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ABS404 - Methodological potential of cultural-historical psychology

3.1 Farther reaches of theoretical and methodological explorations
4:30 PM, Thursday 31 Aug 2017 (20 minutes)
1. Vygotsky’s scholarly endeavor is translational motion, in the course of which earlier developments become natural constituents of the later ones.
2. During the first years of his academic career, Vygotsky introduced a number of important assumptions that he developed later:
- Psychology may only be part of Natural Science.
- The subject of Natural Science (including Psychology) is a living system that is capable of self-development.
- The method of Psychology should consist in analyzing psychological units.
3. Vygotsky delineated the specific nature of people in his theory of verbal thinking, which he had no chance to finish:
- The subject of Psychology is the process of people’s interaction with their
social environment.
- The driving force of the intrapsychic world’s development is self-development which is based on a contradiction between meaning and sense.
- The person who gives birth to meanings is a totally new creature, i.e. a totally new subject of Natural Science.
4. Careful examination of Vygotsky’s ideas leads us to a number of assumptions that introduce drastic changes to our
understanding of the subject of psychological research:
- People obey social (rather than biological) laws alone, and it is for this very reason that people are social beings.
- Psychological research should follow the trajectory from the social to the biological, and not the other way.
- The subject of psychology (the social) should be understood as a process giving birth to its basic components (the biological) rather than an aggregate of components.
5. Thus, Vygotsky’s cultural-historical psychology seems to be a system that contains a significant methodological potential, rather than just a scientific theory.
Moscow State University of Psychology and Education (MSUPE)
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