Re: [xmca] New Valsiner SEmiots paper on MCA website at lchc

From: Carol Macdonald (
Date: Fri Nov 24 2006 - 02:08:36 PST

Hi David
I have highlighted the paragraph about the ZPD. At some level Valsiner
might be right, but if he is wholly correct then we can never ascertain the
possibility of teaching, only of learning.[And does he think *that* is also

One of students has just done a replication of LSV's blocks, 3 years, 5
years, 8 years, 11 years, 15 years and adults and video-ed it all. It is a
very clear illustration that what the child is doing is negotiating (the
younger children) meaning with Paula; she stretches out cues and if they are
too small that cannot use that external tool. A little older children can
grasp what is being offered when they are stuck. Then adults just get
irritated when she tries to intervene. The results were so classically
LSV-Sakharov that it was eery. The route from not being able to be helped,
to being helped, to resisting help has been for us absolutely and abundantly
clear. I am not at all convinced that all the learning goes on the child's
head. Perhaps in principle/theory, this is neat, but out there in the
field, may I suggest that LSV's interpretation is vindicated.

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope the weather picks up. (Not you David, sorry.)


On 11/24/06, Kellogg <> wrote:
> Dear Michael and eric:
> I guess I really don't understand the distinction Michael is making
> between experimentalism and realism. I don't think I'm conflating them; I
> think I really don't know the difference.
> What I meant to say was that Peirce distinguishes between "firstness",
> "secondness" and "thirdness", where the first is characteristic of iconic,
> direct, "thing in itself" meaning, the second is characteristic of
> indexical, indicative, "thing for others" meaning, and the third is
> characteristic of symbolic, socialized, "thing for itself" meaning.
> What is "first" about firstness? Well, to me it is first because it lies
> closest to materiality, viz. material reality. I don't think this is an
> outrageous intepretation; Peirce knew his German philosophy and must have
> been as familiar with Feuerbach as with Hegel. So if Michael thinks that
> Peirce does not believe in the independent existence of real things, I'd
> really like to know why.
> I see why Valsiner doesn't! I'm still scratching my head over that passage
> in "The Social Mind" where he says that the zone of proximal development can
> NEVER be operationalized or experimentally verified, because there is no way
> to know whether the child's solution of the problem actually incorporates of
> external assistance or constitutes an independent discovery (p. 379). To me
> this ineluctably suggests dualism--UNLESS you take the step of denying the
> primacy of external reality, in which case the distinction between
> interpersonal knowledge building and intrapersonal construction really is
> uninteresting. But in that case, whence (and whither) development?
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
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