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Re: [xmca] Dialects of Development- Sameroff

Way out of my depth in discussing play, but here is my take on "what is the motivation for play?"

I don't think we can or want to ascribe a motivation for participating in play *in general*. I.e., the question of "why does a child play?" cannot sensibly be answered by the child. But this still leaves the question of the motivation for any particular play activity: what is it that is motivating a child when they play?

It seems to me that every action a child takes can be explicable in terms of its being part of a project, and the "Why are you doing that?" question gets the same kind of answer as it would for an adult at work.

A different kind of explanation is required for why a child is drawn to participate in what is after all an "imaginary" project, then gun does not fire bullets, the money is not coin of the realm, etc. I think in answering the question at that level we look at problems the child faces in being exlcuded from the real world and their attempts to overcome that. I don't know. But from the beginning a child it trying to extricate themselves from the trap of childishness.


mike cole wrote:
Your helixes/helices seemed appropriate to the discussion, Martin.
XXX-history is cultural-historical genesis. And, as Steve suggested,
the twisted rope of many strands may be at the end of the rainbow of

I have been pondering David Ke's question about the
object/objective/motivation for play. It came together in my thinking with
Yrjo's metaphor of being always "just over the horizon" and its dual
material and ideal nature, most recently mentioned by Wolf-Michael. Might it
be the dream of being coordinated with a world entirely consistent with
one's own dreams? A world, extending, as Leslie White put it, that extends
from infinity to infinity, in both directions?

probably not, just wondering.

On Mon, Mar 15, 2010 at 2:55 PM, Martin Packer <packer@duq.edu> wrote:


I didn't mean to detract from the discussion with my playful helices. I
haven't found time yet to read Sameroff's article, so I don't know if he is
proposing that there is an antimony between nature and nurture in human
development, or in our *conceptions* of development. I took Mike to be
suggesting, in his recent message, that when we pay attention to culture we
can transcend that antimony, since culture is a 'second nature' that
provides nurture, and since culture is the medium in which human brains and
bodies grow, and since all nurture offered to the growing child is mediated
by culture, and since culture has been transforming human nature throughout
anthropogenesis through its selective evolutionary pressures.

Eric, yes, I should have added phylogenesis, not just biological evolution.
What then is the "XX-genesis" term for history?


On Mar 14, 2010, at 9:55 PM, Larry Purss wrote:

It seems the double or triple helix is a significant way of trying to
configure dynamic processes.  However, what the particular specific double
helix referred to in the article is pointing to is a very specific tension
BETWEEN two specific constructs "Nature" and "nurture".  The current debates
raging about neuroscience on the one side and the tension with relational
notions of development on the other hand (ie the
self-other-object/representation triangle) suggest a dialectical tension
which the article says may be INHERENT to development.  To me this is asking
a question about how the mind constructs significant social representations.
 What is specific about this particular double helix is the HISTORICAL
salience of this SPECIFIC ANTIMONY through centuries of dialogue and theory.
My question is "Is there significance to the extended duration of this
specific antimony through centuries. Does this historical engagement with
the specific notions of nature and nurture have relevance for CHAT
discussions.  This is not to say other double or triple helix models may not
have more explanatory power but that is not the specific question asked in
the article. The question being asked specifically is if this specific
nature/nurture antinomy is inherent to the notion of development? Other
double or triple helix's could be conceptualized within the nature/nurture
antinomy but the question I believe is being asked is how relevant a
dialectical (or alternatively dialogically) nature/nurture antinomy is to
our primary (ontological??) notions of Development as a social
When I read the article, it seemed to capture the tension we are
exploring about the place of neuroscience in our theories of development.
For some scholars one side or the other side is in ascendence and
historically one side or the other is in ascendence. What the article is
asking is if we must "INTEGRATE" what is often seen as in opposition and
realize nature/nurture is in a figure/ground type of relational pattern
(like the ying/yang visual representation) and the movement BETWEEN the two
positions is basic to development.
Do others have thoughts on the specific question Arnie has asked in his
article about the historical dynamic of the nature/nurture antinomy in
developmental theories as well as in ontological and cultural historical
development. This question speaks to me about the possible relevance of
Moscovici's theory of social representations.
One alternative answer is to generate other double or triple helix models
which may become social representations over time as they are debated in a
community of inquiry but the article as written is pointing to a very
salient social representation within our Western tradition. Does that
recognition of its historical roots change how we view this particular

----- Original Message -----
From: Martin Packer <packer@duq.edu>
Date: Sunday, March 14, 2010 4:59 pm
Subject: Re: [xmca] Dialects of Development- Sameroff
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>

That's right, Steve, though I'm pretty sure I didn't see this
title until after I made the diagram. And of course Lewontin is
referring to different factors. And, also, of course, collagen
actually does have a triple-helix structure, which Francis Crick
thought was more interesting than the double helix of DNA, but
which got very little attention.


On Mar 14, 2010, at 7:53 PM, Steve Gabosch wrote:

On the triple helix metaphor:  Richard Lewontin used it
in the title of his 1998/2000 collection of essays _The Triple
Helix: Gene, Organism and Environment_.  His core theme
regarding biological development is that solely considering the
interaction between gene and organism makes for bad
biology.   The environment has decisive influence as well.
- Steve

On Mar 14, 2010, at 10:20 AM, Martin Packer wrote:

On Mar 14, 2010, at 1:04 PM, Larry Purss wrote:

What do others think of the double helix (and/or the other
visual images in the article). How central is the double helix
(either as an "is Like" or "IS" objectification) to your notions
of the human sciences?

...and I am pretty sure I stole, I mean appropriated, this
from someone; I've forgotten who...
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