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Re: Arievitch and more

Hi to all,

Thanks to Steve for beginning an analysis of Galperin and Newell in more
detail. Lots of food for thought, particularly about whether the encoding,
decoding and comparison operations should be taken as events. It would be
interesting to hear from others in this matter and generally about the
relationship between the two perspectives. To these ends, and for those who
do not have access the journal Soviet Psychology, below is footnote 3 from
Galperin's article on the problem of attention, which is quite a concise
statement of his perspective:

"This does not mean that thought is attention or that attention is thought,
but merely the following. Every human action contains an orienting part,
and executory part, and a checking part. When an action becomes a mental
action and then continues to change so that the orienting part becomes
"comprehension," the executory part becomes an automatic associative
passage of the objective content of the action through the field of
consciousness, and checking becomes an action by which the "ego" of the
subject focuses on this content; then the activeness of the subject,
internal attention, and consciousness all fuse together as an action into
one experience. In self-observation this is something simple and even
indivisible, as others have also described it in the past." (p. 91)

Perhaps someone with command of Russian and access to the original can vet
the translation.

My take on Newell's representation law would be that it is at the endpoint
of Galperin's more comprehensive internalization framework, that is, as a
possible mechanism underlying the fused experience that Galperin describes.
Of course the "law" is just a schematic (as I should have tried to make
clearer in my initial comment), and as with all models of this kind, the
devil is in the details. Especially, what does "encoding" consist of? It
cannot be merely matching to an already existing pattern (although it may
be that at times), because of the problem of accounting for how we
learn/acquire knowledge. In other words, if encoding is merely matching,
then representation, and activity for that matter, would be reproductive,
but not productive. So to be useful, it must be something more.

In this respect, Mabel's contribution on the role of the inner world as
stepping forward is pertinent:

"the inner world steps forward and builds an "ideal" (an idea which is born in
this "inner") to pursue, and pulls to the external action in the context of the
activity. The difficult thing is to explain this "step forward".

Very nicely put. How indeed do we explain this "step forward"? Perhaps this
stepping forward involves an important element of creativity in the way
that we deal with the world. Her response to these comments, yeh or nay as
they say in Newfoundland, would be most welcome.



Robert J. Bracewell
Associate Professor
McGill University
3700 McTavish Street
Montreal, Canada H3A 1Y2
email: Robert Bracewell <robert.bracewell@mcgill.ca>
voice:  514-398-3443
fax:    514-398-6968