RE: [xmca] Vygotsky and Problems

From: Stephenson, Hunter W. <Stephenson who-is-at>
Date: Sat Dec 08 2007 - 20:26:16 PST

As a graduate student, I was fortunate enough to work with Steve Witte and Bob Bracewell on a couple of projects centered around Vygotskian psychology and the study of writing. I've pasted below a footnote from one of these projects that may have some bearing on the question at hand.

We should note that Soviet-Russian writers frequently appear to use problemy ("problems of/in") and also, to a lesser extent, etjudy ("studies in/on") in their titles as a means of indicating that a work will cover a rather broad range of specific topics related to a larger, more global topic. That usage appears to contrast with that of voprosy ("problems of/in"), which seems to be reserved to designate problems of concern to a disciplinary community rather than problems subsumed under a particular global topic such as "development of the mind." Our sense is that problemy ("problems of/in") and etjudy ("studies in/on") often appear in the titles of works whose authors rely rather heavily on what James Kinneavy labels and discusses as "exploratory discourse" (1971/1980, esp. pp. 96-106), discourse whose principal aim is to establish the grounds for an hypothesis or set of related hypotheses rather than to demonstrate or argue for a particular thesis. For us, an example of exploratory discourse is Vygotsky and Luria's Etjudy po istorii povedenija: obez'jana. primitiv. rebenok (Studies on the History of Behavior: Ape, Primitive, and Child) (1930-b).



Hunter Stephenson


From: on behalf of Lois Holzman
Sent: Sat 12/8/2007 2:04 PM
To:; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [xmca] Vygotsky and Problems

I'm turning to this group for some help in understanding what
Vygotsky means by the word problem. I may be asking a translation
question or something broader about the Russian way of framing issues
or themes in science/philosophy/psychology. In English "problem" has
come to imply "solution" (e.g., the "problem-solution syndrome"). I
also like Wittgenstein's view on problems, which is that his method
makes them "vanish" (as opposed to fixing or removing them). How
should I be thinking about how Vygotsky thought of what a problem is
in light of its common use in English as something to be fixed or
solved? And its use in traditional psychotherapy (e.g., presenting
problem)? All thought will be greatly appreciated!


Lois Holzman, Director
East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy
920 Broadway, 14th floor
New York NY 10010
tel. 212.941.8906 ext. 324
fax 212.941.0511

xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list

Received on Sat Dec 8 20:27 PST 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Jan 07 2008 - 10:13:50 PST