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Events Before Anything

  • Wolff-Michael Roth
Chapter
Part of the Cultural Psychology of Education book series (CPED, volume 9)

Abstract

In Chap.  1, I show how classical psychological theorizing is ontologically based on the primacy of material and ideal things. The material things are located in Cartesian space, which is treated as the substrate for the relationship between material and geometrical bodies. Ideal things, on the other hand, are non-spatial and ephemeral. In cognitive psychology, this eventually has led to the question about how thought and mind are grounded and how concepts (theory, ideals) come to be related to the material world – the symbol grounding problem in the cognitive sciences. Interpreters of cultural psychology do not operate differently, so that the thing (object) becomes a Trojan horse by means of which Cartesian thinking enters and comes to dominate even those theories said to be about “(practical) activity.” This includes (rightly or wrongly) the theory that Vygotsky developed and also the one by his student A. N. Leont’ev, which today goes under the name of cultural-historical activity theory. As shown in Fig. 2.6 below, a mediational triangle –whether in Vygotsky’s original form or that build on the Helsinki interpretation of Leont’ev’s work – epitomizes the thinking in terms of objects; and the relations in those triangles also are things. Sign-things and tool-things come to stand between a person-thing and another person-thing or a material object-thing; or a tool stands between subject and object, a subject stands between division of labor and the object of activity. All these are things with external relation-things that are such so that other things can come to stand between and thereby mediate them.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolff-Michael Roth
    • 1
  1. 1.University of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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