Seeing historically: Goethe and Vygotsky’s ‘enabling theory-method’.

Shotter, John (2000) Seeing historically: Goethe and Vygotsky’s ‘enabling theory-method’. Culture and Psychology, 6 (2). pp. 233-252.

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We can study dead forms from a distance, seeking to understand the pattern of past events that caused them to come into existence. We can, however, enter into a relationship with living forms and, in making ourselves open to their movements, find ourselves spontaneously responding to them, and in so doing, we can gain a sense of their character. In other words, from within our dialogically structured involvements with other living things, a kind of relationally responsive understanding, quite different from the referential-representational kind of understanding familiar to us in cognitive psychology, becomes directly available to us. Thus, rather than seeking to explain a child’s present activities in terms of their causes in the past, from the standpoint of an external observer, we can turn to a quite different aim: that of perceiving in a present behavior the possibilities and opportunities it offers for further developments. Orientation toward this aim is what I think is so special about both Vygotsky’s and Goethe’s historical methods of inquiry into the development of living forms.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Culture and Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? development • dialogicality • relational-responsive • responsiveness • understandingbf psychology ??
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Deposited On:
05 Nov 2008 11:26
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 09:38