Re: [xmca] Subject and Self

From: <ERIC.RAMBERG who-is-at>
Date: Fri Dec 21 2007 - 08:02:26 PST

Hello Andy: Back when I had the time and thought I would move beyond being
a practioner and tried my hand at serious writing I attempted the following
definition of developmental, as in Developmental Psychology. Please
thank you,


Developmental: Jaan Valsiner in his book Culture and the Development of

Children's Actions claims,

      The developmental approach entails a look at the transformation of

      organizational forms of systems, in their relations with their

      environments. The actual occurrence of a transformation is detectable

      after it has taken place, yet the interest of researchers in

      development is fueled by the desire to learn, before a transformation

      takes place, what it might be like, and often to try to modify it in

      some desirable direction by way of intervention. The developmental

      perspective has to deal with the uncertainties of transition between

      the present and the immediate future; in fact, the focus on emergence

      is a focus on the making of the new present out of possibilities

      projected into the future (pp. 9-10).

The synthesis of Valsiner's present developmental theories can be traced

back to Lev Vygotsky's writing concerning the development of human

consciousness. Vygotsky writes, "A certain stage of development and the

process itself can only be fully understood when we know the endpoint of

the process, the result, the direction it took, and the form into which the

given process developed (Vygotsky, 1997a, pg. 235)." Vygotsky's view

regarding development can be directly linked to Hegel's dialectic

philosophy (Vygotsky, 1997b, Valsiner, 1997). The basis for accepting a

dialectically constructed psychological theory is founded in Hegel's

philosophy of dialectic thinking.

      Hegel writes about an absolute truth, referred to as "The Idea" (Pg

57, Natural Law), which exists within a subjective reality that is tied to

infinite variables. Imagine upon waking in the morning you chose to not

participate in the scheduled activities of your day. This, of course, is an

option as well as during all other subjective moments of your day. More

often then not responsible people choose to participate in their scheduled

activities. Just because the majority of people plan their use of

subjectivity does not prove there is only a finite set of possible actions

within each waking moment. Hegel writes, " . . .as the infinite, is the

absolutely finite; as the indeterminate, is absolute determinacy. That

absolute transition into its contradictory, which is its essence, and the

disappearance of every reality into its opposite can be checked in no way

other than by preceding empirically, fixing one of the two aspects (i.e.,

reality or the subsistence of the opposites) and abstracting from the

contradictory, the nullity of this subsistence (Hegel, 1975, pg. 71)."

Those who are responsible have indeed made the absolute transition into the

contradictory of irresponsible and subsequently the irresponsible do not

have a fixed reality to comprehend the subsistence of their opposite. The

importance to remember about Hegel's dialectic is that it can be seen as a

continuum of existences that represent a transition from one reality to

another through something he terms sublation (Spencer & Krauze 2001).

      Hegel's sublation was subsequently translated into a philosophical

dictum that has become to be understood as all human situations being the

result of a thesis and an antithesis resulting in a synthesis (Spencer &

Krauze 2001). When this theoretical construct concerning synthesis is

considered it can be compared to how Vygotsky viewed the development of

human behavior (Valsiner 1988, Valsiner 1997). The beginning of the

dialectic is the notion of truth existing within the whole and that within

this whole is a process that has phases but taken individually none of

these stages can exist independent of the whole (Spencer & Krauze 2001).

Within the study of human psychology the whole is considered to be the

development of the person. Within the theoretical construct of dialectic

thinking is the concept that achieving a particular stage of development

does not presume that the previous stage has disappeared or is subservient

to the more advanced thinking level but that the new developmental stage is

an evolution of that which came prior, dependent upon the integrity of all

previous and present psychological processes (Vygotsky, 1999).

                      Andy Blunden
                      <ablunden@mira.n To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
                      et> cc:
                      Sent by: Subject: Re: [xmca] Subject and Self
                      12/20/2007 06:13
                      Please respond
                      to "eXtended
                      Mind, Culture,

Eric, my interest in this was stimulated by the opening sentence of Hegel's

1802 "System of Ethical Life":

                "Knowledge of the Idea of the absolute ethical order
depends entirely on the establishment of perfect
                adequacy between intuition and concept, because the Idea
itself is nothing other than the identity of
                the two. But if this identity is to be actually known, it
must be thought as a made adequacy."

In this sentence read for "intuition" Sensation or ideography and for
"concept" read Reason or nomology. The Idea is human life, but it's unity
(in the 1802 system) is the outcome of history, not its starting point. The

institutions and products of the world and how they ought to be, have to be

in tune with one another. In the world to begin with, before it can be in
thought as such.

At 09:26 AM 20/12/2007 -0600, you wrote:

>Thank you for the question. Initially I was drawn to the
>idiographic/nomothetic distinction because of reading Vygotsky's crisis
>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
>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
>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
> xmca-bounces@web
> 12/19/2007
> 08:20
> PM
> Please
> respond
> to
> "eXtended
> Mind,
> Culture,
> Activity"
>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
> >
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > xmca mailing list
> >
> >
>xmca mailing list
>xmca mailing list

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

xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list
Received on Fri Dec 21 08:04 PST 2007

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