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Bereiter illustrates the 'learning paradox' as follows. Statements to the effect that the child 'learns from experience' Out of the infinitude of correspondences that might be noticed between one event and another, how does it happen that children notice just those ones that make for simple theories about how the world works - and that, furthermore, different children, with a consistency far beyond chance, tend to notice the same correspondences? The author then formulates the 'learning paradox' on the metatheoretical and theoretical levels.

Metatheoretically, the problem is "how can a structure generate another structure more complex than itself? Bereiter , Bereiter correctly points out that the learning paradox "descends with full force on those kinds of learning of central concern to educators He also notes that problems very similar to the learning paradox occur in efforts to explain intuition and creativity Bereiter , The author then proceeds to consider culture as an explanation, offered notably by Vygotsky.

The child acquires them through interaction with adults, who help the child do things that it could not do alone. Through such shared activities the child internalizes the cognitive structures necessary to carry on independently. Such an explanation, satisfying as it may appear, does not eliminate the learning paradox at all.

The whole paradox lies in the word 'internalizes. Solving that problem means confronting, not circumventing, the learning paradox. After this rather brief rebuttal to the cultural-historical approach, Bereiter goes on to present what he calls "10 theoretical principles that seem to hold promise as contributions to a theory of how bootstrapping can occur in cognitive development" Bereiter , All these are actually different aspects of the idea of exploiting the 'more complex cognitive structures situated in the culture', both in material artifacts and in patterns of social interaction.

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In other words, Bereiter is presenting a list of possible explanatory mechanisms that might account for the processes of internalization. One is tempted to point out that a list is not a theory especially as no attempt is made to "deal with the overlap or potential connections among principles" [Bereiter , ]. But these arguments would be beside the point. The heart of the matter is: Does the whole paradox really lie in the word 'internalizes'? Can the learning paradox really be solved by finding out how internalization takes place?

Here we find a curious anomaly in Bereiter's discussion.

On the one hand, he repeatedly speaks of the higher forms of learning as 'creation'. But, on the other hand, creation for him seems to mean only creation of new cognitive structures subjectively, 'in the head' of the individual. Thus, learning is effectively reduced to internalization - even if internalization is considered as a process of creative restructuring. Can creation really be understood as internalization only? If that be so, how can we explain the emergence and renewal of external culture?

Does it have nothing to do with learning?

Or is it just a self-evident consequence or byproduct of internalization? This is the first complex of questions motivating my quest in this chapter. To formulate the second complex, I now turn to the article of Friedhart Klix A prelude may be mentioned first. Klix starts out by questioning the assumption that learning is invariant, i.

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These originate on different levels of evolution. In other words, learning processes are not an evolutionary invariant. Within the class of conditioning, the subclasses of habituation, conditioned reflex and instrumental operant conditioning are mentioned. Within reasoning, the subclasses of hypothesis formation, inductive and deductive inferences, analogical reasoning and rule learning heuristic techniques are mentioned.

The essential qualitative difference between the two basic classes lies in the main information source for decision-making. In conditioning, the source is "environmental properties". In other words, "insight is not entirely mediated by perceptual information but rather based on mental or cognitive operations which become applied to stored knowledge" Klix , With cognitive learning, "an increasing independency of any specific environment comes into being"; cognitive learning is "nonspecialized adaptive behavior" Klix , Thus, the class of reasoning or cognitive learning in no principled way distinguishes man from other mammals.

For the theoretical understanding and practical mastery of human learning, it would be essential to know whether humans have some evolutionary qualities that make their learning potentialities qualitatively different from those of other species. Klix's analysis indicates that this is not the case. It indicates that the essence of human and of all cognitive learning is just the fact that it is cognitive, that it relies on the properties of long- term memory.

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To put it in simple terms, human learning is essentially learning 'within the head' of the individual - it often allows the individual to "predict and derive the right decision without any overt false trial" Klix , Is the evolution of learning essentially a story of progressively enlarged capacity for internal individual processing of information? Is man finally leaving behind the restrictively specific influence of environmental properties? This is the second complex of problems. In order to tackle the two complexes, I'll first consult P.

Zinchenko for methdological advice. In , P. Zinchenko published an important large paper titled The Problem of Involuntary Memory. This work has immediate bearing on the analysis of learning undertaken in the present chapter. Zinchenko tackles the problem of the evolution of memory. In both the historical development of human consciousness and the development of the child's consciousness, the initial forms of memory are involuntary.

