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October 2021

Enactivism and monadology: Where are Baerveldt and Verheggen taking the individual and cultural psychology

Journal/Book: Cult Psychol. 1999; 5: 6 Bonhill Street, London EC2a 4Pu, England. Sage Publications Ltd. 207-216.

Abstract: The number of concepts which attempt to describe the exchange process between individual and environment is legion. The proposal offered by Baerveldt and Verheggen (1999) to deal with some of the problems of conceptualizing the exchange between individual and environment is reviewed and the authors' main idea-to construct the individual as an enactive and autonomous unit, on the one hand, and culture as the formative power of an individual's proximal environment, on the other-is discussed in a historical perspective. The venture to cut down this number to only one rather idiosyncratic view is interpreted as an unjustified procrustination of a historically rich, complex and often controversial debate which aimed at the illumination of human thought and consciousness and at the exploration of the human capacity to interact with the environment and to both internalize and create culture. Individuals' exchange with others in order to find pragmatic solutions for common problems even in the sciences was a well-established tradition during humanism but began to vanish after Descartes's reduction of the human being to a thinking unit. The paradox stated by the authors is debated within this historical perspective and their proposed solution for the problem is likened to Leibniz's idea of conceptualizing individuals as monads interacting in a pre-stabilized harmony.

Note: Article Kreppner K, Max Planck Inst Human Dev, Lentzeallee 94, D-14195 Berlin, GERMANY

Keyword(s): open and closed systems; some historical roots of the epistemological basis of cultural psychology; systemic view on individual development and the influence of culture; FATHERS; CHILD

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