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[Xmca-l] Re: Fw: Re: Vygotsky,Marx, & summer reading

The idea of a "segmentary state" (that is, a state which is organized
around the principle of "me against my brother", "me and my brother against
my cousin", "me, my brother, and my cousin against the world") was taken by
my stepfather, Burton Stein, from Aidan Southall, who had developed it in
the context of traditional African societies. Burt used it to explain
medieval Indian history, especially under the Chollas. At the same time,
Perry Anderson (brother of Benedict) was using something fairly similar to
explain the transition from European feudalisms where the reigning prince
was simply the strongest of peers to the kind of absolutist state we see
under Frederick the Great, Phillip the Second, and of course Elizabeth the
First in England. This absolutist state is seen as the political
realization of a modern nation state.

Burt was heavily criticized for his notion of the segmentary state, and he
eventually modified it a lot. I think that what critics didn't know about
Burt was that he started out as a historian of China, and his real contrast
was always not between India and Europe/Japan but rather between India and
China. He saw both India and China as "petty bourgeois states"--that is,
states where peasants were really the ruling class--but he was confounded
by the difference between a highly unified political state in China and the
much looser political organization of medieval South India.

I think his explanation was wrong, because I don't think that peasants
formed a self-conscious ruling class in either place, and because I think
Burt ignored the role of language in unifying a nation state. But I also
think that Burt recognized that Marx's explanation of an "Asiatic mode of
production" based on water works and a centralized system of public works
was simply an algebraic way of saying that it was not feudal, and I agree
with that. The problem is that I don't see that replacing a wrong
historico-cultural analysis with a political one is workable: it's like
saying that medieval France and medieval Germany were utterly different
just because one had a unified state and the other did not.

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

Recent Article: Vygotsky, Halliday, and Hasan: Towards Conceptual

Free E-print Downloadable at:


On Mon, Aug 28, 2017 at 12:41 AM, Lplarry <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

