Re: [xmca] Re: the Strange Situation

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at>
Date: Thu Oct 23 2008 - 16:28:20 PDT

"The very terms 'development' and 'learning' are normative":
yes these terms are 'normative' but in an objective sense of
the word 'normative' in that they refer to a process between
a universal (or genus, community) and an individual. This
may be quite 'objective'. There is no need for any
connotation of 'progress', or "getting better", etc.

"conceptual thinking can become adequate to the
thing-in-itself": I don't think you can really put it like
that. You are yourself reifying the "thing-in-itself" in
this expression. For Hegel "thing-in-itself" and "concept"
are both moments of the development of the idea. And
actually he would put the concept higher (more real) than
the thing-in-itself.

"the concept has to be out of the head, socially distributed
in practical activities": nicely put Martin.

We live in a world, however, when our practical activities
(watching TV, voting in ballots, choosing lifestyles from
identikits at the supermarket) when "pseudoconcept" is the
norm. So writers like many poststructuralists and all
logical positivists who take the pseudoconcept to be the
concept always have a strong element of truth in what they
say. Unfortunately, the postmodern world is largely a
pseudoworld of pseudo-people thinking and acting out


Martin Packer wrote:
> Michael,
> I don't think we can avoid evaluation here. The very terms 'development' and
> 'learning' are normative. But I fully agree that we need to be clear about
> the criteria with which we judge one way of knowing better than another.
> As I understand it (*if* I understand it - Andy, please help here), Hegel's
> move, in response to Kant, was to say that conceptual thinking can become
> adequate to the thing-in-itself. For Kant this was impossible, and so any
> theory of development based on Kant (Piaget is the obvious example) can only
> talk about ways of knowing becoming increasingly free from contradictions
> and inconsistencies, i.e, the criterion is purely internal, logical, and
> ideal.
> For Hegel we can come to know things as they really are, and this is when we
> know them in terms of concepts. For this kind of epistemology to be able to
> work, the concept has to be out of the head, socially distributed in
> practical activities. I read Vygotsky this way (though as I've said here
> before he wrote about concepts in two quite different ways, early and late).
> Thinking in concepts enables us to grasp the rich, complex interconnections
> among concrete things, in a way that penetrates beyond their surface
> appearances. To me its important to remember that Vygotsky sees all the
> higher psychological functions working together, so conceptual thinking goes
> along with new kinds of directed attention and deliberate memory, and so on.
> The conceptual thinker literally sees the world in a qualitatively different
> way.
> What confuses me about the block task is that the categories are defined (by
> the adult) in an arbitrary way. Grasping the way the blocks are named seems
> a poor analog for penetrating to how things 'really are' in the material
> world.
> Martin
> Hi Andy,
> I think that the discussion needs to extricate itself from the
> judgmental. A child's or a working person's "concrete universal" is
> different than that of a professor who has been thinking on some
> topic for several decades. The judgment comes in when some, like GWFH
> or academics, define their concrete universals as better or more
> advanced than those of others. This is the whole crux with the
> concept research, whether it reappears as "misconceptions" research
> or whether it is the "pseu
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Andy Blunden +61 3 9380 9435 
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Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden:
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Received on Thu Oct 23 16:28:38 2008

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