Re: [xmca] Passages from Chapter 5 of LSV

From: Paul Dillon <phd_crit_think who-is-at>
Date: Wed Dec 31 2008 - 00:51:31 PST


I'm really struck by your question as to whether David finds your counter-proposal (i.e., LSV developing (e.g., cultivating, growing) his ideas dialectically (e.g., seed, sprout, vegetative, florescent))  reasonable, (I am supposing)  in contrast to David's interrpretation that " ...he was constantly throwing everything away and starting over from the beginning.

 Insofar as every question presupposes a range of answers (a domain), what is the domain over which you expect a response?

 Do you imagine a willow might become an oak upon reflection?  Are you casting flies? 

I'm curious.


--- On Tue, 12/30/08, Martin Packer <> wrote:
From: Martin Packer <>
Subject: Re: [xmca] Passages from Chapter 5 of LSV
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
Date: Tuesday, December 30, 2008, 1:24 PM


For a while - at least ever since reading Norris Minick's Introduction
(which is insightful in many ways) - I've been thinking that Vygotsky
so much change his mind as develop in his thinking dialectically. I know
that's in danger of sounding cliched, but I think I have found places in
texts where his earlier concepts are not simply abandoned or erased, but
truly aufgehoben (it's that grammatically correct) - maintained and
at the same time.

I haven't had the time to pursue this point systematically, and right now I
can't even offer an example (though if I were try to find one it would one
where reflexes show up again in his late writings). But does the suggestion
strike you as resonable?


On 12/30/08 12:14 PM, "David Kellogg"
<> wrote:

> Second the motion! I think that one of the reasons why LSV is SO impatient
> with Stern (and also Werner) is that he really can't understand
thinkers who
> never change their minds. LSV had only ten years to work (and thought he
> less). Yet he was constantly throwing everything away and starting over
> the beginning. That's courage.
> But of course that means that almost everything we read of Vygotsky's
has to
> be read dendrochronologically, the way we look at tree rings. This is
> particularly true of Thinking and Speech, parts of which data from 1929
> (Chapter Four) and parts from 1931 (Chapter Five) and parts from his
> (Chapter Six and Seven).
> LSV is always going on about geological strata (Kretschmer). But perhaps
> the best metaphor for reading somebody who scribbles over everything
he's ever
> done every three or four years would be archaeological, or better yet,
> textological: a palimpsest.
> So far the most useful guide to the Vygotskyan palimpsest I've read on
this to
> date is Minick's intro to Thinking and Speech, now reprinted as the
very first
> chapter in Daniels' mistitled "Introduction (sic) to
Vygotsky", 2005,
> Routledge.
> Minick's palimpsestization (?) corresponds very well to most other
> periodizations, including Veresov (though Veresov adds a pre-Marxist
> from before 1924 which for rather tendentious reasons he finds very
> important). It will be VERY interesting to see if the work Jonna mentions
> confirms it.
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
> --- On Tue, 12/30/08, Mike Cole <> wrote:
> From: Mike Cole <>
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Passages from Chapter 5 of LSV
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
> Cc: "Jussi Silvonen" <>
> Date: Tuesday, December 30, 2008, 8:58 AM
> We would welcome Jussi's input, thanks Jonna. We almost have a
> of
> psych" group here on
> xmca at presentl. Perhaps a strength we should find a way to use better.
> mike
>> a
>> Mike Cole kirjoitti 29.12.2008 kello 2.55:
>> Ooops, forgot to cc boris on my reply to david. He is author of,
>>> other
>>> interesting articles, the article on "LSV's
> 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
> I will
>>>> cc boris meshcheryakov who will know, if anybody does.
>>>> mike
>>>> On Thu, Dec 25, 2008 at 10:42 PM, David Kellogg <
>>>>> On p. 131 of Chapter Five, LSV already has the concept of
>>>>> 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
> 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
> change?
>>>>> That
>>>>> is not clear. One possible answer is "activity",
> 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
> LSV is
>>>>> using
>>>>> "activity" in a non-technical sense, it is
> 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
> between
>>>>> functions change, the functions DO change internally as
> 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
> the goal,
>>>>> which is not to make an imaginary situation but to win a
> prize.
>>>>> So why does Vygotsky stress in this passage that the basic
> processes of
>>>>> attention, association, judgment, representation, and
> do not
>>>>> actually change? I think there are two reasons.
>>>>> First of all, he is trying to critically appropriate the
> of people
>>>>> like Buhler who deny that there is anything fundamentally
> in the
>>>>> transitional age. His way of doing this is to say that
> are correct,
>>>>> but
>>>>> they are ignoring the way in which the familiar old
> 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
>>>>> David Kellogg
>>>>> Seoul National University of Education
>>>>> _______________________________________________
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