RE: [xmca] ISCAR - Sevilla 2005 -- Theoretical Concepts in CHAT andtheir connestion to physical concepts and knowledge

From: David Preiss (
Date: Fri Oct 07 2005 - 08:53:24 PDT

There was any reference to Freud in the context of the discussion?
I have always been intrigued by the lack of dialogue between CHAT and

David Preiss
Profesor Auxiliar / Assistant Professor
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Escuela de Psicología
Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860
Macul, Santiago,
Fono: 56-2-3544605
Fax: 56-2-354-4844

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of David H Kirshner
Sent: Friday, October 07, 2005 11:27 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] ISCAR - Sevilla 2005 -- Theoretical Concepts in CHAT
andtheir connestion to physical concepts and knowledge


I share (what I sense is) your frustration with this debate. I see the
insistence on reason, as a variety of dualist thinking entering even
(otherwise) sophisticated discourses. Now the caveat that people "act ALWAYS
from reason [but] not necessarily with awareness of it" complicates the
matter by allowing the possibility that one's actions conform to
reasonableness criteria even if one's personal mentality doesn't actually
participate in explicit processes of reasoning. But I think this is just an
obfuscation of the basic position that humans are basically rational
creatures. One sees the influence of this perspective in a wide range of
pedagogical discourses (e.g., cognitivist and constructivist positions--and
sometimes sociocultural, too?) that construe metacognitive mastery as the
primary goal of education--the gateway to everything else. My favorite quote
on the matter (though framed in terms of consciousness) diagnoses the causes
of the position in almost poetic language:

Consciousness is a much smaller part of our mental life than we are
conscious of, because we cannot be conscious of what we are not conscious
of. How simple that is to say; how difficult to appreciate. It is like
asking a flashlight in a dark room to search around for something that does
not have any light shining upon it. The flashlight, since there is light in
whatever direction it turns, would have to conclude that there is light
everywhere. And so consciousness can seem to pervade all mentality when
actually it does not. (Jaynes, 1976, p. 23)

Jaynes, J. (1976). The origin of consciousness in the breakdown of the
      bicameral mind. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

David Kirshner


                      Lois Holzman

                      <lholzman who-is-at eastsideins To: "eXtended Mind,
Culture, Activity
            >, "
                      Sent by: cc: (bcc: David H
                      xmca-bounces who-is-at weber.uc Subject: Re: [xmca]
ISCAR - Sevilla 2005 -- Theoretical
             Concepts in CHAT and
their connestion to physical
                                                    concepts and knowledge


                      10/06/2005 06:51 PM

                      Please respond to

                      "eXtended Mind,

                      Culture, Activity"



I was also at the session Mike mentions below. While I too would like to
explore more any relationship between Vygotsky and Spinoza. And that talk
brought another thing up. I found Jan's talk to raise an intriguing/thorny
issue. I can't find my notes right now so my summary will be only enough to
make what I'm thinking (perhaps) clear. Jan was saying that human beings act
ALWAYS from reason‹‹not necessarily with awareness of it but nevertheless
from reason. I was able to raise the following point with her in the session
and later in a too short conversation: The position she was putting forth
was a conversational dead end because with her position, anything anybody
said will be interpreted within her framework and would overdetermine any
conversation on the matter. If people who did not agree that human beings
always act out of reason were we to say so, she would ask us/assume we were
acting out of reason, i.e., hear/interpret/place what we said in her
framework. So how could we go on? How can we talk together? Not all
differences of opinion get deadlocked in this way but I think this one does.
Any thoughts? Lois

