Re: [xmca] Passages from Chapter 5 of LSV

From: Paul Dillon <phd_crit_think who-is-at>
Date: Thu Dec 18 2008 - 23:24:39 PST


Thanks for that freebie. 

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.


--- On Thu, 12/18/08, David Kellogg <> wrote:
From: David Kellogg <>
Subject: Re: [xmca] Passages from Chapter 5 of LSV
To: "xmca" <>
Date: Thursday, December 18, 2008, 2:58 PM

Thanks, Mike. xmca is a textual wedding at Canaa, a party to which everybody is
invited, the food for thought never runs out, and even the wine of discussion
seems to get better instead of cheaper.
It's really worth comparing the passage Mike sent around with Chapter Nine
of the Vygotsky Reader, available for free download HERE:

This is a correspondance course that Vygotsky was writing for Moscow
University. It served teachers in far-flung areas of the USSR, and (as you can
see) it includes discussion questions and further reading, exactly as Vygotsky
had them.
The first five sections (up to section five, p. 200, do not appear in Thinking
and Speech, but they frame them beautifully, by setting up the usual culprits
for polemical attack. In this case, it's the view that nothing fundamental
changes in adolescence, and that the difference between a three year old and a
thirteen year old is simply quantitative, the accumulation of something called
There are a couple of reasons why I think this section is useful. First of all,
the idea hasn't really gone away; there are still those who believe that,
for example, language teaching is the gradual accumulation of vocabulary.
Secondly, this is clearly all part of Vygotsky's all out assault on
Thorndike (via Charlotte Buhler and others).
Thirdly, I think this really THOROUGHLY vindicates the view of "Three
Vygotskies" put forward by Minick: a Vygotsky of the instrumental act, to
which Leontiev is most clearly related, followed by a Vygotsky of the
psychological system, where there is no clear explanatory principle, followed by
the Vygotsky of the unit of analysis and functional differentiation, who I think
of as the Vygotsky of the zoped.
(By the way, Mike has said that "zoped" is xmca coinage, but I notice
that Kozulin uses it in his "Vygotsky's psychology", p. 170!)
The Vygotsky we have here is the Vygotsky who is breaking away from an analysis
purely based on the instrumental act. That's why he's unhappy with the
idea of reducing activity to task and task to goal. He's also the one who is
looking at the idea of uniting disparate lines of development into a
"psychological system", without any very clear idea of exactly how or
why this comes about.
The version available in the Vygotsky Reader also clears up some mysteries of
the Minick translation. For example:
a) In the second para of the passages Mike sent around, there's an
interesting sentence missing "It is precisely this method (of defining
concepts) which has been adopted in the majority of test based research."
This was apparently censored from the 1956 edition of Thinking and Speech that
Minick used.
b) The thing I queried last time, about whether Vygotsky thought that the
Sakharov study supported the contention that ALL higher mental functions are
mediated processes. The French and Italian translations agree with the Vygotsky
Reader, not with Minick.
David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education 
I find this part very
--- On Thu, 12/18/08, Mike Cole <> wrote:

From: Mike Cole <>
Subject: [xmca] Passages from Chapter 5 of LSV
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
Date: Thursday, December 18, 2008, 1:21 PM

I have had a number of questions about Ch5 and David has been writing about
it. Probably
a lot of XMCA-ites do not have it to hand. So here it is attached if you
wish to join or follow
the discussion.
xmca mailing list

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Received on Thu Dec 18 23:26:29 2008

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