The roots of the new work trace back to the 1920s and the Russian developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky, who said the human mind was shaped by social activity and culture, beginning in childhood. The self, he hypothesised, was forged in what he called the ‘zone of proximal development’, the cognitive territory just beyond reach and impossible to tackle without some help. Children build learning partnerships with adults to master a skill in the zone, said Vygotsky, then go off on their own, speaking aloud to replace the voice of the adult, now gone from the scene. As mastery increases, this ‘self-talk’ becomes internalised and then increasingly muted until it is mostly silent – still part of the ongoing dialogue with oneself, but more intimate and no longer pronounced to the world. This voice – at first uttered aloud but finally only internal – was, from Vygotsky’s perspective, the engine of development and consciousness itself.
I'm reading an introduction into Eastern Philosophy and I appreciated what I read today of the rules of philosophical debate established by the Naiyayika school in India. There are 3 types of debate--discussion (vada), disputation (jalpa), and destructive criticism (vitanda). Here's an excerpt:
Vada is concerned with arriving at the truth through rational discussion. The aim is not simply to win the other party over to your view, but to work through the arguments together. Even if agreement cannot be reached, the debate will succeed if each party comes to a good understanding of the other's position. A successful debate is one in which both participants explain their position using the five-membered Nyaya form of argument and without breaking any of the rules of reasoning.
Wow, that sounds really good and constructive. I wish we had more of that type of public discourse. And I appreciated these ideas:
This framework for debate was developed to be conducive to the exchange and clarification of ideas. The respondent is not allowed simply to contradict the proponent's thesis and advance another in its place. Instead the thesis has to be thoroughly examined in the terms offered by the proponent. The respondent has to put himself into the mindset of the proponent and appreciate the force of the arguments from that person's point of view.