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[xmca] RE: xmca Digest, Vol 75, Issue 6, Bladeless Knives Without Handles (David Kellogg) (mike cole)

> Hi Nick-- What are your ideas about Fernando's paper?
> mike  


Here are some of my thoughts on the paper by Gonzales Rey.

1. There are some interesting points in the paper, such as the idea of
a “generative character of human psyche”, and the concept of sense. .

2. I found what I felt were several inaccuracies in the interpretation  of the Vygotsky’s texts quoted by the author. A
typical example:  “in one of his chapters,
Vygotsky identified Marxist psychology as being part of objective psychology,
which also included other theoretical approaches such as behaviourism” (p. 259).
In this Chapter, which is Chapter 1 of the Psychology of Art, p 19 in the
English translation ,), Vygotsky says that American behaviourism, German
Gestalt psychology, reflexology and Marxist psychology are ATTEMTS which are led
by the general tendency of the psychology to the objectivism (see also the
first page of Psychology of Art). He means that  psychology is searching for  an objective method. I do not intepret this as
an identification of Marxist psychology (together with other theoretical
approaches) as being part of objective psychology. These approaches do not
constitute  objective psychology as its
parts. I can give at least a dozen other examples of such inaccuracies in this

3. The author presents  a new periodization
of the development of Vygotsky’s thought. However,  in doing this it would have made sense for the
author to make clear why he thinks this is needed.  In other words, it should be somehow
explained what is wrong in existing periodisations made by other researchers,
or at least what is not taken into account. I found nothing about this in the
article. Second, periodisation  if not
done appropriately can be a superficial description of the periods and moments
of development  One  could create a hundred different periodisations
of Vygotsky’s thought on this basis. Periodisation makes sense if it opens and
explains the grounds, the reasons and moving forces (contradictions) which led
to the transition from one stage of development of thought to another. Why did Vygotsky
move from the “first moment” to the “second moment” and then to the third one?
What caused him to do this? Was there a logic to the development of his thought
and in his changing of his views? What was wrong or incomplete in the first “moment”
and what caused him to change the whole approach twice? Without this, the
periodisation is nothing more than a superficial description of periods,
transitions and “moments”. Description is important,  but an explanation of these transitions is
required to make a periodisation valid as a tool of understanding. This
requires deep knowledge of Vygotsky’s texts, this requires deep comparative
analysis of the concepts and terminology, this requires the careful restoration
of various lines in development of Vygotsky’s thoughts. So it is not an easy
task. The author does not offer any explanations for the grounds for these transitions.
 He just indicates three moments and
describes them. 

5. In my view, the legacy of Vygotsky is deeper and wider than just cultural-historical
theory, as the author claims. Yet, I do not see any novelty in this assertion.
Some of Vygotsky’s ideas, according to the author, remain undiscovered and
underestimated. Here again I do not see any novelty. Recent papers by
Zavershneva (unfortunately the author does not demonstrate his acquaintance
with them, despite his knowledge of Russian) bring new light to the periods of
Vygotsky’s theoretical evolution. Her articles are based on new materials from
Vygotsky’ archive, which have remained unknown for a long time.  As I understand them, these materials
contradict the author’s description of Vygotsky’s three moments or
periods.   This might be an interesting the topic for future

Nikolai Veresov  

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