Re: [xmca] Passages from Chapter 5 of LSV

From: Jonna Kangasoja <jonna.kangasoja who-is-at>
Date: Tue Dec 30 2008 - 03:37:52 PST

Mike and others,

Jussi Silvonen (nowadays working in the Unversity of Joensuu) has
published on the topic, both in Finnish and in English. The most
recent article is 'Vygotsky's plural discourse on the human mind'.
The first version of the article was presented in ISCAR Seville 2005
in our symposium on activity theory and semiotics.

I cc this message to Jussi and will also ask him today whether the
article could be posted as a discussion paper. It is a very nice and
comprehensive argument about the phases and epistemological breaks in
LSV's thinking.

Jussi is one of the few Finnish scholars specialized in the theory
history of psychology, certainly he is the leading one with main
interest in cultural historical psychology.

best, Jonna

Mike Cole kirjoitti 29.12.2008 kello 2.55:

> Ooops, forgot to cc boris on my reply to david. He is author of,
> among other
> interesting articles, the article on "LSV's terminology" in the
> Daniels et
> al
> Cambridge companion to vygotsky.
> I forwarded the message to him.
> mike
> On Sun, Dec 28, 2008 at 4:52 PM, Mike Cole <> wrote:
>> Thanks for these observations and inferences, David.
>> The task of reconstructing the chronology of LSV's thinking is a
>> formidable
>> one. I wonder if anyone anywhere has published such a chronology.
>> I will
>> cc boris meshcheryakov who will know, if anybody does.
>> mike
>> On Thu, Dec 25, 2008 at 10:42 PM, David Kellogg
>> <>wrote:
>>> On p. 131 of Chapter Five, LSV already has the concept of the
>>> psychological system, that is, the linkage of disparate functions
>>> into a
>>> single Gestalt, e.g. attention, association, judgement,
>>> representation, and
>>> motivation in activity.
>>> But he denies that this linkage of disparate functions has any
>>> effect on
>>> the functions themselves. The relations between functions change.
>>> But the
>>> functions themselves do not change.
>>> Now, what causes the relationships between these functions to
>>> change? That
>>> is not clear. One possible answer is "activity", and that is the
>>> answer that
>>> activity theorists give. But we can see that LSV is not entirely
>>> satisfied
>>> with this answer.
>>> There are two problems. The first is that as Mike pointed out LSV
>>> is using
>>> "activity" in a non-technical sense, it is really just the task
>>> plus the
>>> contraints. (Note that Prout actually translates "task" as
>>> "problem"). In
>>> other words, an "activity" is just a subject, an object, and a
>>> tool. That
>>> brings us back to the old stimulus-response unit with mediating
>>> artefact!
>>> The second is that Vygotsky suspects that when the relations between
>>> functions change, the functions DO change internally as well. We
>>> know, for
>>> example, that when role play is reconstrued as rule based games,
>>> the "roles"
>>> of rule based games are quite different, more abstract. So is the
>>> goal,
>>> which is not to make an imaginary situation but to win a real prize.
>>> So why does Vygotsky stress in this passage that the basic
>>> processes of
>>> attention, association, judgment, representation, and mindset do not
>>> actually change? I think there are two reasons.
>>> First of all, he is trying to critically appropriate the work of
>>> people
>>> like Buhler who deny that there is anything fundamentally new in the
>>> transitional age. His way of doing this is to say that they are
>>> correct, but
>>> they are ignoring the way in which the familiar old functions are
>>> united in
>>> a new Gestalt.
>>> Secondly, this is old work, first carried out in 1929 and written
>>> up some
>>> time in 1931. LSV has not yet conceptualized the actual mechanism
>>> by which
>>> differentiation takes place WITHIN functions and not just BETWEEN
>>> them. That
>>> does not happen until 1932, when he formulates the zone of proximal
>>> development, and he does not write about it until Chapter Six.
>>> David Kellogg
>>> Seoul National University of Education
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> xmca mailing list
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