Re: [xmca] Re: the Strange Situation

From: David Kellogg <vaughndogblack who-is-at>
Date: Fri Oct 24 2008 - 19:32:10 PDT

Kant does speak of schemata as reflections in the mind "by modification of our sensibility" of unknowable things in themselves. This is where he brings in the triangle example so beloved by Chomsky,
See "Critique of Reason", Transcendental doctrine of judgement, Chapter 1, section 1.  Kant, I (1965) Critique of Pure Reason.  New York: MacMillan.p. 182.
See also: "Transition from Sensory-Motor Schemas to Conceptual Schemas" in Piaget, J. (1961) Play, Imitation and Dreams (Norton), pp. 215-244.
David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

--- On Fri, 10/24/08, Andy Blunden <> wrote:

From: Andy Blunden <>
Subject: Re: [xmca] Re: the Strange Situation
To:, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
Date: Friday, October 24, 2008, 7:16 PM

David, I think you are doing a disservice to Kant here. For
Kant there cannot really be "reflections" of
things-in-themselves. Appearances are constructs.

If Piaget talks about schemata, then he is indeed, like
Chomsky, a Kantian, but as I understand it, "schemata"
refers to the categories which Kant presumed were accessible
to a faculty of Reason, which then enabled sensible forms to
be extracted from sense data via the faculty of Intuition.
According to Hegel and Marx and Vygotsky, the categories of
reason are acquired via practical activity with other people.

But the "thing in itself" is, for Kant, beyond perception.


David Kellogg wrote:
> Dear Paula:
> (For whatever reason, I'm afraid the label's sticking. "The
Strange Situation" is, like a working class hero, something to be. Meaning,
something that is to become.)
> I'm going to try to use Hegel's "Logic" to make sense of
the categories we find in your DVD and also in Chapter Five. But I've tried
to read the Logic several times myself and failed each time.
> So I'm not actually going to use the "Logic" directly, but
instead take a very schematic understanding of it from an article on the logic
of 19th century realist novels. (Brown, M. [1981] "The Logic of Realism: A
Hegelian Approach", PMLA 96/2, 224-241). This puts me in good company; Andy
says that LSV mostly gets his Hegel from other sources too (probably the
Philosophical Notebooks of Lenin).
> Early on in Thinking and Speech, LSV pours scorn on Piaget's
declaration of independence from philosophy and says "the lack of a
philosophy is itself a very definite philosophy". But Piaget's
non-philosophical philosophy is not simply raw empiricism; it's a form of
> That's why LSV is careful to highlight wherever Piaget talks about
"schemata", Kantian reflections of unknowable "things in
themselves". It's also why he uses the image of social thinking simply
"squeezing out" the egocentric thinking of the child; LSV is rejecting
the neo-Kantian idea that there are separate faculties of reason and judgement.
> So what's the alternative to Kantian reflections of things in
themselves? Hegel gives us three distinct stages in the unfolding of an idea:
"for itself", "for others", and "for oneself". But
in some ways the ways in which these stages are linked are more important than
the way they are distinct.
> First of all, there is "contingency", which he subtitles:
"formal reality, possibility, necessity". Now, in this stage stuff has
no "necessary" existence; it just appears as random things, or heaps.
That's why Hegel says it has the "form" of reality, rather than
its truth.
> But even here, as Hegel says, "everything is through its other what
it is itself". There is a contrast between the object and the environment,
and that contrast is something made by the child as the child takes objects and
puts them into heaps. The criterion of selection is a non-criterion; the child
selects "for (the object) itself".
> Now suppose the child takes this same logic, the logic of the heap, and
applies it to the individual object. By this logic, the object appears as a
"heap" of traits, facets, or aspects, each one utterly unconnected
with the others. An object is a random heap of qualities.
> But the independence of one quality from another is actually a kind of
relationship, although a negative one. If a block is part of this heap, then it
is not part of that one. and if an object is yellow, then it is not blue. The
point is that reality is something that is directed outwards; the reality of a
heap is directed towards other heaps, the reality of an object is something
directed towards other objects, and the reality of a facet is directed towards
other facets.
> Because the reality of a facet is directed towards other facets, it can be
contrasted, and even chained, according to likeness, or according to partial
similarity, or according to cause and effect. That's what creates the
various types of complexes, including the chain complex.
> Of course, identifying relationships (resemblance, causality,
complementarity, even adversativity) is also a way of isolating them. And
isolating relationships always involves not only an element of relativeness but
even an element of arbitrariness. We see a lot of this in our data.
> But we also see that as the relationships are isolated, the arbitrary
elements and irrelevant decisions are gradually eliminated. Hegel says that in
the third stage of the unfolding of the idea, all the randomness is absorbed and
objects are now fully determinate.
> LSV takes Piaget to task for not considering causality to be objective;
for asserting that the causality of science is as egocentric and relative as
that of the child. For LSV, this is really a type of complexive thinking.
Thinking of "real reality", that is, the reality of groups and chains,
and complexes, is not the final stage any more than thinking of heaps was.
> Scientific causality is, for LSV, a higher form of causality; it
corresponds to absolute necessity, where there is no longer heterogeneity or
randomness in the relation or in the object. I think this is where he sees
concepts--true concepts--coming into existence.
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

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Received on Fri Oct 24 19:33:14 2008

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