> From: Mike Cole <>
> Reply-To:, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
> <>
> Date: Tue, 4 Oct 2005 18:08:57 +0200
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
> Subject: Re: [xmca] ISCAR - Sevilla 2005 -- Theoretical Concepts in
> their connestion to physical concepts and knowledge
> Thanks Ana, for your overview. I am checking with folks at LCHC about
> how
> could
> most easily make all the abstracts of xmca members, or that xmca
> members want to discuss, gathered together in one place.
> I have a few clear minutes to write and have been reading with interest
> what others have
> been posting. My own feeling is that concrete issues from concrete
> might be
> of interest as possible markers for further discussion.
> For example, at a symposium chaird by Jan Derry, Vladislav Lektorsky
> about the
> centrality of formative experiments as central to cultural-historical
> methodology. this interests me a lot (I, too, identified this as an
> issue in need of discussion). I
> not have the text and
> Slava read in English which made it difficult to follow, but that
> topic
> his ideas are of
> interest to me for followup.
> David Bakhurst talked about questions of mediation. I got a few
> minutes
> talk to David about
> his paper which is on what is another of my core interests. I found it
> odd that he could
> raise as a possible difficulty the idea that from a chat perspective,
> the world could be seen as accessible ONLY through a mediator. This is
> clearly not the position taken by LSV or any
> of his immediate colleagues, or by anyone I know of working in this
> tradition. Much more could
> and should be discussed vis a mediation (e,g. our earlier discussion of
> whethe operations
> are mediated, or if, once they become ¨transparent¨they no longer are.
> did not get enough
> time to talk, but she raised some (apparently disputable) suggestions
> the relevance of
> Hegel and Spinoza. Since the lsv-Spinoza connection is little
> discussed
> the issue of
> cognition/emotion is much discussed, this was something I thought
> worth following up on. My computer connection is outta money.
> Other comments to come
> mike
> On 10/3/05, Ana Marjanovic-Shane <> wrote:
>> ISCAR in Sevilla, September 2005:
>> In a conference of this scope, where one cannot hope to have attended
>> even one 10th of all the presentations, it is hard to give any
>> overall evaluations or even impressions. But, XMCA members who did
>> not come to Sevilla, ought to have some notion of what went on there
>> for 5 days in September 2005. So those of us who were there really
>> need to put our thoughts together and give some descriptions of what
>> went on. That is not easy. There are different aspects one can write
>> about, different themes that ran through presentations, different
>> aspects of organization. I will be working from my notes -- taken in
>> haste during the workshops, from the abstracts we received and from
>> some other sources people gave us (handouts, web pages). It would be
>> very useful if someone at the XMCA headquarters could put the
>> abstracts in pdf format on the server so that everyone could have an
>> access to them. (Mike, is it possible to organize it?).
>> The conference was held in 3 buildings of the Department of
>> Psychology, Sociology and Philosophy, at the University of Sevilla.
>> Those are new buildings (not part of the University main venue in the
>> old Tobacco Factory), built with inner balconies and great
>> visibility, so they were easy to navigate. The workshops were held in
>> auditoriums, most of which had a classic layout: a podium with a
>> blackboard and projection screen, and then rows of seats and desks.
>> Everything fixed -- unmovable. There were just a few rooms without
>> fixed benches -- with panels and chairs. They were used for Poster
>> sessions. My first fear was that the first part of our session was
>> assigned a room with fixed benches. We would have to move it -- since
>> it was an interactive drama workshop where people have to have space
>> to move, group and regroups and play!! Fortunately, it was not: we
>> were given one of the poster rooms!!
>> We usually don't consciously think of the space and its qualities
>> when we participate in activities with intellectual content. But it
>> is important. If our beliefs about the mediated quality of
>> intellectual growth and functioning are true, then we have to think
>> about the space as mediated and mediating. European universities (at
>> least three of them I know, and now Sevilla) are still mediated by
>> another paradigm about intellectual processing and education. A
>> paradigm that Vygotsky started to question 100 years ago. It takes
>> much more to have this understanding of ourselves trickle down to
>> those who plan and build schools and universities.
>> Participants came from many parts of the world. But not from
>> everywhere. I was happy to see people from Africa -- some of them
>> from Rwanda! There were not many Africans in the previous ISCRAT
>> conferences. Participants came from all continents. There were many
>> people known to us on the XMCA discussion list in the conference: N.
>> Ares, D. Bakhurst, S. Chaiklin, M. Cole, M. de Haan, J. Derry, Y.
>> Engeström, S. Gaskin, A. Goncu, P. Hakkarainen, L. Holzman, V.
>> John-Stainer, E. Lampert-Shepel, C. Lee, E. Matusov, D. Robbins, W-M.
>> Roth, A. Stetsenko, A. Surmava, J. Valsiner, B. van Oers, N. Veresov,
>> G. Wells, J. Wertsch..., There were many more we have to learn about.
>> The conference program listed two main themes with lots of sub
>> themes: THEME A.- Theoretical and Methodological Issues THEME B.-
>> Acting in changing worlds Each workshop was classified within one of
>> the two themes and within one of its subtopics. What was hard on the
>> conference organizers and on the conference attendees was to separate
>> workshops that tackled similar problems in time: there were many
>> workshops I wanted to go to, but they were held at the same time. I
>> always had to choose between, at least two competing workshops and
>> more often between three or four. That was very hard to juggle. I
>> ended up running from one to another, missing chunks from each
>> workshop that I wanted to hear, or just worrying that I was missing
>> something else.
>> Before the conference, I made my own selection of workshops which
>> have something to do with play and imagination. That was my personal
>> program guide, I am attaching here. However, I ended up changing it
>> to accommodate other talks which were also important to me. [Other
>> participants in Sevilla: Please send your own selection of the
>> workshops!"]. In my next postings, I will discuss some of the
>> presentations I attended. I invite you who went to Sevilla to discuss
>> at least one of the presentations: one paper, one concept you heard
>> discussed, one thought you found important in Sevilla. Each one of us
>> has a special "pet" interest, and sometimes, special ways to
>> understand or to "objectify" this interest through different
>> selection of topics and different people. Maybe you want to connect
>> the questions we asked before the Conference with your experience in
>> the conference? Or maybe you would want to mention just something
>> unexpected, something that made you think?
>> Until later.
>> Ana
>> --
>> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
>> ---
>> Ana Marjanovic-Shane
>> 151 W. Tulpehocken St.
>> Philadelphia, PA 19144
>> Home office: (215) 843-2909
>> Mobile: (267) 334-2905
>> _______________________________________________
>> xmca mailing list
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Nov 01 2005 - 01:00:20 PST