The Essential Vygotsky by David K. Robinson & Robert W. Rieber

The Essential Vygotsky by David K. Robinson & Robert W. Rieber

Author:David K. Robinson & Robert W. Rieber
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Springer-Verlag Wien 2012
Published: 2013-09-11T16:00:00+00:00

But the very statement of the questions, the use of one or the other psychological term, always implies a certain way of understanding them which corresponds to some theory, and consequently the whole factual result of the investigation stands or falls with the correctness or falsity of the psychological system. Seemingly very exact investigations, observations, or measurements may, therefore, prove false, or in any case lose their meaning when the meaning of the basic psychological theories is changed. Such crises, which destroy or depreciate whole series of facts, have occurred more than once in science. Lange compares them to an earthquake that arises due to deep deformations in the depths of the earth. Such was [the case with] the fall of alchemy. The dabbling that is now so widespread in science, i.e., the isolation of the technical executive function of the investigation—chiefly the maintenance of the equipment according to a well-known routine—from scientific thinking, is noticeable first of all in the breakdown of scientific language. In principle, all thoughtful psychologists know this perfectly well: in methodological investigations the terminological problem which requires a most complex analysis instead of a simple note takes the lion’s share. Rickert regards the creation of unequivocal terminology as the most important task of psychology which precedes any investigation, for already in primitive description we must select word meanings which “by generalizing simplify” the immense diversity and plurality of the mental phenomena [Binswanger, 1922, p. 26]. Engels [1925/1978, p. 553] essentially expressed the same idea in his example from chemistry:

In organic chemistry the meaning of some body and, consequently, its name are no longer simply dependent upon its composition, but rather upon its place in the series to which it belongs. That is why its old name becomes an obstacle for understanding when we find that a body belongs to such a series and must be replaced by a name that refers to this series (paraffin, etc.).


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