Re: [xmca] Valsiner on Semiotics and Psychology

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Tue Jan 03 2006 - 15:30:42 PST

Sure, he was critiquing, Nate. What dimmed my enthusiasm was that he was
psychology in those comments. He has done a lot to UNhomogenize psychology
in his
work, but perhaps of the context of the article, he seemed to be simplifying
a scene he knows
to be more complicated. Since I adopt what I consider a semiotic approach
inspired by
Vygotsky, I share his concern about the seprations.

All we have to do to discuss Culture and the development of
children's action." is get everyone on xmca to read it at the same time!!

Good luck to us.

On 1/3/06, Nate <vygotsky who-is-at> wrote:
> Mike,
> Am I misreading or are you reading to quickly? The "Psychology adamently
> sets itself apart from literature"was a view he was critiquing, right? I
> don't think he was arguing for such a stance just pointing out the
> reasons for its historical separation. Here are the first two paragraphs.
> Some things in life just do not make sense. Coming out of the
> creative environment of Tartu University in Estonia of the 1970s
> --where semiotics was one of the main frameworks for our
> intellectual growth-- the separation of semiotics and psychology has
> always seemed awkward to me. Yet it is the case all over the
> world-as I encountered that divide in all my subsequent years in
> Europe, the Americas, and Australia. Somehow the discourses about
> signs do not link with psychology's favorite stories about behavior,
> cognition, or affect.
> In some ways that divide is parallel to another: psychology
> adamantly separates itself from art and literature, as if Gabriel
> Garcia Marquez, Anais Nin, or Remedios Varo have less to say about
> human psyche than the accepted sources of psychological evidence--
> lever-pressing rats in mazes, or college undergraduates putting
> pencil marks into boxes of multiple choice tests. Yet the glorious
> invention of behaviorist objectivity-the laboratory rat-is itself a
> semiotic construction. The rats themselves may of course remain
> little animals as they are-but any interpretation of aspects of
> their behavior as if those represent basic human psychological
> functions is an act of semiogenesis conducted by the researchers.
> Similarly, the "objectivity" of the experimental evidence is a
> flavour generated by semiosis-Einstein's look at what experiments do
> (and can't do) is an example of relativity of acceptance of semiotic
> construction of crucial evidence for theory (Hentschel, 1992).
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> logy
> >>
> >>
> --
> Nateweb
> "There is no hope of finding the sources of free action in the lofty
> realms of the mind or in the depths of the brain. The idealist approach of
> the phenomenologists is as hopeless as the positive approach of the
> naturalists. To discover the sources of free action it is necessary to go
> outside the limits of the organism, not into the intimate sphere of the
> mind, but into the objective forms of social life; it is necessary to seek
> the sources of human consciousness and freedom in the social history of
> humanity. To find the soul it is necessary to lose it". A.R Luria
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