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Title: Vygotsky and his critics : philosophy and rationality
Author: Derry, Janice.
Awarding Body: Institute of Education (University of London)
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 2003
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This thesis is concerned with the philosophi~ background of Vygotsky's work. Vygotsky himself made clear that it was not only Marx who influenced him, but also Spinoza and Hegel. Most commentaries on Vygotsky have failed to consider the influence of Spinoza and Hegel on his work. Recent commentators interpret aspects ofVygotsky's work as being based upon Enlightenment philosophy and attribute to him a position of abstract rationality. In taking issue with these interpretations the thesis not only reacts to the criticism made of Vygotsky but also suggests that much of value in his education theory is lost if it is taken out of its original philosophic context and set in an alien framework. Vygotsky was absolutely steeped in the philosophy of Spinoza and Hegel and it was this which allowed him to develop original ideas on thought, language and mind. Vygotsky's tum to Spinoza and to Hegel would seem to put him outside the mainstream of modem Anglo-American thought, yet it is precisely this field of thought which in the last few years has raised questions that are bringing Hegel back into the mainstream. A study of Vygotsky's philosophy helps bring to light and to question the philosophic presuppositions of much contemporary work on educational theory and policy. This thesis addresses critical questions in Vygotsky theory and post-Vygotskian research. Its starting point is the question of sociogenesis of mind and chapters 2 and 3 consider recent writings on this issue and the related questions of constructivism and situated cognition. Chapter 4 reconsiders the opposition between Vygotsky and Piaget to carry the question of constructivism a step forward and to introduce the philosophic influences on Vygotsky's work which are then considered more fully in chapters 5, 6 and 7. 2
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available