RE: [xmca] Empirical Evidence for ZPD

From: Andy Blunden (
Date: Tue Nov 28 2006 - 13:22:05 PST

Big question Michael.
See for
a book-length answer from Lektorsky.

Subject and object are always two distinct entities, but the subject (some
self-conscious system of activity) arises out of some definite, objective
system of activity when it becomes self-conscious, and the activity then
constitutes (in AN Leontyev's words) the "intertraffic" between subject and
object. The activity of the subject then is to objectify itself in the
object, giving its activities material forms deposited in the objective
world around it, vested with meanings by which the subject
"institutionalises" itself.

So in the beginning there is no distinction, because the relevant system of
activity has not yet become self-conscious, and in the end there is no
distinction because the subject has "naturalised" its activity and become
indistinguishable from the object. These are of course both tendencies, and
not absolute truths, and the whole life of a subject exists between these
two poles.


At 02:03 PM 28/11/2006 -0500, you wrote:
>Andy and Paul,
>What is the argument that a dialectical approach, even dialectical
>materialism, dissolves the difference between subject and object? I guess
>we are all influenced by what we have been reading lately, but it seems
>that it is difficult for a dialectic based perspective to escape the
>idealism trap.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: [] On
>Behalf Of Andy Blunden
>Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2006 5:09 AM
>To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>Subject: Re: [xmca] Empirical Evidence for ZPD (was= Does VygotskyAccept
>the "Assistance Assumption"?)
>Paul, surely you overstate the matter.
>ZPD is, like all scientific concepts, a theory-laden object. To say that it
>exists says that certain more or less well-defined procedures understood
>within the Vygotskyan theory, will produce this or that verifiable result.
>Otherwise what is the useof the concept and the theory of which it is a
>part? While there are lots of concepts within the Vygotskyan theory which
>are new and unique, or have a Marxist genealogy, there are also plenty
>which are shared with all pedagogical theories and common sense. In fact,
>all scientific theories must incorporate "common sense" concepts into their
>framework in order to be truly scientific. "Empiricism" denies that
>scientific objects are "theory laden" and that there is anything
>problematic in the idea of a purely factual test for the existence of some
>object. But to deny Empiricism is not to deny the validity and necessity of
>empirical evidence.
>And surely it is wrong to say that in Marxism or Vygotsky "the subject
>object distinction is dissolved". The absolute independence and
>separateness of subject and object is certainly denied by Marx and
>Vygotsky, but neither claim that "subject" and "object" are invalid
>concepts, or concepts between which no distinction can be made. For
>example, Marx does not claim that an object (e.g. ZPD) exists insofar as a
>subject (Vygotskyan psychology) incorporates the concept in its activity,
>so that empirical refutation of the concept is ruled out in principle. No
>subject exists in absolute separateness from every other subject, all
>subjects exist in a material and therefore infinitely interconnected,
>world. So the identity of subject and object can only be relative, not
>At 12:26 AM 28/11/2006 -0800, you wrote:
> > Isnī't the idea of "empirical" evidence for the ZPD something of an
> > oxymoron in itself? Didn{t Vygotsky develop his thinking within the
> > framework of dialetical materialism, something that many north americans
> > and others seem all too ready to forget? Isn't the concept of a ZPD a
> > dialectical model in itself, which is to say, a model in which the
> > subject object distinction is dissolved, a dissolution which defies the
> > concept of empirical?
> > Paul Dillon
> Andy Blunden : tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435, AIM
>identity: AndyMarxists mobile 0409 358 651
>xmca mailing list
>xmca mailing list

  Andy Blunden : tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435, AIM
identity: AndyMarxists mobile 0409 358 651

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