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The unity of intellect and will: Vygotsky and Spinoza

Derry, Jan (2004) The unity of intellect and will: Vygotsky and Spinoza. Educational Review, 56 (2). pp. 113-120. ISSN 0013-1911

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Abstract

Jerome Bruner points out in his prologue to the first volume of the English translation of The Collected Works that Vygotsky flirts with the idea that language creates free will. This paper attempts to consider the influence of the Dutch seventeenth-century philosopher Spinoza on Vygotsky. An account of Spinoza's anti-Cartesian conception of will is given, to which Vygotsky recognises his indebtedness. We will consider elements of Spinoza’s philosophy that were important to Vygotsky’s theory of the development of intellect, and claim that an appreciation of the philosophy informing Vygotsky’s theory of the development of intellect is necessary if the full implications of his project are to be grasped.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Invited sole authored article providing an original development of theory by exposing the influence of Spinoza on Vygotsky’s work on the relation between intellect and will. This involves approaching mind as embedded in material activity and in distinguishing between adequate and inadequate ideas. The alternative presuppositions, which result from the analysis, have considerable implications for educational practice, as noted by the editors of the edition. The article argues that the lack of appreciation of the philosophy informing Vygotsky’s work has led to the misinterpretation of practical educational questions. The article challenges contemporary conceptions of free choice in educational contexts. Derry was invited to write the article as a philosophical contribution to a special edition on Sociocultural and Activity Theory in Educational Research. The commission restricted the length of article. The article went through the normal review process of two referees. This is an electronic version of an article published in Derry, Jan (2004) The unity of intellect and will: Vygotsky and Spinoza. Educational Review, 56 (2). pp. 113-120 Educational Review is available online at: http://www.informaworld.com/10.1080/0031910410001693209
Controlled Keywords: Philosophy of education , Motivation
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Education Foundations and Policy Studies
IOE Departments > Departments > Humanities and Social Sciences
Depositing User: IOE Repository Editor (1)
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2010 08:59
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2013 11:35
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