> Alfredo & Haydi,
> The mention of (cosmos) is a voiced word and I am wondering of the way
> this vioced word also is related to the (word): *cosmopolitan*
> Cosmopolitan is often closely familiar when exploring (cities) as living
> cosmos.
> Since Andy refers to living (states) as moments, are we living through
> cosmopolitan (moments) as the place of cities forming.
> I will pause with this moment as a living conversation. I am considering
> the Farsi language and the modernity of cosmopolitan aggregates becoming
> (living) forms .... (pause)
> Sent from my Windows 10 phone
> From: Alfredo Jornet Gil
> Sent: August 27, 2017 4:06 AM
> To: ablunden@mira.net; ‪eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity‬; ‪Haydi Zulfei‬
> ‪‬
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Fw: Re: Vygotsky,Marx, & summer reading
> Andy, Haidy, and Larry,
> this is a very interesting discussion, and I think the list is not only
> patient but happy enough to have discussion between 2, with the 'n' number
> not mattering at all, as long as it is generative dialogue, and generative
> of good.
> I, as probably many others, are travelling these days to conferences,
> including ISCAR, so people will probably have limited time for actively
> joining, but all these materials are important to generate.
> Haidy, best of lucks to your son! By the way, I thought your formulation
> that he "Cosmos IS of all parts but the Cosmos runs not partially but
> momentarily" was very illuminating.
> Thanks,
> Alfredo
> ________________________________________
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> on behalf of ‪Haydi Zulfei‬ ‪‬ <haydizulfei@rocketmail.com>
> Sent: 27 August 2017 12:45
> To: ablunden@mira.net; ‪eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity‬
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Fw: Re: Vygotsky,Marx, & summer reading
> Andy,
> I'm just checking an article by my son who's a doctorate in linguistics in
> Farsi. It's urgent .
> But just ...
> As far as I see Hegel sees nothing in static states . As soon as he uses a
> philosophical term , he goes to its not-being as proof of the former's
> Being. This goes also with Finites. Nothing does he pose or posit without
> simultaneously uprooting it with a contradiction . In addition to Lenin's
> highlights , I've highlighted many other things for myself not for you and
> not for those who insisted me deal with Hegel in firsthand reading. But
> when happily you see it worth dealing with in collective debates , I'll be
> a participant , too.
>  The more I read/think of Hegel's Notion as sort of 'matter' , I see no
> bit of a trace of it being such. Everything returns to Notion as
> God,Spirit, Absolute,Idea.
> Aside from your mentioning part as a non-scientific term , I didn't say I
> won't believe in parts and wholes . What I just meant was that it's not
> enough to say 'a whole is a whole despite its containing parts' ; it was
> about 'activity' and you do know of Leontiev's (Leontiev is not my concern
> here) firm belief in the molarity , integralness , unity in diversity of
> activity. David in particular stressed that there is nothing in activity
> save action and he was right but you demanded other parts sort of
> ridiculously. Considering such a concept , definitely and absolutely
> there's no part here and no OTHER parts for that matter. There're
> 'moments'. Because what counts is the angle of your visioning and relations
> and dependencies not 'exclusive' parts you mentioned. Exclusive means
> something unrelated to an other. We do know activity for Leontiev is VIEWED
> as an integral whole (in motion not laid there) instigated by a motive
> required by a division of labour participants in it eying the resultant
> portion ; action viewed as something to be performed consciously in
> accordance with a GOAL ; and OPERATIONS again viewed as the conditioned way
> of achieving the very action in the direction of Goal. Reaching a village
> through mountains or a flat paved asphalt track does not divide action in
> two.
> And now there's talk of 'organism' not a piece of wood and we know of
> organismic links and relations. Though with the very wood in its state of
> being burnt we could have the moment of sending smoke to the air. Hegel has
> his example of stone.
> With the State Hegel sees it as living and moving and approaching an end ,
> manipulating and being manipulated .
> You say :The point is that none of the organs (or moments) can live other
> than as parts of the whole, and vice versa. Right! Because a living body
> does not know rest ; parts here act as moments ; compare living limbs with
> dead amputated decayed ones ; could you significantly use the same
> utterance with them as such?
> Sure ! This is of much interest! Especially you concluding ...
>  "So the relation between a part and a moment is that parts can become
> moments through the [[development]] of an 'aggregate' into an "integral
> whole."
> Excuse me if there are redundancies. This last utterance of yours
> convinced me of agreeing to agree!
> Cheers !
> Haydi
>       From: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
>  To: ‪Haydi Zulfei‬ ‪ <haydizulfei@rocketmail.com>; "‪eXtended Mind,
> Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>  Sent: Sunday, 27 August 2017, 6:37:43
>  Subject: Re: [Xmca-l] Re: Fw: Re: Vygotsky,Marx, & summer reading
>  Haydi, since this list has discussed the difference between 'moments' and
> 'parts' before, I will beg the patience of the list by pointing to this
> passage in Hegel's Philosophy of Right which we are reading in our reading
> group today:https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/hegel/
> works/pr/prstate1.htm#PR278 Hegel is talking about states and organisms
> at the same time here. An organism is called an "organism" because it is
> made up of organs (which are moments) not parts. The point is that none of
> the organs (or moments) can live other than as parts of the whole, and vice
> versa. The interesting thing to me is that he contrasts the modern state
> (which is an organism, and whose various organs are 'moments') with the
> medieval state in which the monarch collected taxes and made war with other
> monarchs, while civil society was run by corporations and guilds, and the
> whole state was simply an "aggregate" of these "parts" not an organic
