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RE: [xmca] Pseudoconcept, Preconcept, Potential Concept

It always struck me that a pseudo-concept was a sub-category of pre-concepts, a very advanced type of complex in which superficially it resembles full concepts, but underneath the connection between ideas are lateral and are not really logically connected within a larger general system.  So say in a moral situation a child says that it is wrong to steal because you are taking what is not yours.  If you stopped with getting that answer from the child you might assume that they had a pretty good concept of the concepts of property, ownership, belonging, reciprocity, take your pick.  But perhaps where the child got it from was they were sitting in a room where their father was watching the news.  He talks about how the bankers are stealing people's money.  The child asks the father why he thinks the bankers are stealing.  The father says they are playing and paying themselves with money that doesn't belong to them.  The child connects the ideas of stealing, taking something that doesn't belong to you, and doing something wrong together in a complex string, but really has not connected it into the larger concept of stealing.


From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu on behalf of David Kellogg
Sent: Fri 6/18/2010 7:40 PM
To: xmca
Subject: [xmca] Pseudoconcept, Preconcept, Potential Concept

What EXACTLY is the relationship between these three terms? Attached is an essay-lette by Paula which tries to address this question on the basis of Chapter Five which she has kindly allowed me to distribute.
Paula argues, suitably, that there are really THREE different processes here.
a) The child's ability to GENERALIZE, to impose SIMILARITIES on top of differences. Vygotsky calls this the ability to create generalized representations and notes that the result may look like a concept, act like a concept, but it is structurally not a concept (because it lacks voluntary abstraction)
b) The child's ability to ISOLATE and ABSTRACT AWAY traits such as color, weight, size from other traits. Vygotsky sees this as as the very opposite tendency from generalization, because it involves focussing on how one trait is different from another (and consequently allows the child to differentiate traits within the object itself and not simply between them. 
c) The child's ability to FREE him/herself from the visual field. Vygotsky sees this as one of the key byproducts of play, and it seems to me that this more than anything else is what divides him from Piaget, for whom all play is a form of assimilation rather than a liberation from the perceptual field.
Do these three different processes correspond to three different terminologies? That is, does the pseudoconcept correspond to the product of generalization, the preconcept to the process of abstraction, and the potential concept to that of liberatoin from the visual field?
Paula doesn't think so. Paula says that the pseudoconcept, the preconcept, and the potential concept are three alternative terms for the same thing: a elusive rope bridge connecting the complexive formations and the true concept that must necessarily include three strands.
David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education



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