Jacque Derrida and Bruno Latour

Relativism:  Relativism, roughly put, is the view that truth and falsity, right and wrong, standards of reasoning, and procedures of justification are products of differing conventions and frameworks of assessment and that their authority is confined to the context giving rise to them.

– Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

An unknowably large multiplicity of realities, or “worlds” in his terms, exists–one for each actor’s sources of agency, inspirations for action. Actors bring “the real” (metaphysics) into being. The task of the researcher is not to find one “basic structure” that explains agency, but to recognize “the metaphysical innovations proposed by ordinary actors”. Mapping those metaphysical innovations involves a strong dedication to relativism, Latour argues. The relativist researcher “learns the actors’ language,” records what they say about what they do, and does not appeal to a higher “structure” to “explain” the actor’s motivations. The relativist “takes seriously what [actors] are obstinately saying” and “follows the direction indicated by their fingers when they designate what ‘makes them act'”. The relativist recognizes the plurality of metaphysics that actors bring into being, and attempts to map them rather than reducing them to a single structure or explanation.

Instrumentalization: Lev Vygotsky studied child development and the significant roles of cultural mediation and interpersonal communication. He observed how higher mental functions developed through these interactions, and also represented the shared knowledge of a culture. This process is known as internalizationInternalization may be understood in one respect as “knowing how”. For example, the practices of riding a bicycle or pouring a cup of milk initially, are outside and beyond the child. The mastery of the skills needed for performing these practices occurs through the activity of the child within society. A further aspect of internalization is appropriation, in which children take tools and adapt them to personal use, perhaps using them in unique ways. Internalizing the use of a pencil allows the child to use it very much for personal ends rather than drawing exactly what others in society have drawn previously.

Thinking and Speech: 

In Thinking and speech, entitled in Russian, Myshlenie i rech, published in 1934, Vygotsky described inner speech as being qualitatively different from verbal external speech. Although Vygotsky believed inner speech developed from external speech via a gradual process of “internalization” (i.e., transition from the external to the internal), with younger children only really able to “think out loud”, he claimed that in its mature form, inner speech would not resemble spoken language as we know it (in particular, being greatly compressed). Hence, thought itself developing socially.

Gestalt Psychology: In the study of perception, Gestalt psychologists stipulate that perceptions are the products of complex interactions among various stimuli. Contrary to the behaviorist approach to focusing on stimulus and response, gestalt psychologists sought to understand the organization of cognitive processes (Carlson and Heth, 2010). Our brain is capable of generating whole forms, particularly with respect to the visual recognition of global figures instead of just collections of simpler and unrelated elements (points, lines, curves, etc.).





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