I suspect that the possible difference between Peter E Jones adoption of integrationism by Roy Harris might be in tension with his sense of the temporar nature of the 'sign' compared to that of the ideality in Ilyenkov. Which stems from a difference found in Vygotsky, whose work Ilyenkov continues.
As such, I'm quite interested in linguistics and the idea of how one 'internalizes' things such that the social form becomes one's own, something pivotal to Vygotsky's sense of how we learn and even develop self-determination/control.https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/the-individual.htm
Lev Vygotsky’s key idea about the construction of consciousness is based on how we learn; learning takes place through the collaboration of the novice with an adult member of the culture using some artefact to allow the novice to complete some operation they need to become a competent member of the society. That artefact may be a sign or any other kind of useful thing provided by society for the achievement of social ends, or a role-model (a symbol, index or icon, in Peirce’s categorisation of signs). The child learns to coordinate their own activity using the artefact, and then gradually internalises that activity so that the use of a objective thing, spoken word, etc., may no longer be necessary, but is taken over by internal functions within their own body.
The essential components of this learning action are the individual child, the artefact and the ‘representative’ of society, who sets tasks for the child and assists them in achieving the tasks using the artefact. As the learning proceeds, the material thing, the artefact, is transformed into a kind of node within the psyche, a ‘psychological tool’. At this point, the learner has acquired the competency of an adult member of the society (skipping over here the long drawn out series of transformations that takes place during the process of internalisation or appropriation) so that the distinction between the material and mental aspects of the element of culture is secondary and relative; the artefact is an ‘ideal’ or ‘universal’. The outcome is not the insertion of the ideal into some kind of mental substance, but rather the restructuring of the nervous system with the individual coordinating their activity by means of the ideal, which remains an element of material culture. When we talk of activity then, we are talking of the coordination of the purposive activity of two or more individuals in some kind of social practice by means of socially constructed signs. This includes the coordination by the individual of their own body so as to act in relation to the entire society and its culture, irrespective of the immediate presence of any other person. In the limiting case of such activity then, the person acts in relation to their own body as a cultural product.
Peter E Jones criticizes Vygotsky's approach as being uncritical to the assumptions of the sources of linguistics which he appropriated for his research.
Such as his view that inner language is simply social language that one has learnt from adults but because its from the position of the subject, it doesn't require certain words already known to the subject. Such that inner language is simply shortened social language.From ‘external speech’ to ‘inner speech’ in Vygotsky: A critical appraisal and fresh perspectives
I'm not sure how much in tension it is with my readings of Andy Blunden's research on concepts, where the meaning of the same material 'sign' is somewhat relatively stable but not homogeneous and simple. Because the complexity of which is based within certain collaborative projects.
The process of internalization as summarized by vygotsky
We take two ends of torn tissue and at ﬁrst stitch it together with thread. Because of this, the two ends of tissue unite and they become spliced.Then the thread, preliminarily introduced, can be withdrawn and instead of an artiﬁcial connection, there is a union without a seam
this is the seam that splices the given stimulus and the reaction. Gradually the seam disappears and a direct connection is formed between the stimulus and the reaction ... The operation is converted from a mediated to a direct operation.
Where as Peter E Jones describes the situation where he uses a sheet to practice saxophone and how the sheet is the 'sign' which mediates his activity until the point its no longer the sheet but the sensations of his fingers and ears towards the instrument itself that become the 'sign'.
But he speaks that the 'sign' here disappears rather than gets internalized. A difference is that when I think of Andy Blunden's work in the CHAT tradition, it is emphasis of the individual's activity within some larger social formation, the larger project gives meaning to their actions and motives of those actions.
Where as here Peter E Jones seems focused on the individual learning and emphasizes the meaning or sense they have of a thing as an act of individual creativity to some predicament they face.https://www.researchgate.net/publication/241095919_Signs_of_activity_Integrating_language_and_practical_action
What has happened to the signiﬁcance of the diagram? Where has its sign hood gone? I think we can see that it would not make much sense to say, for instance, that the diagram as a sign has been ‘internalized’, since the signs I create in forming the notes are now wholly tactile rather than visual. If anything it would make more sense to say that the sign hood of the diagram has been ousted, removed.9
Thus, while there would be no particular objection in principle to taking the role of the diagram as a case of ‘semiotic mediation’ of activity in the Vygotskian sense (Wertsch, 1985; Daniels, 2008), my interpretation of that role, and its evolution, is quite different in certain respects. In the account given here, it is, ﬁrst of all, the saxophone player who is responsible for whatever semiotic value the diagram gains within the ﬁngering action. Secondly, the role played by the diagram is essentially that of providing an initial guide to the desired outcome, while in actually getting to that outcome (with the diagram’shelp) and experiencing that outcome the player creates the haptic and auditory signs necessary for direct engagement with the instrument itself, as well as the growing sensitivity to and facility for such direct sign-forming with and on the instrument. The ‘mediating’ role of the diagram, then, does not persist beyond the initial familiarization with the instrument; it is not ‘internalized’ as a semiotic resource but replaced.
