[xmca] Considering ARL's view of Romantic Science

From: Mike Cole (lchcmike@gmail.com)
Date: Tue Mar 28 2006 - 17:06:07 PST

As a followup on Peter and Dot's contributions, let me single out the
following part of Luria's document.

 I have always admired Lenin's observation that a glass, as an object of
science, can be understood only when it is viewed from many perspectives.
With respect to the material of which it is made, it becomes an object of
physics; with respect to its value, an object of economics; and with respect
to its form, an object of aesthetics. The more we single out important
relations during

177 . . .

 *. . . The Making **of **Mind*

* *

our description, the closer we come to the essence of the object, to an
understanding of its qualities and the rules of its existence. And the more
we preserve the whole wealth of its qualities, the closer we come to the
inner laws that determine its existence. It was this perspective which led
Karl Marx to describe the process of scientific description with the
strange‑sounding expression, "ascending to the concrete."

The observation and description of psychological facts should follow the
same process. Clinical and psychological observations have nothing in common
with the reductionism of the classicist. The clinical analysis of my early
research is a case in point. Such an analysis seeks out the most important
traits or primary basic factors that have immediate consequences and then
seeks the secondary or "systemic" consequences of these basic underlying
factors. Only after these basic factors and their consequences have been
identified can the entire picture become clear. The object of observation is
thus to ascertain a net‑work of important relations. When done properly,
observation accomplishes the classical aim of explaining facts, while not
losing sight of the romantic aim of preserving the manifold richness of the

By my reading, Luria rejects the antimonies of classical and romantic and
goes for a hybrid approach that uses all the classical info it can get and
"rises to the concrete:" of individual cases. Its as if he were reversing
the Piagetian idea that little kids cannot say which is more, the brown
beads on the beads,
and saying instead, of brown and white, there a beads and they vary in such
a such a way, not just as brown and white, but as each individual. Not
some form of diversity in unity.

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