation, tethered
> > like the donkey between two equidistant and apparently equal piles of
> hay.
> >
> > Buridan himself would say that such a situation does not exist: piles of
> > hay are never equidistant and never exactly equal, and the universe is
> > really constructed like a chess game, where in any conceivable situation,
> > there is one and only one perfectly rational move, even if it is quite
> > beyond the power of man, beast, or even supercomputer to ever know what
> it
> > is. That was, I gather, Spinoza's solution as well, except that Spinoza
> > drew the logical conclusion that when you do not know which choice is
> > better, you must necessarily defer until you do. In the meantime, the
> > proliferation of choice, like the proliferation of method, is a positive
> > good, the closest we miserable slaves can get to freedom.
> >
> > 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:
> >
> > https://www.sensepublishers.com/media/2096-the-great-
> globe-and-all-who-it-inherit.pdf
> >
> > Recent Article: Thinking of feeling: Hasan, Vygotsky, and Some
> Ruminations
> > on the Development of Narrative in Korean Children
> >
> > Free E-print Downloadable at:
> >
> > http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/8Vaq4HpJMi55DzsAyFCf/full
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >> On Mon, Jul 31, 2017 at 5:23 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu>
> wrote:
> >>
> >> Hello,
> >>
> >>
> >> I did my best to follow the thread on Ilyenkov, Marx, & Spinoza and I
> >> probably did not read it as closely as I could have, nor did I read the
> >> originating article, that is, the one Mike attached as the knot to this
> >> thread, but I shall.
> >>
> >>
> >> Of course being a big fan of Spinoza I had to eye-wig in and see what
> was
> >> to be seen on this here persistent thread.
> >>
> >>
> >> I would like to make a contribution as a point in contrast, to what is
> >> becoming more prominent in my understanding of the non-dual view of the
> >> apparent world as seen through Vedanta.
> >>
> >>
> >> First, and I'm sure I shall be corrected, please note, I see the Western
> >> viewpoint (as springing from Descartes) as depicted as a linear rational
> >> (and historical) view whereby thought and material are different
> entities.
> >> As I understand, according to Descartes, material comes into being
> through
> >> thought. I think first before I am first. Is this correct?
> >>
> >>
> >> Spinoza, as I understand, saw that there was a historical aspect that
> >> Descartes missed that we actually transform material and it transforms
> our
> >> thought and so on, as they weaves through one another. And so on through
> >> time. But how could this happen that if material and thought were of
> >> different substances?  (Am I getting this right?)
> >>
> >>
> >> But he also saw that we are not separate from nature, and are indeed
> >> helplessly subject to it, we are nature but nature isn't us. Yet this
> >> nature could not be separate from God, and thus with some lens-grinding
> >> Spinoza came to see that not only is nature not separate from God, and
> that
> >> nature is not separate from us, but God is also not separate from us
> >> because we are of the same "substance" in nature, that we are indeed,
> as if
> >> the same "material."
> >>
> >>
> >> But then what of free will? Are we merely reacting like mechanical
> robots,
> >> or chemical reactions? or is there choice?
> >>
> >>
> >>> From my Vedanta studies there are similarities to the monist Sponiza
> >> worldview of nature and God being one substance extending through time,
> >> transforming through laws of physics and so forth. I'm not clear how
> >> Spinoza saw the mind, and it seems that psychology, not having been
> >> named/formed/created historically at that point in time, he had to have
> a
> >> different word for that, which seems to have been "spirit," methinks.
> >>
> >>
> >> So we are at odds at the way translations go not only from one language
> to
> >> another but from one historical moment to another (the way words mind
> >> versus spirit are used). But the actual ontology was perhaps the very
> >> turtle both psychology's notion of mind and Spinoza's notion of spirit
> were
> >> identically referencing.
> >>
> >>
> >> Just thinking out loud here.