At the same time of course, it would be quite wrong to think of any of the signs I create to integrate my playing activity as‘inner’ or ‘mental’ phenomena. The phenomena that I will endow with signiﬁcance in my activity are not inside my head but things that I can feel and hear out there as I grapple with the instrument. To play the instrument well I need to be able to read it. But to read it I have to engage with it, relate to it, in very particular, practical ways. The facility, coming with long practice,to play an instrument expertly is not, therefore, an ability to manipulate inner symbolic forms which are then somehow con-verted into movements of the ﬁngers, arms, lips and lungs; on the contrary, it is an ability to make the materials, objects, and processes we engage with speak to us as we engage with them; it is an ability to make these things serve as ‘links in the chain’of our action. But to do so, we must re-make ourselves in the process.
Furthermore, as my ﬁngering and my general handling of the instrument improve I ﬁnd I’m no longer aware of how I get my ﬁngers in the right position – my playing action is guided by what I hear and how what I feel meshes with what I hear.10 I ﬁnd I can now recognize notes that I hear and can play them directly and that I can sing the note I read on the stave. The sign-forming activity involved in playing the instrument is progressively reconstructed and reconstituted.
FOOTNOTE: Furthermore, in my account there is certainly no ‘transition of an external operation inward’ but replacement of one sign-making activity by another
This ‘semiotic of activity’, then, is tobe found not in the translation of verbal (or non verbal) meanings into physical actions but in the relationship, a dynamically changing one, between active agents and the things they work with as they act.11
But this seems amicable to the point of Ilyenkov of emphasis on knowledge as not just knowing a symbol, but in being able to reproduce the activity associated with a thing. This shows knowledge of the object rather than of grammar, semantics and so on.
And this is in fact how I imagined Marx's point about developing a human ear or eye, that it's the connection between the physical process of doing a thing in relation to theory ie praxis.
Peter E Jones integrationism seems a particularly Wittgenstein-esque view where the signs are meaningful primarily in their use within some specific activity.
Although I worry that like Wittgenstein this doesn't suffice for the stability of meaning within society at larger perhaps although it does emphasize the nuance and context in which we should be sensitive to in regards to concepts.https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/concepts-language.htm
The early paragraphs of “Philosophical Investigations” are set in the context of people collaborating in constructing a building, and the interlocutors make sense of each other’s words thanks to the fact that they are engaged in the same activity. In §23 he says:
the term ‘language-game’ is meant to bring into prominence the fact that the speaking of language is part of an activity, or of a form of life (Wittgenstein 1953 §23).
And this is the point. It is these extra-discursive activities which provide the ends towards which word meanings are oriented. Concepts are located within shared activities and forms of life, not just the transitory uses of words. A million disparate actions are required to build a house, but the meaning of all these actions is house building and derivative concepts (in the sense that Kuhn talks of normal science as derivative of a paradigm). Here is the real problem which Wittgenstein does not address.
Concepts are discursively constructed prior to any given utterance and have relative stability. We could not suppose that an environment (such as a building site) is sufficient for all the interlocutors to understand the activity they are engaged in, so that they are able to construe appropriate meanings to others’ words. That ‘context’ has to be evoked discursively. But everything about constructing a building: the various building elements, the skills and processes, the division of labour, plans and so on, pre-exist any given utterance or any of the actions which contribute to finally constructing a building.
Wittgenstein does not help us understand what it is in those activities and forms of life which create and maintain the concepts which allow language to be meaningful. The uttering of a word is a momentary, transient event, and it is surely only the activity and form of life of which it is a part which confers meaning on words, expressions and gestures?
I think Holzman and Newman had it right when they described “Wittgenstein’s work as therapy – for philosophers, whose obsession with philosophical problems is their pathology” (Newman & Holzman, 2006: 177).
So I am skeptical whether Peter E Jones has properly dealt with the Hegelian tradition in regards to the stability of meanings, the universal. Where with Wittgeinstein it seems he emphasizes the particular or limitedly social. https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/development-concept.htm
Each of these three Immediate Concepts are made absolute by certain theories of the concept. Plato for instance believed that Universals exist, although not in a spatio-temporal sense, nevertheless, independently of human activity and the symbols by means of which Universals are represented in activity. The intersubjective theory of Robert R. Williams sees concepts entirely constructed by intersubjective actions, leaving no place for symbols or artefacts of any kind, whilst Franz Brentano allowed that only individual things exist. Although none of the Immediate Concepts have stability or can stand up to scrutiny, each is involved in the process of a concept and the immediate concept will always take one or the other of these forms, according to conditions, until forms of mediation develop. We see this when one theory of concepts is abandoned in favour of another, without attempting to interconnect the different theories in a mediating process.
But at the same time I haven't the knowledge to really criticize Peter E Jones' position and need to focus more on the ideality of Ilyenkov and the concepts of Vygotstky.