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Re: [xmca] Consciousness, Piaget

Your multi-lingualism, as always, David, is very helpful, along with your
broad and close readings.

I am a very late comer to the issues of consciousness, having been raised in
the era when the term
was exorcized by American psychology. You can find my first halting steps at
coming to grips with
the idea in *Cultural Psychology, *in the chapter where I describe the
analysis of question-asking reading that Peg  Griffin invented and which I
still work with as a  teaching tool. There we replace the solid triangle
with a triangle that is "open at the front end" putting time along the
bottom line and having a gap
between the mediated and direct connections between subject and object. That
process of filling that
gap is the process of consciousness. This idea appears in a different
nascent form in analysis of
fixed images on the retina that can be found at
The fixed image data make clear that tripartate nature of HUMAN
consiousness, where discoordination is constituitive of consciousness.
elsewhere i have written about taking the russian term,
voobrazhenie  into-image-making as THE fundamental cognitive act.

All of these involve, I believe,
a) awareness
b) noticing
c) selection
d) potential anticipation

But there are so many more and many different ways of thinking of the
matter. False consciousness is a term I worry about a lot.

Color me self conscious.
On Thu, Sep 3, 2009 at 4:03 PM, David Kellogg <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com>wrote:

> Tony, Mike:
> We translated Piaget's "prise de conscience" as "seizure of consciousness",
> except that in Korean the verbal noun has the more psychological sense of
> "grasping" as when you grasp a meaning that you didn't really understand in
> a phrase that you have heard many times. So, to nominalize, the "prise de
> conscience" is the "graspture of awareness" or the "rapture of awareness".
> Every child is an awareness raptor.
> I think that one important thing to grasp here is that "conscience" in
> French is not really the homuncular "consciousness" we have in English, any
> more than it is the obvious false friend, the meaning of a moral
> "conscience" that we find in English writings on ethics. It has a number of
> OTHER meanings that attracted Vygotsky to Piaget, to wit:
> a) awareness
> b) noticing
> c) selection
> d) potential anticipation
> It seems to me that all of these can be conceptualized as moments in the
> passing of the child from a relatively passive, reactive state to a much
> more voluntary, volitional one.
> Last night, I was re-reading Engestrom's old book "Learning by Expanding",
> which some of our teachers are busy translating into Korean. In Chapter Five
> he does try to tackle the question that I think gives the "prise de
> conscience" its real importance, which is the question of whether and at
> what point learning is REVERSIBLE--at what point the laying down of
> socioculturally accumulated experience becomes the creation of new content
> for the next phase of sociocultural progress.
> I think Engestrom sees Vygotsky's preliminary considerations of history
> (which he describes, it seems to me incorrectly, as phenomenological), his
> laboratory experiments (what Paula and Carol replicated), his empirical
> classroom observations (Chapter Six of T&S) and his theorizing as moments of
> a single process which can be REVERSED in order to yield the next, higher
> phase of expansion. The first process works from outside in, and the second
> from inside out.
> The problem, it seems to me, is the crisis. the "prise de conscience" is
> really a crisis par excellence, and a crisis is by definition NOT
> reversible. For example, awareness is not simply the end point of noticing
> done backwards, nor is noticing the endpoint of attentional selection in
> reverse. Obviously, active anticipation requires awareness, noticing,
> and attentional selection, but not vice versa.
> So the crisis obeys different laws, and we can also expect post-critical
> development to be different from precritical development in important ways.
> In physics, a shock wave cannot, by definition, be understood with the same
> mathematics we use to describe continuous phenomenon. And the shock
> reverberates: if a crisis is generally restructuring, we have to expect that
> the laws of the next phase of social progress are going to be in some way
> fundamentally different.
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
> ---
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