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Re: [xmca] Consciousness, Piaget

check this out:


On Fri, 4 Sep 2009, Haydi Zulfei wrote:

And what about animals' mind-activities , lacking a consciousness ? or do they have just brains ?

--- On Fri, 9/4/09, Mike Cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [xmca] Consciousness, Piaget
To: "Carol Macdonald" <carolmacdon@gmail.com>
Cc: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Date: Friday, September 4, 2009, 3:21 PM

Carol-- You mean it is outside of the brain? It IS mind-activity.

On Fri, Sep 4, 2009 at 6:17 AM, Carol Macdonald <carolmacdon@gmail.com>wrote:

Carol  Macdonald says
Many years ago (in 1976 exactly) when I read Piaget's theory of
perception,  he put consciousness between the subject and object. It is
outside of the mind.  Much later I wondered whether this conception would
somehow fit with  LVS's perception of mind. Can anybody comment on this
primitive perception?

2009/9/4 Mike Cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>

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
the era when the term
was exorcized by American psychology. You can find my first halting steps
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.
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

Tony, Mike:

We translated Piaget's "prise de conscience" as "seizure of
except that in Korean the verbal noun has the more psychological sense
"grasping" as when you grasp a meaning that you didn't really understand
a phrase that you have heard many times. So, to nominalize, the "prise
conscience" is the "graspture of awareness" or the "rapture of
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,
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
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
which some of our teachers are busy translating into Korean. In Chapter
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
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),
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,
phase of expansion. The first process works from outside in, and the
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
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
In physics, a shock wave cannot, by definition, be understood with the
mathematics we use to describe continuous phenomenon. And the shock
reverberates: if a crisis is generally restructuring, we have to expect
the laws of the next phase of social progress are going to be in some
fundamentally different.

David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education


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"those who fail to reread
 are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
                  -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
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