Vygotsky’s machinery of the will. Or: Descartes in the dog house

JONES, Peter E (2022). Vygotsky’s machinery of the will. Or: Descartes in the dog house. Language & Communication, 86, 52-59.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.langcom.2022.06.008


In this paper, I have chosen to examine one phase in the development of Lev Vygotsky’s ‘cultural-historical’ psychology, namely his account of what he calls ‘cultural will’. The account is important for the role which Vygotsky attributes to signs in the creation of the psychological functions – psychological mechanisms – involved in the capacity for conscious, wilful action taken to be distinctive of and unique to human beings. The paper gives an outline of some of the main issues and problems to do with the formulation of this view of ‘cultural will’ and attempts to locate it within a tradition of psychological naturalism linked by many intellectual threads to the Cartesian animal-as-machine philosophy. On this basis, I offer a diagnosis of the semiological flaw at the (mechanical) heart of Vygotsky’s account of the will and thereby throw some light on the wider implications of these issues for perspectives on language and communication and their role in human activity and thinking.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Languages & Linguistics; 1702 Cognitive Sciences; 2001 Communication and Media Studies; 2004 Linguistics
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.langcom.2022.06.008
Page Range: 52-59
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 25 May 2022 09:34
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2023 10:15
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/30264

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