NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED352186
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991-Apr-18
Pages: 20
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Material and the Social in Vygotsky's Theory of Cognitive Development.
Moll, Ian
Lev Vygotsky argues that natural properties as well as social relations, constrain--and therefore make possible--the social construction of a child's higher psychological processes. Most social constructivists in the cultural-historical tradition focus on three Vygotskian tenets: (1) the internalization of auxiliary cultural means or signs constitutes the development of higher psychological operations; (2) the interpersonal, or social, process of mediation is the fundamental motive force for higher cognitive growth; and (3) a child's knowledge is formed within the zone of proximal development, a cognitive space defined by social relational boundaries. Little account, however, has been taken of Vygotsky's contention that there is a fundamental functional relationship between culturally produced cognitive development and natural, or biological, growth. He clearly perceives two distinct sets of processes which explain development. The first is the natural line of development, encompassing the physical, biological, and neurological determinants, or the material determinants, of organismic growth. The second is the cultural line of development, encompassing those social processes which transform nature through the mastery and use of cultural signs. Nature, or the natural development of a child's behavior, forms the material conditions for a child's higher psychological growth; culture (and its historical development) produces the conditions within and the means through which this higher psychological growth can be manifested. The place of Vygotsky's theories in the contemporary dispute in Marxist theory about the relative meanings of "nature" and "society" is also discussed. (AC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A