RE: Query Re Genetic Domains

From: Rick Iedema (
Date: Mon Jun 13 2005 - 22:35:23 PDT

I've got a 2-3:30, 3:30 okay?

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Gabosch []
Sent: Tuesday, 14 June 2005 12:43 PM
Subject: Re: Query Re Genetic Domains

11:23 AM 6/10/2005, Mike wrote:
>Dear Colleagues,
>It is my impression that lot of people, following Vygotsky (summarized in
>Wertsch, 1985) have made the programmatic claim that human ontogeny is the
>emergent outcome of phylogenetic, cultural historical, and moment by moment
>(microgenetic) processes.
>I am looking for references that include this kind of rhetoric. I recal,
>but cannot find, that Ronald Tharp once wrote on this topic. Yrjo's book
>on learning by expanding certainly adopts this point of view. and......??
>Suggestions needed!

I suggest Ken Richardson (1998) _The Origins of Human Potential_ , Chapter
3, "Developmental Systems."

Some tidbits:

"In the previous chapter I tried to show how the standard genetic
assumptions underlying the current framework of nature-nurture debates in
psychology are unlikely to be valid." pg 66

[In this chapter] ... I want to continue this scrutiny by showing how the
evolved system of genomic regulations is only the first of a number of
regulatory levels to be found in organisms living in complex
environments. Just as the expression of structural genes have become
nested in a complex of genomic regulations, so these have become nested in
other systems of regulations, at additional hierarchical levels." pg 66

Richardson quotes Piaget (1980): 'The epigenetic system, as we have noted,
is highly integrated: each stage has its own system of regulations, and
each is bound to the levels before and after by a complex of
interregulations.' pg 71

Referring to Oyama (1985): "Although we commonly speak of the genotype as
'creating' its appropriate phenotype through epigenetic processes, we now
wee that it is at least as legitimate to speak of the developmental process
'creating' its own appropriate genotype (Oyama 1985: 49)." pg 71

"I have argued in several places (e.g. Richardson 1992; Richardson and
Webster 1996) that such learning is only achieved by the lifelong
developmental construction of 'nested covariation hierarchies' within the
cognitive system reflecting those in natural experience, including those
revealed by action upon the environment. This is the kind of information
that cognitive systems evolved to deal with. Indeed, a number of
neuroscientists have long argued that it is such nested covariations that
form the 'language' of higher cerebral functions (e.g. Mackay 1986)." pg 79

"Steven Rose (e.g.1981) has long advocated a 'levels', or hierarchical
systems view, as an antidote to reductionism of the collapsing of all the
regulations that have evolved back into a shallow genetic determinism." pg

Fascinating chapter, one of the best pieces of contemporary writing I have
seen putting these ideas together. Vygotsky especially, but also Leontiev,
Rogoff, Cole - yes, Mike Cole - and many others also figure into
Richardson's presentation.

- Steve

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