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Vygotsky: Philosophy and Education

ISBN: 978-1-118-36877-0
168 pages
December 2013, Wiley-Blackwell
Vygotsky: Philosophy and Education (1118368770) cover image


Vygotsky Philosophy and Education reassesses the works of Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky work by arguing that his central ideas about the nature of rationality and knowledge were informed by the philosophic tradition of Spinoza and Hegel.

  • Presents a reassessment of the works of Lev Vygotsky in light of the tradition of Spinoza and Hegel informing his work
  • Reveals Vygotsky’s connection with the work of contemporary philosophers such as Brandom and McDowell
  • Draws on discussions in contemporary philosophy to revise prominent readings of Vygotskian psychology and revisits educational debates where Vygotsky’s ideas were central
  • Reveals the limitations of appropriations of Vygotsky which fail to recognize the Hegelian provenance of his work
  • Shows the relevance of Brandom’s inferentialism for contemporary educational theory and practice


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Table of Contents

Series Editor Preface vi

Preface viii

1 Introduction 1

2 Situated Cognition and Contextualism 6

3 Constructivism and Schooling 31

4 Vygotsky and Piaget: A Case of Different Philosophies 68

5 Spinoza and Free Will 85

6 Vygotsky, Hegel and the Critique of Abstract Reason 105

7 Vygotsky, Hegel and Education 126

Index 149

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Author Information

Jan Derry is a Reader in Philosophy of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. Her research interests focus on philosophical psychology, theories of knowledge and learning, and the nature of professional expertise and judgment.
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‘This very important book provides a sustained engagement with the philosophical underpinnings of Vygotsky's thesis of sociogenesis. At its heart is a rejection of the separations of mind and world and of rationality as abstract. The book presents a forceful critique of formalised teaching grounded in philosophical terms. Derry elaborates the philosophical foundations of the Vygotskian enterprise with precision and considerable verve.’
Professor Harry Daniels, Department of Education, University of Oxford

‘In this book, Jan Derry explores the roots of Vygotsky’s thought in Spinoza and Hegel, and brings his insights into dialogue with contemporary philosophers, such as Robert Brandom and John McDowell. The result is a fresh interpretation that affirms Vygotsky’s views. Original and provocative, Vygotsky, Philosophy and Education is essential reading for all those interested in Vygotsky’s legacy and its significance for education.’ 
—David Bakhurst, Charlton Professor of Philosophy, Queen’s University at Kingston


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