> >>
> >>
> >> Now in Vedanta, the cosmology is such that the mind and the body are
> >> indeed one substance, if there is a substance at all. And that the
> >> perceivable world, is just a beginningless dance of names and forms,
> >> whereby one thing becomes another thing, and its name changes, and so on
> >> through time and space. That there is an order of consequences through
> >> actions and reactions. Understanding the nature of those actions and
> >> reactions helps offer choice to the person, as to what actions one
> hopes to
> >> perform to gain a particular (desired) consequence. And such is the
> >> importance of karma, to consider one's actions and the consequences that
> >> will come of them. It's just science, but a science incorporating the
> >> subtle forms not just the gross.
> >>
> >>
> >> If all that is here is non-dual, as the ancients claimed, then it would
> >> have to mean that mind and body are one substance, it seems that quantum
> >> physics does show that things are not as solid as we might think, and
> that
> >> the mind is not as unaffected by gross material as we once thought.
> >>
> >>
> >> So if I am understanding the Vedic view of the mind and body being
> >> material, that is, of one substance, this substance must exist in name
> and
> >> form across a spectrum, whereby on the one side we have all that is
> subtle,
> >> and on the other we have all that is gross, again in terms of name and
> form
> >> of said substance.
> >>
> >>
> >> A metaphor for this concept could be a consideration of the different
> >> forms of water. Solid at one temperature, liquid in another, and steam
> in
> >> yet another. If time and space are relative (i.e., Einstein), then let's
> >> pretend that they are infinitely stable if seen at an instant in time
> (like
> >> now, the present moment). Then it does seem that ice is a different
> >> "material" than water, and also steam. But in reality their substance is
> >> identical: H2O.
> >>
> >>
> >> This is a gross simplification (pun intended), because we have one
> >> substance in three forms, but never at the same time, though in the same
> >> place. The change is caused by temperature, and we can only see the
> change
> >> of form witnessed through time. But also the name changes too. So there
> is
> >> as if an appearance of a linear change.
> >>
> >>
> >> W1(ice) must pass through W2(water) to become W3(steam) and back again,
> >> through time (with the help of temperature), but W occupies the same
> space,
> >> though the volume might change a little.
> >>
> >>
> >> OK, thanks for staying with me this far.
> >>
> >>
> >> As I'm understanding it, there is in the Vedic worldview three gunas
> >> (branches, or better "properties") of which the perceivable world
> consists,
> >> these being sattwa (energy, purity, light), rajas (action, movement,
> heat),
> >> and tamas (form, heaviness, inertia, darkness). And every *thing* that
> can
> >> be a *thing* is a unique combination of sattwa, rajas, and tamas. But
> this
> >> is relative. For example a rock as more tamas than a river, which has
> more
> >> rajas than a rock, but the sunlight shining on the rock and the river
> have
> >> more sattwa than either of them. In otherwords, it's all relative.
> There is
> >> tamas and sattva in the river, and rajas and tamas in the sunlight, and
> >> sattwa and rajas even in the rock, but those are in smaller ratios than
> the
> >> other dominant properties therein.
> >>
> >>
> >> If we consider Einstein's theory of relativity, E = mc2, then this might
> >> also be seen sattwa = tamas multiplied by the speed of rajas. Put
> another
> >> way, that tamas in its gross form is transformed into sattwa its subtle
> >> form through rajas, its movement(activity) through time and space.
> >>
> >>
> >> This is from the aspect of the material world, as we (humans) can
> >> perceive, through physical laws. That there is only one substance here,
> by
> >> metaphor like water, is what Spinoza (I think) was attempting to "see,"
> >> through a lens of inquiry and curiosity. How might this inquiry
> transcend
> >> the dualism as presented by Descartes?
> >>
> >>
> >> But I would like to prpose right about now that the dualism as presented
> >> by Descartes was "historically invented" as a means to bypass
> intellectual
> >> persecution by the Church fathers (i.e. Galileo). It is not apparent to
> me
> >> that Descartes even believed everything that he wrote, but that it was a
> >> story crafted to gift the material world for experimentation (with
> >> impunity) to the scientists (so we could really figure out what was
> going
> >> on here in the material world) and to leave the empty carton of the
> >> "spiritual" (i.e. the mind) to the Church, which was just like selling
> the
> >> Church a bridge that leads to swampland, really. And it worked!
