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RE: [xmca] Smolucha - pronunciation/genealogy (Systems of functions & Aristotelian concepts)

Message from Francine Smolucha:
Thank you for articulating this point so well.
Just as there are different schools of psychoanalytic thought,there are different approaches to Vygotsky's writings.We can agree to disagree, and hopefully this discussion will lead tonew insights and practical applications.
At the moment, we seem to have four variations on Vygotsky's theory:
(1) The traditional (original) view of higher mental functions as consciously directed by means of the internalized verbal guidance of a more knowledgeable person(supported by neuroscience research on the executive function of the cerebral cortices).
(2) Activity Theory including CHAT.
(3) Anton's new formulation of CHGP (Cultural Historical Gestalt Psychology)which seems to me to be a Cultural Historical General Systems Theory.
(4) Wertsch's Socio-Cultural perspective.
Note: There is a lot of empirical research supporting the traditional approach and it weakens theauthority of Vygotsky's theory in the social sciences and in the field of education,if it is rejected. [Piaget's theory is regarded as having gone through three stages in 60 years, butI do not recall Piagetians attacking Piaget's early work.]

> Date: Sat, 23 Jun 2012 13:21:47 +1000
> From: ablunden@mira.net
> To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Smolucha - pronunciation/genealogy (Systems of functions	& Aristotelian concepts)
> Anton, it is good to hear that you have been able to determine that 
> Vygotsky was growing and learning right up to the end of his short life, 
> and that he remained self-critical throughout. These are essential 
> virtues for a writer who is to be not only a contributor of epoch-making 
> ideas, but in themselves authoritative.
> For a variety of reasons I, along with many others, are much more 
> familiar with the exegesis of Hegel and Marx than I am of Vygotsky. 
> During the 20th century, largely under the impact of the discovery and 
> translation of new texts, and also in response to the needs of the times 
> or to correct previous one-sidedness, both these writers underwent a 
> process that Vygotsky is being subject to. This self-development and 
> self-criticism is interpreted adversely. Along with the publication of 
> certain texts, the world discovered "The Young Hegel" and "The Young 
> Marx" which were in turn contrasted in a dichotomous way with "The Old 
> Hegel" and " The Mature Marx." I won't go into the theoretical disputes 
> and movements which rested on these *dichotomies*, but just observe that 
> in each case there was a real development of the writer's thinking at 
> the root of the dichotomy. But in my view, the severing of the writers' 
> oeuvres into mutual alien bodies with each being given *evaluative* 
> characterisations - "immature," "conservative", "romantic", 
> "mechanical," etc - did a great disservice to the appropriation of the 
> writers' ideas for our times. In each of the cases I have found that the 
> earlier work is an essential means of understanding the significance of 
> the later work/writer. Dichotomies which place diminutive or dismissive 
> labels on either the earlier work or the later work block understanding. 
> A writer is a whole person. Their intellectual work can only be 
> understood as part of a single project (usually, there are a few 
> exceptions) and as a part of their times - their intellectual and social 
> context.
> The kind of work you do is of course invaluable for helping people grasp 
> Vygotsky's ideas as part of a developmental process which continues even 
> after the author dies. But I think the severing of a writer's working 
> life with dichotomous and evaluative characterisations can actually be 
> demoralising. That such dichotomies can be based on the author's own 
> self-critical words is neither here nor there. We all have our favourite 
> Marx, our favourite Hegel and our favourite Vygotsky. But we know that 
> what is particularly appealing for our own project was part of a process 
> and is best (even only) understood as part of that process.
> Anyway, that's my reaction.
> Andy
> Anton Yasnitsky wrote:
> > Andy, 
> >
> > I regard mediation etc.pretty vague and, therefore, virtually 
> > meaningless. Also I regard the whole research program of Vygotsky 
> > Circle of their instrumental period of 1920s
> > mechanistic indeed, and this conclusion I borrow primarily from 
> > Vygotsky's own texts in which he severely criticized their own ideas 
> > of that period.
> >
> > Finally, yes, I do find the sharp separation of all psychological 
> > functions (whatever this means) into either the higher or the lower 
> > binary, rigid, valuative, and pretty much Aristotelian, 
> > in Lewin's terminology. Under Lewin's strong influence Vygotsky 
> > realized the flaw in his conceptual system and made a serious effort 
> > at making the transition from
> > Aristotelian to Galileian in his own thinking, but, quite 
> > unfortunately, by the time this transition in many respects was made, 
> > he did not have too much time to  live:
> > a couple of years, not more. Which is a pity, indeed.
> >
> > AY
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > *From:* Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
> > *To:* Anton Yasnitsky <the_yasya@yahoo.com>; "eXtended Mind, Culture, 
> > Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> > *Sent:* Thursday, June 21, 2012 10:58:37 PM
> > *Subject:* Re: [xmca] Smolucha - pronunciation/genealogy (Systems of 
> > functions)
> >
> > So Anton, you regard mediation of psychlogical functions by cultural 
> > artefacts as "mechanistic" and "binary"?
> > Andy
> >
> > Anton Yasnitsky wrote:
> > > Martin,
> > >
> > > Right, this is exactly my point: much criticized for fairly 
> > mechanistic distinction between the lower and the higher in his 
> > earlier work of 1920s, Vygotsky rejected this binary opposition in his 
> > later writings of the 1930, although he kept using  phrases "higher 
> > functions" or, rather, "higher processes" and the like.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> -- 
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> Joint Editor MCA: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hmca20/18/1
> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> Book: http://www.brill.nl/concepts
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