Of course, in animals, involuntary memory is not merely the first but the only form of memory In spite of the extreme diversity of current views on the nature of memory, involuntary memory is consistently characterized as mechanical memory. Here, there is a division of memory into mechanical and logical forms, forms that are understood as two sequential, genetic stages in the development of memory.

Zinchenko argues that this kind of interpretation of the evolutionary nature of memory is fundamentally distorted and false. It actually reproduces both of the two classical cul-de-sacs of traditional psychology. Firstly, it reproduces associationism and mechanistic materialism by treating involuntary memory as something purely mechanical and physiological. Secondly, it reproduces intellectualism and idealism by treating voluntary memory as something purely logical and mental.

To overcome this position, it is necessary to grasp that involuntary memory is not the same as mechanical memory. Involuntary memory may be defined as follows. Examples of involuntary memory are common in everyday situations: we remember many things which are embedded in some for us significant actions without ever consciously trying to remember them. According to Zinchenko, "none of these forms of memory can be reduced to the laws of associative or conditioned-reflex connections, since these are always external to the actual content of the action" Zinchenko , In other words, involuntary remembering changes and develops along with changes in the nature of the subject's activity, of the actions within which it occurs.

It is literally a byproduct and byprocess - but not a simple and mechanical one. Correspondingly, even though voluntary memory is clearly a later and thus higher evolutionary form, it is by no means necessarily logical or non-mechanical. Voluntary remembering is simply a special action devoted to remembering; "the subject is consciously aware of the object of the action as an object of remembering" Zinchenko , As a matter of fact, voluntary memory quite often takes the form of mechanical memorizing.

The resulting memory is 'mechanical' in the sense that an object is remembered under conditions in which its meaning or significance is not apparent to the subject. It is important to emphasize, though, that even this kind of memory is psychological rather than physiological. It is not, in the final analysis, 'nonmeaningful'; and it is not a function of mechanical impressions made on a passive subject. It is the result of the subject's activity, activity that realizes the subject's relationship to a given object.

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When remembering is mechanical, however, this relationship is not adequate to the situation in which the activity is carried out. Similarly, so called 'logical memory', employing logical operations, may be either voluntary or involuntary. Zinchenko sums up his article with a merciless verdict.

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This perspective is linked to a tendency to identify and contrast the mental and the physiological, a tendency to indentify and contrast the essence of mind and its material basis. There are three important lessons to be drawn from Zinchenko's contribution. Firstly, the manner in which Klix treats the evolution of learning matches perfectly with the criteria of false analysis worked out by Zinchenko.

In evolutionary terms, it is illegitimate to treat earlier or lower types of learning as 'conditioning' and later or higher types as 'reasoning'. Various forms of reasoning are to be found in quite early evolutionary forms of learning - and vice versa a point partially demonstrated by Klix himself. The third lesson implies that we must have some conceptual means with which activities can be analyzed.

The next sections aim at deriving such conceptual means. Only after that we can return to the analysis of learning. In the 19th century, philosophy, biology and social sciences experienced fundamental conceptual and methodological breakthroughs which were more or less directly intertwined with the huge development of the productive forces and global commerce through industrial capitalism. In philosophy, the breakthrough was realized above all by Hegel.

In biology, it was realized by Darwin. And in social sciences, it was realized by Marx. Two fundamental features are evident in these breakthroughs. Secondly, these breakthroughs meant that organism and environment, man and society, could no more be understood as stable, unchanging entities but only as something characterized by qualitative transformations requiring a historical perspective.

Each of the three breakthroughs had its specific content and impact. Hegel was the first philosopher to draw attention to the role of material, productive activity and the instruments of labor in the development of knowledge. He clearly enunciated the theory that individual consciousness is formed under the influence of knowledge accumulated by society and objectified in the world of things created by humanity.

It was Charles Darwin who laid the natural scientific, empirical foundation for the systemic and historical conception of man. He created the first powerful model of a natural, self-contained system that changed progressively. Marx and Engels brought together the insights of Hegel and Darwin. More than that, they put forward a conception where man was not only a product of evolution and an assimilator of culture but a creator and transformer.

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The materialist doctrine concerning the changing of circumstances and upbringing forgets that circumstances are changed by men and that the educator must himself be educated. This doctrine must, therefore, divide society into two parts, one of which is superior to society. The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity or self-change can be conceived and rationally understood only as revolutionary practice.

The problem is that the human sciences of the 20th century, especially psychology and education, have not yet met the challenge of constructing coherent theoretical instruments for grasping and bringing about processes where 'circumstances are changed by men and the educator himself is educated'.

Though the challenge of the 19th century breakthroughs has not been met yet, it has been faced and dealt with by certain lineages of thought in the 20th century.