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Re: [xmca] Honestly....

Thank you Andy for pointing out the genesis of this thread.  For me, 
ruminating on innateness and intersubjectivity began with the Fonagy et. 
al. article and that was provided via a member of the XMCA community. 

I tried to search the archives but could not find the initial link to the 
article and a search on google illicited nothing.  Whoever posted the 
intitial link to the Fonagy et. al. article pertaining to the Parent/Child 
Dyad could they please repost? 

I can say that the article does not necessarily counterpose 
intersubjectivity with innateness but rather discusses the important 
attachment aspect of human development from a "biological" standpoint. 
Fonagy thoerizes that the biological attachment provides a human to 
"mentalize" the emotions within their attachment to others.  Fonagy is 
theorizing that this attachment is not innate.  He is however suggesting 
that theories of human development that discuss intersubjectivity make 
general assumptions about humans having an innate social drive.  My 
appreciation for the Fonagy article comes from the clinical standpoint of 
working with the mentally ill.  However. . . honestly I don't have a clear 
picture yet of what part this attachment plays into the development of 
higher mental functions when viewed from a person's ability to gain 
conceptual reasoning.  Perahps intersubjectivity is the playground of the 
formation of higher mental functions?  From a practitioner standpoint I 
have seen clear evidence that the lack of attachment in infancy can 
greatly impact an adolescent's ability to function in the social realm. 

I can also say that I thoroughly enjoy great minds providing insight into 
this very difficult topic.  Vera I hope you have more to say!


Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
Sent by: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu
04/27/2010 06:20 AM
Please respond to ablunden; Please respond to "eXtended Mind, Culture, 

        cc:     "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
        Subject:        Re: [xmca] Honestly....

Louise, Carol,

As you know, I'm not talking from my own research, just what 
I have read by Ilyenkov and A I Meshcheryakov, so I am open 
to being proved wrong by people who have actually researched 
the topic. But I actually don't see the observations that 
either of you have raised as contradicting the point I 
wanted to make.

It is obvious that human organisms are born (or gestated, 
whatever the word is) with characteristics which are only 
later realized. If there is no basis for flying in the human 
baby, it cannot learn to fly. But whatever is in the 
organism is only realized though interaction with other 
people in culturally determined forms of use of cultural 

The "Honestly ..." thread began with Eric counterposing 
innateness to intersubjective construction. Apart from the 
need to distinguish intersubjective from the societal and 
cultural, my claim was (1) these two forms are not mutually 
exclusive alternatives, and (2) even the propensity for 
"intersubjective construction" was not simply innate, but 
had to be fostered. In other words, exactly the point you 
are making Carol. Left without responsive adults, a child 
cannot develop a social sense.


Carol Macdonald wrote:
> Andy
> I am not sure that I agree with you about there being no innate drive. 
> There is psychological data to show that orphan children, who are simply 

> dumped in a cot and has no interaction with a caregiver (except for 
> getting a bottle) either grow up impoverished socially, or worse, die. 
> Luckily, since we know that, crèches are a bit more caring.
> Carol
> On 26 April 2010 16:52, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net 
> <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>     Eric, I think it quite possible to hold at the same time different
>     positions on intersubjectivity and on the question of
>     innate/acquired. There is no doubt that there are social animals
>     whose sociality is innate and who can therefore acquire new skills
>     socially. But I believe CHAT is a current of thought which holds
>     that becoming human is possible only through interaction with other
>     people using culturally acquired artefacts (i.e., intersubjectivity
>     plus artefacts), but even the tendency to engage in interaction is
>     acquired only because other human beings around the child "summon"
>     the child to interaction. There is no innate drive to sociality in
>     human beings. A. I. Meshcheryakov's book is definitive on this
>     question I believe.
>     Does that answer your question, Eric? I wasn't sure I got your
>     meaning exactly.
>     Andy
>     ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org <mailto:ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org> wrote:
>         ....didn't realize equating Piaget with intersubjectivity would
>         create a conflaguration of misunderstanding.
>         Am I incorrect in my understanding of intersubjectivity?  I
>         believe it to be based on innate abilities rather than
>         appropriated skills.  Perhaps Bahktin did not write on this, I
>         must admit I am shallow in my understanding of Bahktin.
>         Initially in my study of LSV and the CHAT tradition I was a
>         person who prioritized innate abilities but as I have studied
>         and practiced teaching I have come to  realize that being human
>         IS developed via interactions and attachments.  Biological
>         genetics must play into it but I have a hard time believing that
>         intersubjectivity is biological in nature.
>         Am I talking in circles or drowing in misunderstanding?
>         eric
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Andy Blunden http://home.mira.net/~andy/ +61 3 9380 9435 
Skype andy.blunden
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