Re: [xmca] Subject and Self

From: <ERIC.RAMBERG who-is-at>
Date: Thu Dec 20 2007 - 07:26:38 PST


Thank you for the question. Initially I was drawn to the
idiographic/nomothetic distinction because of reading Vygotsky's crisis and
discussing the article on xmca. As always my best thinking (in my mind?)
is done when I discuss articles. Valsiner references Vygotsky's crisis in
his introduction. Going further in history ( one of the reasons I
appreciate Valsiner so much is his emphasis on history when he writes)
Valsiner describes the Erklaren-Verstehen dichotomy that was introduced by
Droyson in 1858 and later elaborated on by Dilthey (a researcher referenced
by Vygotsky in Crisis). This distinction was that Verstehen
(understanding) was the goal for the science of the mind and that Erklaren
(expalining) was the goal for the physical sciences.

A quote from page 10 of his introduction to the volume:

" The study of individual cases has always been the major (albeit often
unrecognized) strategy in the advancement of knowledge about other human
beings. Medical science. . .everyday life. . .the handling of such unique
problems in everyday life is of utmost importance for the problem-solving
individuals, who have to adopt a case-study approach to them. However,
case studies in the social sciences have often been labeled "soft" science
because they are indeed aspects to them that do not satisfy the
requirements of the so-called "hard" sciences: existence of controls,
replicability of measurement, separation of independent and dependant
variable and so on. "

Isaac Frank's chapter 1, "Psychology as a science: resolving the
idiographic-nomothetic controversy" relies greatly on Allport's quest for a
proper method for studying psychology. Frank quotes Allport, 1961, p.10:
"we do not need to understand every life in order to discover the lawful
regularities in one life. If you have intimate friend, you may know very
well why he behaves as he does. . because you know the lawful regularities
in his life."

I could go on if interested but for now I'll ask,

"what do you think?"


                      Steve Gabosch
                      <sgabosch@comcas To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
            > cc:
                      Sent by: Subject: Re: [xmca] Subject and Self
                      12/19/2007 08:20
                      Please respond
                      to "eXtended
                      Mind, Culture,

Eric, what passages/ideas from Valsiner or others in this volume most
interest you on this topic? I would be pleased to hear your
thoughts, favorite quotes, etc.
- Steve

On Dec 19, 2007, at 9:21 AM, wrote:

> For those interested in the Nomothetic/Idiographic distinction please
> reference Valsiner's The individual subject and scientific psychology.
> 1986, Plenum Press
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Received on Thu Dec 20 07:28 PST 2007

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