Re: [xmca] Empirical Evidence for ZPD

From: Martin Packer (
Date: Thu Nov 30 2006 - 05:55:29 PST

Given the current discussion of the dialectic this seems an excellent time
to ask for guidance on some passages from Vygotksy's 'Crisis' that strike me
as important, but which I find confusing. Sasha, I'd welcome your
interpretation. Vygotsky is arguing for the need, in a truly 'general'
psychology, to distinguish the epistemological problem of the relation of
subject and object from the ontological problem of the relation between mind
and body, and then of course to solve both problems. Then he writes:

"³We must not mix up the relation between subject and object with the
relation between mind and body, as Høffding [1908] splendidly explains. The
distinction between mind [Geist] and matter is a distinction in [established
at the level of] the content of our knowledge. But the distinction between
subject and object manifests [establishes] itself independently from the
content of our knowledge.² (323) [The material in brackets is my
modifications to the translations based on the Spanish version; a bit risky,
I know]
He then quotes Hoffding:

³Both mind and body are for us objective, but whereas mental objects
[geistigen Objekte] are by their nature related to the knowing subject, the
body exists only as an object for us. The relation between subject and
object is an epistemological problem [Erkenntnisproblem], the relation
between mind and matter is an ontological problem [Daseinsproblem].²

I find it difficult to reconcile these two paragraphs. Is he saying that
mind and body are objective for us; we experience them as really existing.
But all objects are such only for a knowing subject, so the body, for
example, exists as a real object only for us, as subjects. This distinction,
between subject and object, arises whether we experience it or not? Or,
since Œknowledge¹ is something valued for V, perhaps he's saying that Geist
and matter are things we can know. They are real. Their relation is a
problem, and it is ontological. Whereas subject and object are how things
appear, or how they can appear, in ³epistemological consciousness,² i.e.
introspection. It follows that the subjective (the for-us) must not merely
be described but also explained, in terms of real objects and real
processes. Mental processes are real processes, not identical with
subjectivity. ³Empirical, psychological consciousness² is, it seems,
non-dualistic. My joy is real (and non-dualistic). My introspection of this
joy introduces dualism.

A few pages later:

"³After all, a cornerstone of materialism is the proposition that
consciousness and the brain are a product, a part of nature, which reflect
the rest of nature² (327).

The last sentence is not grammatical English, so something has clearly gone
wrong with the translation.

If anyone has access to the original Russian and could comment,that would be
great. (Page numbers are from the version in The Essential Vygotsky.)


On 11/30/06 2:43 AM, "" <> wrote:

> Hi Mike,
> I mean the text from the volume 6 of Russian collected works of LSV
> "Utchenie ob emotziakh" or "Spinoza" as it was titled by LSV himself.

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