The problem of consciousness in Vygotsky’s cultural-historical psychology
Essay on the theory of consciousness in Vygotsky's cultural-historical psychology
The author refl ects upon the book The Sources of cultural-historical psychology: philosophical-humanitarian context by V. Zinchenko, B. Pruzhinin, T. Schedrina. Moscow, 2010.
Along with the fast growing economy, the term «BRICs» was coined to represent the newly emerging countries — Brazil, Russia, India and China. The enhanced economy in these countries has largely improved peoples life; at the same time, it has also strongly influenced the transformation of social structure, norms and values. However, as the worlds attention centers on their economic development at the micro level, the social changes at the micro level have often been neglected, and a specific comparative study of these four countries is even more rare. This handbooks contributing authors are leading sociologists in the four countries. They fill the gap in existing literature and examine specifically the changes in each society from the perspective of social stratification, with topics covering the main social classes, the inequality of education and income, and the different styles of consumption as well as the class consciousness and values. Under every topic, it gathers articles from authors of each country. Such a comparative study could not only help us achieve a better understanding of the economic growth and social development in these countries, but also lead us to unveil the mystery of how these emerging powers with dramatic differences in history, geography, culture, language, religion and politics could share a common will and take joint action. In general, the handbook takes a unique perspective to show readers that it is the profound social structural changes in these countries that determine their future, and to a large extent, will shape the socio-economic landscape of the future world.
The chapter discusses convergence in the development of cognitive science (emergence of such new research areas as embodied cognition, embedded cognition, emotional cognition, distributed cognition and new studies in cognitive development) and the fundamental principles of cultural-historical psychology.
The first part of this book is devoted to the old problem of fundamental motivations that can hardly be approached in another way, other than theoretically. The second part of the book is devoted to new or rather marginal concepts that seem capable to enrich general models of motivational processes. Part three of the book deals with the issues of self-regulation and self-determination; in the last two decades the problems of motivation can be hardly dealt with without touching these issues. The focus of the last part of the book is cultural context and cultural mediation of motivation. This book was planned not as a collection of discoveries to be considered, but rather as a collection of nontrivial views that may turn helpful for making a better sense of the discoveries actually made. (Imprint: Nova)
This article advances the idea of cultural and individual values being connected to each other not directly, but through the consciousness and activity, which presupposes the integral unity of cultural-historic methodological approach and the activity methodological approach in psychological researches. Activity effects mainly on forming of the consciousness and personality: it underlies them. In the cultural-historic approach such basis, in a way, a unit of analysis of consciousness and personality, is a value-oriented experience. The necessity of integration of the activity approach with cultural-historic approach lies in the integral ontology of psyche, behavior, activity, experience, sense, consciousness, personality, culture and its values.
The author analyses a number of conceptions that determine self-identification as dependent from self-reference and self-ascription and shows that the conceptions allows to explain the possibility of a formal but not a real basis of self-identity.
The article deals with the clauses or preconditions of language and culture acquisition. Following G. G. Shpet, A. A. Uchtomsky, M. Heidegger, N. A. Bernshtein and V. V. Bibikhin, the author qualifies them as «pre-experiential origin». This «origin» is regarded as direct intelligible intuition, spiritual integral, non-differentiated unity: I understand, I think, I can. Spontaneous character of this origin does not mean its primitiveness. Non-mediated pre-experiential origin develops in its differentiation that comes to life in joint activity, in interflowing communication giving birth to multiple forms of culture-mediated behavior. Development of these forms hampers perception and understanding of the world in its immediacy but also enriches these acts. Interchange and interaction of the immediate and the mediated is regarded as a necessary condition of human development and productive activity. The author questions the idea of division psychological functions into natural and cultural (higher), assumed in cultural-historical psychology.
Theory of consciousness as a system of activities