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[xmca] Types of Generalization: concepts and pseudoconcepts

I've now read the book, and fixed the typos as I went. Rather than posting another huge file, I have left Word and PDF versions of the corrected book at


The first 80 pages outline Davydov's critical thesis that because all educational psychologists, teachers and educational theorists are in the thrall of empiricist epistemology, formal logic and nominalist ontology (Empiricism for short), all educational curricula and methods have been designed under this methodology with the aim of inculcating this erroneous view in the minds of the pupils and their way of thinking.

Especially as this corresponds to the children's spontaneous epistemology learnt in everyday life, it actually acts as a barrier to children acquiring theoretical thought. The tendency to cover-up and apologize for the "abstract" nature of theoretical thought and try to blend it unnoticed with everyday content accentuates the problem. As a result children acquire scientific concepts with difficulty and much later.

Then follows interesting critical appropriations of Vygotsky, Rubenshtein and Piaget. I would particularly like XMCA to discuss pp. 81-88 in which Davydov repudiates Vygotsky-Sakharov's experiment re pseudoconcepts etc., on the basis of the foregoing distinction made between (proper) theoretical concepts and empirical (psuedo-) concepts.

After this interesting, if somewhat long-winded critical introduction, chapter 7 is a mind-numbingly boring exposition of diamat.

But chapter 8 pp 144-174 is a very interesting exposition of the result: Davydov's method for teaching theoretical topics to 2nd grade primary schoolers, including Russian grammar and algebra. This goes to the issues (though not the answers) to the "minus times minus equals plus" thread that has been running for several months: teachers really want to read this! Quite convincing in my view.

Please collect a corrected copy of the text from marxists.org and if no-one preempts me, I will open a debate in a few days' time on the question of pseudoconcepts.


Andy Blunden (Erythrós Press and Media) http://www.erythrospress.com/
Orders: http://www.erythrospress.com/store/main.html#books

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