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Re: [xmca] Hegel's CONCEPT, hermeneutical TRADITIONS, and GESTALTS

Well, there's so much there Larry, my response will be patchy.

Every current of thought offers different kinds of insight, and every current worthy of existence gives us something unique. I like to introduce a Hegelian perspective into these discussions all the time, because in my view Vygotsky is part of the same "genealogy" with Hegel, and so understanding Hegel often sheds light on aspects of Vygotsky's own thinking which may not be explicit.

Re tradition: in my limited reading, I associate "tradition" with Gadamer, and I assimilate it to ideas like genre or activity: - the larger, on-going system of activity of which an event or text or concept is a part, and a concrete concept in the Hegelian sense is commensurate with tradition in this sense.

I think some of the observations about Vygotsky you cite, though, are absolutely upside down. Hegel-Marx-Vygotsky does not really originate from the Englightenment, except in the trivial sense. In my reading Herder and Goethe were explicitly critics of the Enlightenment, viz., the Romantic Movement. It is the ideas of the Romantic movement, through Hegel and Marx, which continue to mark our current off from Kantian, Positivist, cognitivist current, neurobabblers and so on. Luria for example, explicitly identified with Romantic Science.

So the contrast between Vygotsky and what is characterised as "situationist" is about as wrong as it is possible to imagine. If one word could account for Vygotsky's approach to human reality it would be "collaboration." Have a read of something by Vera John-Steiner about this.


Larry Purss wrote:
Hi Andy

I wanted to think out loud about various discourses that are explored within
the CHAT community and how they are translated or transformed.

Andy I've been reflecting on how you are always reminding us of the power of
Hegel's idea of the CONCEPT as a triangular relationship  of the 1)
individual  2) particular and 3) the universal as aspects of every CONCEPT.
You also elaborate on how a CONCEPT is a historically situated artifactual
FORM OF LIFE that must be understood as a GESTALT which includes all
3 aspects of the triangle.  If we loose sight of any aspect of the triangle
their is no CONCEPT.

Now I seem to be biased to hermeneutical accounts that uses terms such as
"traditions" "horizon of understanding" "all accounts are biased" and
privilege a particular account within a tradition. This tradition embraces
"fallibility and uncertainty" in communities of inquiry as an ideal.

I am wondering how parallel these  accounts of CONCEPTS and TRADITIONS are?
and how these accounts differ?  From these perspectives CHAT could be seen
as a form of life that is a CONCEPT for Hegel and a tradition for
hermeneutical accounts.  My attraction to hermeneutical accounts is their
elaboration of the "imaginary" the "fictional" "pretense" "magic" "religion"
as legitimate forms of life to be taken into account.  The divide often
imposed on the paradigmatic accounts between the "real" and the "imaginary"
is a divide I question.

CONCEPTS & TRADITIONS are both notions that embrace "a way of life" as
central to their explanatory power. My question to you is do you see
parallels in these 2 CONCEPTS or traditions?

Another way of asking about " the place of fiction, & the imaginal in our
accounts of the social situation of development is how we understand the
notion of "truth" and  abstract universals in our accounts of situated
activity [interactivity]  Alan Costall and Ivan Leuder in an article make a
comment about Vygotsky as committed to the Enlightment ideal of ABSTRACT
RATIONALITY. {see"Situating Action I: Truth in the Situation" in the journal
Ecological Psychology 8(2), 101-110}

Costall and Leuder state,
"According to Vygotsky, the child starts by learning in the so-called zone
of proximal development, an essentially situated way of acting and learning.
Gradually, however, the child is supposed to internalize the social frames
and appropriate them, so that what initially was an interpersonal process
becomes an individual psychological competence.  The SITUATIONIST
alternative would be to regard development not as the individualization and
increased isolation of the subject, but as the increasing ability to partake
of what the social world can afford an individual capable of COLLABORATION
with others" (p. 104)

Andy, the above quote seems to privilege "collaboration and sociality" over
internalization and representations.  It also privileges EMERGENCE over
discovery of underlying truths.  These concepts or traditions privilege
RADICAL notions of self development as fundamentally MUTUALLY CONSTITUTED
and seem to fit into Hegel's notion of CONCEPTS.  This account
privileges two aspects of Hegel's CONCEPT [the individual and the
particular].  It is the universal side of the triangle that is
being critiqued by Costall & Leuder as needing to be de-emphasized.

What do you think?

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*Andy Blunden*
Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
Videos: http://vimeo.com/user3478333/videos
Book: http://www.brill.nl/scss

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