> whole, not yet conforming to the concept of a state. So the relation
> between a part and a moment is that parts can become moments through the
> development of an aggregate into an integral whole. Hope this is of
> interest. Andy
>     Andy Blunden
>  http://home.mira.net/~andy
>  https://andyblunden.academia.edu/research  On 23/08/2017 4:50 PM, ‪Haydi
> Zulfei‬ ‪ wrote:
>   Andy,
>   Right! A discussion being run just between two persons on a Forum is not
> always beneficial ; it should be an exception rather than the rule. It is
> good you warn us against that!
>   Additionally , each of us are reacting and feeling responsible for what
> passes on the Forum collectively and communicatively ; thank goodness we
> have good-willed moderators!
>   Though me a lesser student , I co-operated with you on finding responses
> to the posed questions .
>   On 'moments' I begged the information to the effect that , as you now
> say , we are bound to be clear with our circumlocutor as we expect him/her
> to thusly be ! Our rightful challenges should not take the form of testing
> especially when our addressee is a full intelligent researcher himself!
>   No , much of a headache inflicts us when we aim to conceptually scan the
> Cosmos and the daily chores as well. This point is all running all through
> your novel response. There are lots of 'if's and 'in case of's and all
> dependencies and relations .
>   The gist of the matter was that we could speak of wholes and parts in
> their static features in any domain as you come with some but not in their
> unified oneness in motion ; the Cosmos IS of all parts but the Cosmos runs
> not partially but momentarily and any outright intervention (based on
> miscalculations in our conceptions) brings it to a halt and our mystics see
> the high manifestations of these spectacular momentary visions in God as
> abstractions but scientists also have their own visions in turn .
>   You then will agree to be finished with the debate now . Many thanks for
> your co-operation.
>   Best wishes
>   Haydi
>         From: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
>  To: "‪eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>  Sent: Wednesday, 23 August 2017, 4:39:33
>  Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Fw: Re: Vygotsky,Marx, & summer reading
>  Haydi, I really can't deal with so many questions, certainly
>  not if we want this to be more than a dialogue between the
>  two of us. So I will respond to your first paragraph only.
>  Here is Hegel on moments:
>  https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/hegel/works/
> sl/slsubjec.htm#SL163
>  .
>  It comes at the beginning of "The Concept" because it is
>  only with the formation of a concept of the whole that
>  moments of the whole can arise. Universal, Particular and
>  Individual are the archetypes of "moments" for Hegel, but he
>  also sees the Legislature, the Executive (public service)
>  and the Crown (or President) as three moments of the state.
>  The name of a thing is a whole -everyone is a person
>  ("person" = Universal). But humanity is also made up
>  communities, it being taken that a person cannot be a person
>  unless they participate in some human community ("community"
>  in this sense = particular). And every person is an
>  individual, born at some time and place and dying in some
>  time and place, with their own unique mind ("individual").
>  Do you see the sense in which these 3 moments are all
>  simultaneously the whole?
>  All the various communities are parts of the whole of
>  humanity, just as each individual is a part of a community.
>  But we can equally say that the various demographic
>  groupings (age, gender, employment, etc.) are parts of the
>  whole. It depends on the units chosen, that is, of how the
>  whole is conceived.
>  Here is Hegel on whole and parts:
>  https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/hegel/works/
> sl/slappear.htm#SL135
>  .
>  Our mind does not create the problem; our minds are part  of
>  the same social formation which creates the object we think
>  about and reproduce in our activity. Nonetheless, it is
>  always legitimate to ask how much of a basis a given "whole"
>  has in the material world or in activity. For example, when
>  a science first begins it orients to an object which is an
>  Appearance (or Phenomenon) - some problem strikes the eye
>  and people address themselves to it. For example, as a young
>  man Marx was outraged by the injustices he saw around him in
>  Germany - censorship, autocracy, persecution of the
>  peasantry, etc - but after 20 years of study he formed a
>  different conception of the whole - capitalism. David made
>  the same point last week pointing to how Vygotsky said that
>  some sciences addressed themselves to natural wholes
>  (including pedology) while other sciences studied the
>  general processes underlying phenomena (Psychology,
>  Medicine, Biology, ...). So the whole is not arbitrary -
>  different wholes, different units, different problems,
>  different insights, different remedies.
>  That's more than enough!
>  Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------
>  Andy Blunden
>  http://home.mira.net/~andy
>  https://andyblunden.academia.edu/research
>  On 23/08/2017 4:10 AM, ‪Haydi Zulfei‬ ‪ wrote:
>  > Thank you for your solemn answering , Andy.
>  >
>  > I follow your responses not my questions. I admit too many
>  > questions but they are related at least for me.
>  >
>  > I have not reached 'moment' in Hegel yet but first it was
>  > Wolff-Michael years ago who referred to it on debates and
>  > ever since I've got to be clear with it at no cost. If I
>  > may ... I would say "each moment IS the whole" might be a
>  > little bit faulty ; and it might cross your saying of
>  > wholes and parts to David ; being a whole despite
>  > containing parts ; you here differentiate between moments
>  > and parts yet I do not get the distinction ; I would say
>  > if moments and parts are matters of Natures of Phenomena
>  > or again it's our 'mind' which creates the problem ,
>  > ontology/epistemology things! ; is it the case that
>  > whatever thing we're talking about , finites vs infinite ,
>  > determinate
>  >being/emptiness/filledness/nothingness/transition/
> becoming/concepts/notion/ought/actuality
>  > vs clock parts , we can talk of wholes and parts?
>  >
>  >