> >>
> >>
> >> I digress. Because the mind question really is a material question, but
> of
> >> a subtle nature, and it would have to be that if we assert non-duality,
> >> which I am, but you do not have to, as that is your choice! :)
> >>
> >>
> >> It ends up that much of cognitive science is showing mind as a material
> >> question to be the case, for example by its examination of distributed
> >> cognition, embodied thinking, and so on, and also in cultural psychology
> >> (like wet water) the way culture's soup creates so much of our human
> >> experience. It is all relative, which means, to be relative it must be
> one
> >> unified substance. Mind is created through activity and culture, which
> also
> >> creates activity and culture, as woven threads extending out through
> time
> >> and space in all directions.
> >>
> >>
> >> Substance is a difficult and slippery word, because anything that would
> be
> >> made of this substance couldn't be perceived by us, as we are products
> of
> >> that substance.
> >>
> >>
> >> It gets a bit Escher here if we could. You know staircases collapsing
> upon
> >> one another, or hands drawing themselves, etc. Kind of Mobius strippy.
> >>
> >>
> >> But this creates a reality of turtles all the way down, of infinite
> >> regression. That does not work.
> >>
> >>
> >> Spinoza's insight is that there IS a oneness, and that this can be
> >> experienced ("seen"), but only through spiritual pursuit of
> >> self-examination and inquiry, which was a kind of purification to him.
> In
> >> this sense there is free will, because one is choosing to do this self
> >> reflection, but on the other hand there is a necessary result that
> comes of
> >> seeing what is already there, nothing is "produced". Hence the beauty of
> >> him being a lensgrinder, is a marvelous metaphor in so many aspects.
> >>
> >>
> >> My intuition is that LSV was attempting to balance Spinoza's substance
> >> with Marx's materialism as a way to bring the two together, with the
> goal
> >> of illustrating that there was a predictable "physics" to the way mind
> >> develops as a necessary consequence of culture moving through history
> (i.e.
> >> meaning), and vice versa (culture and history being created in turn by
> >> mind).
> >>
> >>
> >> This is not a linear summation or consequence, but an intermingling of
> >> three properties (in relation to one another), light, mass, and energy
> or
> >> as the ancients called them sattwa, rajas, and tamas, and these
> properties
> >> are always in movement and in consequence to one another, but from the
> >> aspect of the perceivable world.
> >>
> >>
> >>> From the aspect of itself, it is static, nothing is changing, and it
> >> exists outside of time and space. This is what Spinoza would have called
> >> God (or nature), or in Vedanta, "Brahman," which cannot be objectified,
> but
> >> it can be known because it is the only "thing" here, upon which all
> things
> >> depend for existence. Like the pot is dependent upon the clay for its
> >> existence.
> >>
> >>
> >> This metaphor useful here for how the clay still "sees itself" as clay
> >> even if it is in the shape of the pot, or a plate, but the pot can only
> >> "see itself" as a pot if the form is of a particularly named shape, but
> is
> >> no longer one if the pot-shape is shattered, though the clay remains
> >> regardless of the presence of the pot-shape or shard-shape. It is still
> >> clay. Relative to the pot, the clay is not changing, outside time and
> >> space, relative to the pot, which is changing inside time and space.
> >>
> >>
> >> When a pot can only see its own potness, then it appears there can be no
> >> unifying principle inside time and space. It is a duality. But if pot
> can
> >> see that its true unifying substance is clay, then its clayness stands
> >> outside of time and space, and it continues to exist as long as clay is
> >> there, just in transformation from the aspect inside time and space, but
> >> eternal from the aspect outside of time and space.
> >>
> >>
> >> Thanks for reading, and thanks also for your commentary. All being food
> in
> >> my pot. :)
> >>
> >>
> >> Kind regards,
> >>
> >>
> >> Annalisa
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
> > --
>
>
>


-- 
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson