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The Foundations of the School of the Dialogue of Cultures Program

Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, vol. 47, no. 1,

January–February 2009, pp. 34–60.

© 2009 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All rights reserved.

ISSN 1061–0405/2009 $9.50 + 0.00.

DOI 10.2753/RPO1061-0405470102

Vladimir Solomonovich Bibler

The Foundations of the School of the Dialogue of Cultures Program

English translation © 2009 M.E. Sharpe, Inc., from the Russian text: Vladimir Solomonovich Bibler, “Osnovy programmy ‘Shkoly Dialoga Kul’tur.’” Translated and published by arrangement with the author’s estate.

Translated by Nora Seligman Favorov.

I. The underlying principles and nodes of the proposed program:

The crisis of the contemporary school is a truism of modern pedagogical journalism. Not only here [in the former Soviet Union — Eds.], but throughout the world it is becoming clear that “something is rotten” in the state of pedagogy. I will not repeat the commonplace accusations and reassurances addressing the school. There is something else I would like to talk about. It is my assumption that this crisis resides not in the deficiencies of a particular method of instruction or way of structuring school life (i.e., “promulgate cooperation, establish love and friendship — and everything will be fine”). The fact of the matter is that now a particular type of education is coming to an end, and we are experiencing the birth throes of a new sense of the school, and, what is more, a new sense of the span of person’s life devoted to school, age seven to seventeen [the school age of students in Soviet schools — Eds.].

A new pedagogical mindset is coming into being, and it is essential to understand what kind of reason (yes, first and foremost reason) is vital to the young person at the end of the twentieth and dawn of the twenty-first century!

What is going on today parallels the radical change of the very sense of education when the Middle Ages gave way to the New Time from the trivium and quadrivium of the Classical Middle Ages to the ideal of the “educated person,” having acquired “the last word” in “science and technology,” and capable, without breaking stride, of becoming part of the subsequent ascent — onward and upward.1

Now, as well, formation of reasoning and comprehension2 is changing (terribly slowly for now, but out of necessity) from the “educated person” to the “person of culture,” who conjugates in his or her thinking and activity different cultures, forms of activity, values, semantic spectra that are not reducible to one another. The very content of education must be transformed.

It all has to start somewhere. For eight years a group of philosophers, cultural historians, psychologists, and pedagogues have been drafting the pedagogical-psychological conception and conducting the pedagogical experiment that constitutes the School of the Dialogue of Cultures program. The group’s main members are S.Iu. Kurganov (founder of an experimental dialogue of cultures school), psychologists I.E. Berlyand, R.R. Kondratov, N.G. Malakhova, Kharkov scholars and pedagogues V.F. Litovsky, I.M. Solomadin, G.V. Zgurskii, I.G. Manko, and pedagogue-dialogists from the cities of Kemerovo, Novosibirsk, Yaroslavl, Ivanovo, and other cities. In essence, they are all the authors of this program.

Our work is now sufficiently far along that it is time to attempt to outline the sense, principles, and main nodes of this program:

1. The Underlying Assumption: Contemporary classroom learning and the contemporary psychology of knowledge acquisition must emanate from the intrinsic features of modern (twentiethcentury) thinking and vital (as we approach the twenty-first century) forms of activity. In real terms, this means:

(1) In its most far-reaching concepts [far-reaching in terms of how problem-loaded and problem-deepening they are — Irina Berlyand (IB)] and points of growth, contemporary thinking — both in the sphere of the natural sciences and in the sphere of the humanities — is turning to its own beginnings (a critique of its original, for the New Time, concepts of set, number, elements, time, space, the foundations of culture, etc.) and revealing a vital need to reformulate its underlying concepts. “Old knowledge” is incorporated into new knowledge not in the way that Hegel described as “sublation,” but within structures that dialogically conjugate old and new idealizations (the principle of correspondence, a relationship of mutual complementariness, etc.). At the highpoints of its development, contemporary thinking and consciousness are as much the determination of knowledge as they are the theoretically recognized determination of ignorance [cf. “learned ignorance” by Nicholas of Cusa — Eds.], in other words they are the definition of those problems and difficulties (of a fundamental nature) through which it is possible to precisely define exactly what the contemporary mind does not know and determine just what the methods and possibilities are for recognizing and reformulating all these difficulties.

Such a formation of contemporary thinking is somewhat bringing closer together (both logically and psychologically) the concepts from the highest echelon of contemporary science and the initial questions and elemental concepts of children’s comprehension, the initial shaping of classroom surprise.

(2) In general, contemporary thinking is constructed according to a schematism of culture where the “highest” achievements of human thought, consciousness, and being enter into dialogic communication with previous forms of culture (Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the New Time).3

There has always been a sense of such a situation in the realm of art, the realm of the cultural form that is always constructed not through “sublation,” but through the encounter (and tragic joining) of the unique and unrepeatable phenomena of personality.4 In the twentieth century, even the spectra of values and spirituality belonging to different forms of culture (the West, the East, Europe, Asia, Africa, or, at the boundaries of Western culture itself — the thought of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the New Time) converge into one cultural space, into one consciousness and thought, and demand from humanity not an unequivocal choice, but constant spiritual integration, a mutual bridging, profound debate centered on certain timeless points of wonder and “eternal questions of being.”5 And in this — in the dialogue of different cultural senses of being — the essence of the contemporary concept, the contemporary logic of thought can be found.

(3) The contemporary revolution in science and technology (automation, computerization, etc.) means that the main form of human activity — even within the sphere of actual production — has to take the form of self-directed activity,6 free-time activity within small, dynamic groups, concentrated—removing the worker (just as Karl Marx envisioned it) from the assembly-line division of labor — within a factory or production facility. In the twentieth century, the main burden in the division and integration (cooperation) of labor had been taken over by the machines themselves — automatons and semiautomatons; man’s business turns out to be the deep-rooted cultural change of the very inceptive forms of activity and thinking.

Individuals here (even in the sphere of material production) carry out their interaction not as “cogs” in a single “combined” worker, but as separate, solitary individuals, locked into their own thinking formation, united (across centuries and countries) by a common creative purpose, in accordance with the schematism: author–reader–author . . . within the context of universal-individual activity and information. By its nature, this is already a “socium of culture,” even if it has been shaped by the processes of automation and the computerization of labor.7

These and many other features of contemporary (to the end of the twentieth century) forms of thinking and activity must (can) become the basis for the entire process of education—education of the “person of culture.”8 Such an approach demands fundamental changes to content and methods, to the way the learning process is organized, and to the school type itself. Unfortunately, contemporary pedagogical innovations, their heuristic and methodological interest notwithstanding, lead merely to the development of more effective, accelerated techniques for acquiring the old type of knowledge — a type that recedes into the past and inhibits the normal development of the contemporary individual—both thinker and worker.

II. So, for the School of the Dialogue of Cultures that has been experimentally developed and is being proposed here, dialogue has a universal sense:

Dialogue is not simply a heuristic [and pedagogical — IB] technique for acquiring monologic knowledge and skills, but the definition of the very essence and sense of learned and creatively formulated concepts (the concept is dialogic in terms of its logical nature and in terms of its psychological — for the consciousness — givenness). This is first and foremost.

Dialogue that makes actual educational sense is the dialogue of cultures, communicating among themselves — within the context of contemporary culture — in the focus of the main questions of being, the main points of surprise of our reason. This is second.

Dialogue that is meant within the School of the Dialogue of Cultures is an ongoing dialogue within the consciousness of the pupil (and teacher) between the voices of the poet (artist) and the theoretician as the basis for the real development of creative (the same as pertaining to humanities) thinking. This is third.

Starting from these presumptions and sidestepping for now certain intermediate points and arguments, I will go straight to a schematic sketch of the School of the Dialogue of Cultures that we have been elaborating and that develops — in principle — the thinking and activity of a person of culture, a person vital to life at the end of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first century.

I will merely note that we do not presume that school of the proposed type must be the only and all-encompassing school of the future. It is just one of the possible schools and, perhaps, a sort of needed seed and ferment for other “calmer” and more stagnant forms of education. . . .

III. Here are the main aspects of the proposed scheme, tested in the first through fourth grades and sixth and seventh grades in particular schools in Krasnoyarsk, Kharkov, and Novosibirsk (in Russian language, mathematics, nature studies, and history class):

Elementary School: First and Second Grades

These are the grades in which the knots of understanding get tied up that will become the main objects of acquiring, heteroglossia, and dialogue in subsequent grades.

These are the knots or points of wonder:

• puzzle of the word;

• puzzle of the number;

• puzzle of the phenomena of nature;

• puzzle of moment of history;

• puzzle of consciousness; and

• puzzle of the objective implement . . .

(Here, I have named just a few samples of such “comprehension puzzles.”)

Within these “points of wonder” (which follow the folk-riddle model), first of all, unfolds initial analysis of (questioning, inquiry into) those problems that are common and unifying,9 on the one hand, for the main contemporary concepts (of twentieth century mathematics, physics, biology, linguistics), and, on the other, for the inceptive wonder in childhood, for questions that usually emerge during the psychological transition from the consciousness dominant (the preschool period) to the thinking dominant, tied to questions about how the paradoxical existence of the number, the word, life, and so on — so contrary to common sense — is possible. Second, within these knots of inceptive wonder the divergent threads of separate in future (but complementary) sciences of life, time, the word (poetics, grammar, etymology, elementary study of forms of interlocution), the number (arithmetic, geometry, set theory, topology) get focused. . . . Third, such initial points and knots will be — as I stated earlier — subjects of subsequent foundational dialogues between different cultures, classes, ages (medieval, ancient, and modern answers to the question, what is the number, the word, etc.). Fourth, the initial process of wonder itself and acquiring of such knot notions is realized through a complex dynamic “play” between external language and inner speech, with its special syntax and semantics.10 We (see the works by Kurganov, Litovsky, Goriukhina) have studied systematically and incorporated into the basis of the entire pedagogical process in the early grades (the first and the second) the shuttle of such embedding of grammatically articulated language into the inner speech point continuum11 (in the child’s creating consciousness) and carrying transformed “shifts” to the surface (back into linguistic structures) in inner speech and intellectual work (in pupils’ texts and compositions).

This is how discrete—between them is emptiness—“preeidoses”12 (inner forms — cf. Antiquity) emerge that are essential to the formation of initial concepts in the grades of the culture of Antiquity in our school.

In concluding this brief overview I will just mention that in pedagogical work in the first grades we pay special attention to the psychological gap (lacuna, disparity) between two psychological orientations of the young schoolchild: his or her play attitude (imagination, representation of his or her own actions — see works by I.E. Berlyand)13 and his or her orientation toward authority (“that’s what Papa said,” “that’s what I learned on television,” etc.), toward premature responses without tormenting himself with questions. We structure the entire process of tying together the “knots of wonder” based on this real dialogue between the two “cultures of consciousness” that takes place in the mind and the hands of the preschooler and the first grader: between the culture of the formation of the self-contained image (as the basis of understanding), of a sort of “eidos” (inner form), and the culture of Simplicio (an authoritarian adept of Aristotle in Galileo’s Dialogues). This is the initial dialogue into which the dialogues of real subsequent cultures would enter. . . .

The following grades (from third to eleventh) are built in sequence and around dialogue of the main historical cultures, primarily cultures from European history, in chronological order.

Furthermore, all subsequent learning, the entire formation of the person of culture, is realized within two educational spheres, in two main layers.

The first sphere, the basic one: from first to eleventh grade is the element of native language, or rather, native speech, bringing together its actual, potential, poetic, and normative incarnations!

A pupil in our school has to awaken his own verbal sensitivity and develop a verbal intuition based on the underlying diversity of modern linguistic culture. After all, only when an initial verbal receptiveness toward other languages and other cultures is awakened, developed and ingrained in culture can cultures of different historical periods and dialogue between them (see below) be truly culturally assimilated, comprehended, creatively perceived by a person thinking in his or her own native language. Our pupil must see his native language not as a tool for practical use (an extreme case being the vocabulary of Ellochka the Cannibal),14 but a kind of living, challenging, boiling magma—boiling with particular intensity and particularly heterogeneity in the poetic element of the twentieth century. After all, our pupil will think in Russian; he will understand other cultures in his own language. Only when this language is constantly supported and acquires depth in its speech sense, in the intensive shuttling between inner speech and poetic speech15 (which restores the syntax and semantics of inner speech back into external text), only then is it possible to appropriate16 dialogue between cultures as dialogue that is meaningful to one’s own thinking, to one’s own being.

There is another aspect to this. Culture, the perception of which we will discuss further, will only be culture, and not “culturedness,”* not superficial aestheticism and pseudoscientific erudition, if it (culture) is always formed out of the chaos of creative principles, if it is understood and formed not only on the boundary between cultures (more about this later), but on the boundary between culture and precultural, antecultural being,17 as the beginning principle of culture. But this sort of borderland can be achieved only by plunging into the element of personal speech; this is the inceptive “the being for the being” (cf. Heidegger).

Only then will that “raw nature of poetry” and linguistic culture overall—which Osip Mandelstam called the main antidote to “cheap culture-worship that has engulfed the universities and schools of Europe”—be preserved.18

Therefore, throughout the entire ten or eleven years of education


* Kultur’nost’ is a widely used word denoting knowledge of behavioral norms, general information, high culture, and the arts.—Trans.

in the dialogue of cultures school, a unified, continuous “subject” — Russian language, or, more broadly, Russian culture — will exist and develop.19 And — on this basis — dialogue between our own language culture (1) and the cultures of the West and the East (2) — in their historical movement and constant internal communication — will develop.20

Beginning with third grade, “the puzzles of the word,” while an offshoot of the unified course, grow into an intensive, comprehensive study, incorporated into all the other subjects, that continue until graduation of contemporary Russian (generally native) speech — poetic speech in particular — as the most important natural Interlocutor of other historical cultures. This approach is possible in particular because Russian speech culture, as is the case with many other cultures, has always developed (as culture) in internal diglossia (at a minimum two voices): the diglossia of Russia and Byzantium, Russian and Old Church Slavonic, Russian and Tatar; then in the early nineteenth century Russian and French, and then, Russian and German (the second quarter of the nineteenth century), Russian and English (the twentieth century). Furthermore, beginning with the Middle Ages, Russian speech (and culture overall) has been an organic facet (Voice) of European culture. Therefore, starting at this time (corresponding to fifth and sixth grades), Russian culture is present in our course in two forms. First, it takes the form of the spiraling penetration of our consciousness into the element and cosmos of that living native language in which the pupil thinks when he perceives the universal dialogue of cultures. Second, it takes the form of an individual voice within a unified European polyphony, a participant in its dialogue. This is the integration of medieval Western and Russian (Orthodox) temple architecture and icon painting: Lay of Igor’s Host [see note 33 — Eds.] and other ancient sources within the context of European culture; Russian literature and art within an integral spectrum of European art between the eighteenth and early twentieth centuries.

This “doublet” of self-awareness in the contemporary schoolchild (perception of my own speech as my own particular universality and perception of my own culture as a special voice within European universality . . .) is extremely vital to the entire learning process in the dialogue of cultures school. The doublet is no less vital when it is working out our school’s psychological and pedagogical assumptions. But this will be specially addressed in detail. Detailed elaboration of the speech sphere of the School of the Dialogue of Cultures is still just beginning (although a great number of preliminary findings have already been accumulated), and here I will primarily be addressing the “second sphere” of our educational system, the sequential (beginning in the third grade) dialogue between different (for now, primarily European) forms of culture. But there is a constant need to conceive the underlying dialogue as well: between the phases and unities of European culture, on the one hand, and Russian speech culture (and creative culture overall) on the other. . . .

Third and fourth grades. The Culture of Antiquity, in essence, is the only object of study in these grades.21 Antiquity history, antiquity mathematics, antiquity art, antiquity mythology, and antiquity mechanics together form a holistic, indivisible conception of the main senses of the culture of Antiquity. In terms of teaching, there are two possibilities: either there will be one teacher or several specialist design cross-subject lessons through dialogue and collaboration between a historian, a literary specialist, a mathematician, and so on. It is presumed that both the handicraft and physical education characteristic of antiquity (the general role of the lever; Olympic competition, etc.) will also be covered during this cycle.

A few clarifying comments, some relating only to the culture of Antiquity and some to all of the dialogic learning cycles:

(a) The Antiquity of Third–Fourth Grades is not historical, but contemporary Antiquity, Antiquity as relevant in twentieth-century culture in its ability to reveal and develop their (antiquity) senses in response to questions of our age. This is the voice of Antiquity in the discussion of modern problems. In other words, antiquity acts as the moderator of a contemporary dialogue (in third–fourth grades). Just two examples: (1) the debate between the atomists and the Pythagoreans that permeated the entire culture of antiquity (by no means just philosophy) is relevant today in the design of modern concepts of quantum mechanics (cf. the analysis of this situation in Heisenberg’s works). The child’s mind, not yet adept in the modern mathematical framing of this problem turns out to be capable of taking in the redaction of these questions (in all their primary naivety and primary depth) peculiar to Hellenic thought (cf. the logical resemblance between Zeno’s “childish “ paradoxes and the main difficulty of quantum dualism); and (2) assimilation of classical forms of labor and forms of tools (compare the analysis of different tools of antiquity in Pseudo-Aristotle’s Mechanica)22 is essential to modern experimental laboratories. . . .

(b) The entire Classical Culture of Antiquity course is acquired through ongoing dialogue (as an ongoing dialogue) with the culture of the Middle Ages or the New Time, through “raiding parties” on the third and fourth grade classrooms by older (“medieval” or “New Time”) grades and their teachers. In addition, of course, counter-“raiding parties” are presumed. This dialogue between different ages, differing forms of thinking, this synchronism between all classes and ages in the School of the Dialogue of Cultures is a core principle in the design of our school. In all classes — each in his or her own way, in accordance with age-specific features of a particular child — a dialogue is carried on between different “answers” to those underlying conceptual puzzles that were tied up in the first and second grades — the ideas of number (antiquity, medieval, New Time understandings of the number — within the context of the modern paradox), the sense of the word (speech), and so on, and so forth.

Obviously, this comment does not relate only to the grades of Antiquity, but to all of our school’s cycles, which presume the mutual interdisciplinary interaction of different classes, ages, and different forms of comprehension.

(c) Meanwhile, the entire circle of the Culture of Antiquity (third and fourth grade) is built around dialogue that is intrinsically characteristic for this very culture, for its “ways” of looking at itself from the outside, and of being — as Bakhtin expresses it — “ambivalent.”23 The Culture of Antiquity is capable of understanding and developing itself in internal dialogue with the Egyptian–Babylonian culture;24 in dialogue between mythological and actual logical comprehension (Greek tragedy, Plato’s dialogues, antiquity mathematics, etc.); in dialogue between two mythologies and two intensions of Logos — the mythology of the Titans (the force of Chaos) and the mythology of Olympus (the force of Cosmos). And only by becoming engaged in this internal dialogue, organic for the concepts and images of Antiquity, is it possible to organically — consistent with the psychology of third and fourth graders — conduct dialogue with other cultures and other forms of comprehension (reasoning).

(d) The foundation of antiquity comprehending of the sense of being, of antiquity self-awareness, of antiquity association is the idea of eidos (internal aesthetically meaningful form), of image. But this is a special image, not equivalent to the purely emotional effect of imagination. This is an image that constitutes the foundation of comprehending, an image of the subject of understanding, an image that creates order out of chaos and turns that chaos into an aesthetically meaningful cosmos.

For example, the “figurate number” of the Ancient Greeks, the foundation of all antiquity mathematics, is one of the embodiments of that same idea of “eidos” as inner form. Eidos is just as essential to mathematics as it is to Greek tragedy. S.Iu. Kurganov built the entire study of mathematical principles in first grade on this foundation in an experimental school in Krasnoyarsk (in 1987): addition, subtraction, and multiplication were all discovered by the schoolchildren in the idea of the “figurate number” (the concept-image).25

The antiquity understanding of the world and of my inner I (the meaning of the Socratic “know yourself” is also found in the idea of “eidos”) organically connects the puzzles of the early grades with the thinking that is essential to subsequent classroom education. Specifically the culture of Antiquity really and consciously (this is critical) achieves the joining of image and concept, that is, it shapes a universal form of the concept that is already rooted in the psychology of inner speech. This constitutes the special — logical and psychological — place of Antiquity classes in advancing the subsequent classroom education of a “person of culture,” and this constitutes its age-specific feature.

(e) The basis for penetrating the contemporary meaning of the culture of Antiquity (and that of other cultural cycles in our school) is special attention to the logical revolutions through which (1) a given culture becomes aware of itself as a unified whole and looks at itself from the outside,26 and through which (2) fundamental transformations (mutual justification) of historical cultures occur.


(f) The culture of Antiquity and all other forms of culture are seen as certain wholes that are arranged not only chronologically, but within the simultaneity of all phenomena of this cultural formation in the form in which it is given to our perception and our interlocution with another culture. Such a focal point for the culture of Antiquity, for the Antiquity classes in school [i.e., third–fourth grades in the SDC, in which the subject is the culture of Antiquity — IB] can be, as we see it, classical tragedy, which permits a comprehending of the entire classical temporal expanse as a unified socium of culture. The dialogue itself within this culture, a dialogue between pupils and teacher, and so on, is conceived according to the schematism (in terms of form) of classical dialogues or, to put it more precisely, specifically within the schematism of Antiquity tragedy, as understood by Aristotle in his Poetics.27 And there is one more overall aspect:

In studying the culture of Antiquity (and all other cultures understood through their “ambivalence” and dialogue), the educational medium and the medium used by our schoolchildren in creating their own “text works” is not the textbook, but anthologies of the most prominent original texts of the given culture (Euripides and Sophocles, Pythagoras and Archimedes). It is cultural texts and their dialogic integration that should be the real subject of comprehension, debate, and individual creativity.28 This is the next, extremely vital principle in designing the School of the Dialogue of Cultures. Let me repeat: the text (the original text, the original voice) of the culture of Antiquity (or other culture), and not the textbook (the “[monologic — IB] synopsis,” the “sublated” result) as the main intermediary between this culture, on the one hand, and the teacher and the pupil, on the other. And on this basis — the text invented by the pupil (within the context of a given culture and within the context of dialogue with this culture) — is the main form, the summing up, the result of classroom learning of original material.

The experience of the teacher-dialogists already demonstrates the full effectiveness and meaningfulness of such a — textological — principle of learning (see Kurganov’s articles). . . .

With appropriate changes, the majority of comments formulated here characterize the principles for designing all other grades in our school. . . .

Fifth and sixth grades. Medieval Culture. . . . The genetic focal point29 of the Middle Ages (the fourth–fifth centuries) — when new forms of association and activity expressed a new fixation on “the self,” forms of transformation of the culture of antiquity — has particular significance in our understanding of medieval culture and its incorporation into the culture (dialogue) of contemporary thinking. From this self-fixation emerged a new — communing — reason, more holistically realized through the universal acceptance of Christianity. The first profound reflection (self-consciousness) of such reason was the Confessions of Blessed Augustine.30

Now, we turn to another aspect characterizing the specific nature of the holistic formation within the context of the medieval learning “cycle.” In dialogue with other classes-ages-cultures, the understanding and acquiring of medieval culture is designed as a single (multifaceted) object. The mathematics, labor, and art of the Middle Ages merge into a single whole, and, we presume, here focal points such as the following are of vital importance:

(a) The pupils are involved in the construction of a temple (architecture typical both of the Western and Russian Middle Ages) and are thus drawn into synthesizing the main forms of labor and spiritual quest, forms of thinking, features of mechanics and mathematics that were characteristic of this epoch and have meaning for our time.

Life around the temple; moving into the temple; liturgy (hovering at the border between earthly life and eternity); moving again — from the temple into one’s own individual worldly life. . . . Here is the “socium” of culture of the Middle Ages, the same socium in which and through the forms of which emerged the medieval works that have joined the polyphony of modern culture.

(b) A special form of problem-puzzle, worked out in the real school (and the University) of the Middle Ages is also vital (see Alcuin’s “puzzle” in the “trivium” system of medieval education).31

The very communication between Teacher and Pupil is modeled on a “regimen” of real communication that distinguishes the culture of the Middle Ages.

Incidentally, the way itself (for example) of solving arithmetic and word problems that was particlar to the Middle Ages is very important today in forming advanced skills in counting, calligraphy, and so on.32

(c) In “medieval class,” the development of speech culture, the exceptional authority of the Word (Logos), the original Text and its countless commentaries, all have special significance. Among original texts (besides the Bible, of course), the Lay of Igor’s Host33 is offered, the original together with its numerous versions in modern Russian. After all, speech culture cannot be comprehended outside the historical element of native language.

And a [final] aspect, in concluding these notes on the medieval learning cycle of contemporary thinking and education: The culture of the Middle Ages is permeated with the pathos of faith and cult — in other words, it is structured in such a way as to form the spiritual life of a person outside the force field of culture (selfdetermination), so to speak, in a completely different dimension.

This dual aspect — the flip-flop quality — of medieval reason has to be precisely understood and reproduced in another turn, projecting it “onto culture.” It is clear that from a culturological, and even from an ecclesiastical perspective, it would be senseless and wrong to turn the “medieval cycle of the contemporary dialogue” into “religion class.” Specifically in regard to the medieval voice of dialogic reasoning it is important to make a special effort (but also be tactful . . .) in the cultural and academic transformation of confessional realia. . .

The Culture of the New Time (Seventeenth–Nineteenth Centuries): Seventh–Eighth Grades

Study will be based on traditional courses (but attended with the dialogue between New Time classes and classes of Antiquity and that of the Middle Ages) of “ordinary academic classes” (“textbooks”), but as a subject to inquiry, related to original authors’ texts — the primary sources of the seventeenth–nineteenth centuries.34 This correlation makes yet another “dialogue” possible, one that is adequate to the thinking of the New Time — the dialogue between inceptive points of origin of ideas and the “sublated” textbook word, suitable for pragmatic use. Here, the main debates within mathematics, biology, and physics of this era will be covered, with Bohr-like “supplements” and transformations through the ethical and poetic peripeteia of art (Hamlet’s “to be or not to be”; the duality and mutual exclusivity of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza; the tragedy of Faust; the problem of the individual and the environment; the most important tensions within painting, architecture, music) and in the form of the main ideological–class conflicts (the National Convention protocols, the Paris commune, etc.; material [texts] from Russian history and dialogues between different ethnic regions).35

The culture of the Renaissance has particular significance (it does not merely introduce, but permeates) in the New Time learning cycle of contemporary culture.36 This is true in at least three relations:

First, it is significant as a form of dialogue with the Culture of the Antiquity and Medieval culture that permeated the New Time.

Furthermore, this is a form of dialogue that draws together into a special integrality, into the indelible “socium of the dialogue of cultures” that characterizes the New Time at the point of its emergence. But this focus is enduring; it by no means is merely a point of departure for Modern culture.

Second, the Renaissance era is significant for the entire New Time circle of contemporary (twentieth-century) thinking as the beginning (the principle) of aloof, artistic (the painter) thinking as a counterbalance to the medieval Word.37 It is artistic vision, taken in its universality, that is the principle of a two-substance (cognizing) understanding. Here we have I, that which is initially keeping aloof, estranging, and representing. The eye of Leonardo da Vinci, from which Descartes “ego cogitans” and Pascal’s “thinking reed” would also grow. . . . And there the “alien” Universe is, eternally separate from me, that I represent on canvas, that I reproduce. The eyes of the Renaissance artist — that is the wellspring of the cognizing reason of the New Time. A wellspring that is constantly reproduced (and it must be reproduced) in the consciousness, in the thinking (and correspondingly, in the education) of the contemporary schoolchild.

Third, the era of the Renaissance is universally significant in the thinking of the contemporary person as a compressed schematism (a compressed coil) of the main torments of the contemporary individual on the horizon of the New Time personality (the New Time hypostasis of contemporary personality). This is the torment of the nonsacred, truly (seriously) mortal, insignificant I — paradoxically kindred to the infinite Universe, to the endless being of Giordano Bruno, and the noninsular, orderly process of human history.

On this basis, but now in the light of the decisive transformations of the seventeenth century (that began with Galileo!) and in the light of the New Time dialogue with contemporary dialogic reason (at the point of conclusion of the new cycle of contemporary culture) it is possible to identify the most important integral features of the purely “New Time course” (seventeenth–nineteenth centuries), having broken its bonds and links with its Renaissance beginnings. . . .

Within the architectonics of New Time culture and the New Time academic cycle, the idea of cognizing reason, based on the experiment, and the idea of “ascending development” that presumes a “space–time” that opens into infinity, have decisive significance (for all subjects and for all seventh- and eighth-grade dialogues). . . .

The highly developed culture of the New Time by its nature has a partitioned, encyclopedic character and presumes a distinct multidisciplinarity, where interdisciplinary dialogues and integrations (common lessons by teachers of philology, natural sciences, physics, mathematics, etc.) that permit the integrity of the structure of knowledge to be preserved (but rigorously partitioned) are vital.38 Furthermore, in the structure of New Time classes and dialogues, we start with a clear and established “bifurcation” of learning, with separate (but associating with one another) classes of “humanists,” “mathematicians,” “natural scientists,” and so on. In these “New Time classes,” a special and preeminent place is held by the reflection of contemporary (twentieth-century) knowledge, activity, understanding, and debates between the New Time and the culture of the twentieth century, as well as by the mutual complementariness of these cultures.

Contemporary Culture: Ninth–Tenth Grades

These grades39 have special significance in two regards. First, the knowledge and skills, “puzzles” and “solutions,” achieved in all of the other academic cycles come together here (as aspects of contemporary thinking and the contemporary “principle of correspondence”). Second, probing the internal contradictions of contemporary concepts (the debate between Bohr and Einstein, for example) and contemporary images of culture (the elemental structure of contemporary art that organizes the dialogue between different aesthetic forms), and so on, places the pupil at the forefront of the tensions of knowledge and “nonknowledge” characteristic of the twentieth century. Problems common to all humanity at the end of the century wind up being the essential nodes bringing together segmented knowledge and “nonknowledge” (questions): personality and society; culture and civilization; environmental problems; the cosmological problem (= the nature of the microobject), and so on. These are not only and not so much actual integral scientific problems as (simultaneously) problems of being that plague the individual living on the eve (or the dawn) of the twenty-first century.

Incorporation into the computer revolution, the information revolution, into the contemporary structure of automated production, crowns all the manual-machine cycles of labor activity developed in earlier dialogue of culture school grades.

In summary, it can be asserted that in our school, the humanization of knowledge is not a superficial appurtenance (increased time for literature, music, etc.), but something that penetrates the entire educational process. Every “module” of unified culture turns out to be humanitarian: mathematics, literature, physics, and all forms of production — like facets of an integrated “polyhedron” of interindividual and inter-epoch communication.

Eleventh Grade. Special Dialogic Grade

Here, the graduating class of the School of the Dialogue of Cultures organizes dialogues among grades, ages, and cultures and selects — with the teachers — the main topics and problems for the school-wide debates and thinks through the methods for interaction and joint activity. This class is pedagogical, and makes it possible to define the permeating meaning of our “school of the dialogue of cultures” as a sort of schoolteacher’s college training — to good purpose — of future teachers for the school of the twenty-first century. . . .

In conclusion, one last principle [for the SDC]:

Every author-pedagogue, together with the children of each new first-grade class, uncovers some permeating “problem-funnel” capable of becoming — for this particular class — the basis for the ten-year course of study.40 This funnel, this special focal point of wonder — unique, unrepeatable, unpredictable for each small group of every new generation — gradually engulfs all problems, subjects, ages, cultures as they are dialogically integrated into a whole. (Of course, often a single “funnel” will not be enough, and over the ten years of school some multitude of problem-funnels will be incorporated. I just mention the extreme case.)

Always in a new way, in every small group (and then in every individuality) there forms a special intercultural dialogue with contemporary culture. And this state, graduating school on the eve of activity, of an integral point of wonder must — by design — be preserved and enhanced throughout a person’s entire life.



1 In medieval educational institutions, “seven liberal arts” were taught, divided into trivium (grammar, dialectics, and rhetoric) and quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy). The list of these arts and their hierarchy dated back to the sixth century. Trivium was taught in primary schools, which were therefore called “trivial schools.” (The notes were contributed by Irina Berlyand.)

2 The expression “formation of reasoning” (or “system of reasoning”) [stroi razumeniia] that Bibler uses here is not an accepted collocation. It sounds strange and puzzling to the Russian ear. Bibler uses it deliberately, rather than using a more familiar phrase such as “way of thinking.” “System of comprehension” should not be equated with a manner of thought, a mentality, and so on.

Stroi [system, order, structure — Trans.] has the sense of an inner cast of mind, structure, frame, inner form, akin to Kant’s idea of the “architectonic of reason.” Razumenie [translated here as reasoning or comprehension, although the root of the word is razum (reason) — Trans.] shows that what is being referred to is Reason, universal Reason, again in a sense close to Kant and distinct from intellect, consciousness, mental habits, and the like.

3 Historically precedent, but revealing their relevance rather than sublated and overcome (in the Hegelian sense).

4 In the realm of art, one could hardly seriously consider Shakespeare’s tragedies more highly developed or representative of progress in comparison with the tragedies of Aeschylus, or believe that Rembrandt’s paintings represent a more progressive stage than the paintings of Botticelli. Science is another matter — here the notions of progress and sublation have always been important (Newton’s mechanics are more developed and progressive than those of Archimedes). Bibler asserts that unlike the New Time, which is characterized by cognizing reason and where philosophy and culture overall were science-centric and were built on ideas of sublation and progress, in the twentieth century the New Time’s cognizing reason was replaced by another type of reason that understood the mutual relationship between different cultures not as the relationship between different stages of development, but as a dialogue between different voices that are vital to one another — something that the realm of art has always understood.

5 An expression from M. Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics, vol. 8 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999).

6 A reference to a concept developed by Hegel and Marx. Objective human activity is activity the object of which is a person’s life activity itself, it is activity in which a person becomes the object for him or herself, capable, in other words, of being removed from him or herself. Bibler devoted a work to detailed analysis of Marx’s concept of objective activity: “‘Predmetnaia deiatel’nost’ v kontseptsii Marksa i samodeterminatsiia individa” (Kemerovo, 1993). I will provide a few clarifying quotes: “The animal is one with its life activity. It does not distinguish the activity from itself. It is its life activity. Man makes his life activity itself an object of his will and of his consciousness. He has a conscious life activity” (Karl Marx: The Essential Writings, ed. Frederic L. Bender [Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1986], p. 76). In man his “own self-realization exists as an inner necessity, a need” (ibid., p. 97), that is, unlike the animal, “man is not given to himself. He is given (come up with) as a sort of object of invention, like a problem, like a need” (V.S. Bibler, Samostoian’e cheloveka [Kemerovo, 1993], p. 39). In Hegel “man equals selfness. But selfness is merely abstractly conceived man and man begotten of an abstraction. Man is a self-directed being. His eye, his ear, and so forth are self-directed: every one of the essential strengths within him possesses the property of self-directedness” (K. Marks [Marx] and F. Engel’s [Engels], Iz rannikh proizvedenii [Moscow, 1956], p. 628).

7 In Das Kapital, Karl Marx distinguishes between cooperative and universal labor. Bibler takes this distinction between activities in the sphere of production and applies it to the sphere of culture, extending the comparison farther and deeper within his understanding of culture as dialogue. In cooperative labor (in the area of production), activity is divided among various participants (cf. the division of labor) and its separate participants are only links, separate functions (“cogs”), while the subject of activity is the aggregate of individuals (Marx called this a “combined worker”). Communication between separate participants in activity winds up being external. When there is universal labor (creative activity in the realm of art, science, or philosophy) the division of labor is not an issue — the individual has to assimilate the culture as a whole and enter into direct communication with universal culture. The individual “I” winds up being the subject, communication encompasses the individual “I” and universal culture within a specific subject of activity, forming a socium of culture (distinct from the external production socium). See Bibler, Samostoian’e cheloveka.

8 Eugene Matusov: “But how is Bibler’s notion of ‘education/forming the person of the culture’ different from the Soviet political notion of ‘molding the New Soviet person,’ based on social engineering of the human soul?” Irina Berlyand: “In Bibler, as far as I can see, the idea of the ‘person of culture’ as an educational goal should be compared not to social engineering (as in the Soviet project for ‘educating the new Soviet person,’ Homo Soveticus), but to ideas from the New Time — the ideals of the ‘the cultivated person,’ ‘the person of education,’ and ‘the person of enlightenment.” Kant and Hegel were more important interlocutors for Bibler than Soviet ideologues.

9 Common [obshchee] and unifying in this case not in the sense of generalizing, being the same thing to all people, but in the sense of that through which we can communicate. We have a common, unifying object of dialogue and we are unified by this common object, be we are not merged into one thing. (The Russian word obshchee equally balances meanings conveyed in the words obshchenie [association/intercourse/communication — Trans.] and obobshchenie [generalization — Trans.].)

10 A reference to inner speech as described by L.S. Vygotsky in his work Thought and Language [Myshlenie i rech’], ed. Alex Kozulin (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1986), chapter 7. Bibler wrote a work in which he attempted, as he put it, to “extend Vygotsky’s analysis to the logical possibilities that are potentially contained in this analysis” (V.S. Bibler, Na graniakh logiki kul’tury [Moscow, 1997]), pp. 314–26.

11 See Kurganov’s article in the next issue of the Journal of Russian and East European Psychology.

12 A sort of condensation in the thoughts and speech of young schoolchildren which anticipate eidoses (forms of concepts characteristic of the culture of Antiquity that are to become the main object of study in the third and fourth grades).

13 See I.E. Berliand [Berlyand], Igra kak fenomen soznaniia (Kemerovo, 1992).

14 A character from Ilf and Petrov’s satirical novel The Twelve Chairs, Ellochka was characterized by extreme pragmatism and mercantilism. Her entire vocabulary consisted of thirty words.

15 Eugene Matusov: “It is unclear to me why poetic and inner speeches are contrasted here because they can easily overlap as in the case of Chukovky’s examples in his book From Two to Five.” Irina Berlyand: “Poetic speech is contrasted with inner speech, as it is articulated externally, as a finished product. For example, child speech described by Chukovsky in his book Ot dvukh do piati [From Two to Five] is neither one nor the other, but has important characteristics associating it with both poetic and inner speech.”

16 Appropriation, of course, not in the traditional pedagogical sense. What is referred to here is the internalization of dialogue, the transforming reproduction in inner speech (see Vygotsky).

17 Eugene Matusov: “What is this? It reminds me of the ethnocentrism of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when non-Western cultures were viewed as precultural (‘natural,’ to use Vygotsky’s term, he being a child of his time and an ethnocentrist). It is well known that the ancient Greeks called anyone who did not speak Greek ‘barbarians,’ imitating their ‘precultural’ speech: ‘barbar-bar-bar.’ What do you think?” Irina Berlyand: “Bibler’s teachings should notbe confused with ethnocentrism. In the dialogics concept, any culture is seen as culture only when it goes beyond its own boundaries, giving itself new life and substance ‘out of nothing,’ out of nonculture, out of barbarism. In other words, not only other cultures appear barbaric in relation to a particular culture, but it itself reproduces itself as barbaric, as something just coming into being. Precultural existence is born within culture, and does not confront it from the outside.”

18 From notes compiled for the essay “Razgovor o Dante,” written by the poet Osip Mandelstam in 1933.

19 This is not, of course, nationalism. It is a reflection (an attempt at reflection, confirmation of the need for such reflection) of the circumstances that all learning dialogues take place and all of world culture takes shape for the child specifically through native speech, through its forms, including the forms given by language. This circumstance is usually accepted as something natural, something of little significance, that goes without saying and is neutral in relation to education, except in matters pertaining directly to language instruction. Bibler is drawing attention to the fact that this affects all culture, language is critical to all aspects of culture. We are talking about Russian culture simply because the subject at hand is designing schools that will be attended by Russian-speaking children. If we were talking about designing this sort of school somewhere else, for different pupils, then we would be talking about English, Spanish, Ukrainian, or some other culture — the culture of the language in which instruction would be conducted. Culture that is born out of chaos, on the boundary with a precultural beginning, can be reproduced only within the element of a child’s own speech — and this is native-language speech. On the separate question of nationalism and its connection with ideas of culture, Bibler wrote an article (which contains a section that is sharply polemical toward Russian nationalists) titled “Natsional’naia russkaia ideia? — Russkaia rech’,” in Na graniakh logiki i kul’tury, pp. 371–416.

20 Eugene Matusov: “As I see it, this ‘communication’ is imagined (fabricated).

For example, our project in this journal project is real communication between real scholars from different cultures and countries, and not an imagined ‘East’ and ‘West’ that does not really, corporeally, ontologically exist. The Arab culturologist Edward Said has investigated this ‘East–West’ historical fabrication in his famous book Orientalism.” Irina Berlyand: “Of course this is ‘imagined’ communication. All communication within the sphere of culture is imagined. It is people who actually interact with one another — the vehicles of different mentalities, and so on, but not of cultures, if we use this word strictly in the Bibler sense” (see my introduction to Bibler’s article, “A Few Words About Bibler’s Dialogics,” in this issue).

21 See note 27 below, in which Eugene Matusov raises an issue about the SDC following the history of cultures in its curriculum. The question of the order in which cultures should be studied in the SDC and the “inclinations” of a particular age toward a particular culture has been the subject of many debates within the Dialogue of Cultures group. The biogenetic law asserting that ontogenesis mirrors phylogenesis in the area of age-specific psychology has not been empirically proved. From the perspective of logic, Hegel substantiates the historical sequence of cultures in The Phenomenology of Spirit. According to Hegel, cultures sublate the previous culture, revealing themselves to be different stages in the development of spirit, and this same process of sublation takes place over the course of an individual’s education. According to Bibler’s dialogics concept, cultures (classical antiquity, the Middle Ages, etc.), on the contrary, exist in modern culture simultaneously, dialogically integrated, but not sublating one another. Organization of the learning process, however, demands some kind of sequence in the study of different cultures (and it should be born in mind that this study is accompanied by inter-age, that is, intercultural dialogues, which Bibler addresses later in this article. Approaching the question purely theoretically, from the perspective of content, based on the concept, cultures could be studied in any order. The sequence that corresponds to history was selected, in part, for practical reasons — studying the works of medieval or early modern writers, pupils encounter references to Plato and Aristotle, but not the other way around.

Furthermore, the Hegelian approach is not only sublated, but is reproduced within the SDC. (This is my interpretation of the question, and Bibler did not entirely agree with it.) The grades of Antiquity in particular, it could be argued, are age appropriate in terms of psychology as well — the Ancient Greek eidos brings together visual image thinking and theoretical thinking and the deep-rootedness of the concept in consciousness is uncovered (with the theoretical concept that was characteristic of science in the New Time, the situation was different — and more complicated). Bibler touches on this question below (see paragraph [d]). This is treated in greater detail in his work “Soznanie i myshlenie (Filosofskie predposylki),” in Filosofsko-psikhologicheskie predpolozheniia shkoly dialoga kul’tur (Moscow, 1998). Kurganov discusses the link between the study of different cultures, the design of the different stages in the SDC, and the actual psychological maturation of the pupil in his works: S.Iu. Kurganov, “Dialog kul’tur i sovremennaia shkola — Pedagogika razvitiia i peremeny v rossiiskom obrazovanii,” in Materialy II nauchno-prakticheskoi konferentsii (Krasnoyarsk, 1998), pt. 2, p. 54, and I. Solomadin and S. Kurganov, “Shkola. Dialog. Kul’tura,” Daidzhest pedagogicheskikh tekhnologii “Shkola-park,” 2004, pp. 77–78.

22 This is a reference to the treatise Mechanical Problems created by the Aristotle school (fourth century b.c.e.). It provides the first sketches of theoretical mechanics. The unity of tools is boiled down to the idea of a circle and is described in the following way: “Everything about the balance is resolved in the circle; everything about the lever is resolved in the balance, and practically everything about mechanical movement is resolved in the lever. Further, many of the marvels about the motion of circles derive from the fact that, on any one line drawn from the center, no two points are swept at the same pace as another but the point further from the motionless end is always quicker” (Thomas Nelson Winter, The Mechanical Problems in the Corpus of Aristotle [Lincoln, NE, 2007], p. 8.) A geometric explanation for Archimedes’s dynamic law on the balance of loads is thus proposed. This example can explain what is said below about eidos (the image as a basis for concept). See A.V. Akhutin, Istoriia printsipov fizicheskogo eksperimenta (Moscow, 1976), pp. 81–88.

23 Bakhtin writes about the ambivalence (ambiguity, incongruity with oneself, the ability to look at oneself from the outside) both as a property of cultural works (the novels of Dostoevsky and Rabelais) and as a definition of speech in which every word unites within itself different senses, its own and those of others — hears itself. See Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics, Rabelais and His World and other works by Bakhtin.

24 Eugene Matusov: “Why is it ‘internal’ — dialogue could be unfolded, external as well?” Irina Berlyand: “Internal dialogue is dialogue with the Babylonian or some other Eastern culture reproduced within Greek culture. This was an asymmetrical, unilateral phenomenon. The actual, external dialogue (contacts, trade, wars, etc.) that took place historically was reproduced only by the Greeks in their own culture as something significant, Eastern culture as an object of understanding, assimilation, doubt, debate, and so on. For the other culture (the Babylonians, the Egyptians, etc.) this external dialogue did not have cultural significance. For example, for the Pythagoreans, Eastern wisdom, myths, cults, doctrines, and the like existed as an object of comprehension, but Eastern culture was self-contained and for it Pythagoreanism did not exist — at least we have no evidence of this.”

25 See also A.I. Shchetnikov, Arifmetika po Pifagoru. Uch. Posobie (Moscow: Gimnaziia Otkrytyi Mir, 1995) and Pifagoreiskoe uchenie o chisle i velichine, 6th ed. (Novosibirsk: ANT, 2006).

26 What is being referred to here are those points, “acmes” (including historically represented acmes) in which culture is concentrated into self-inquiry and begins to argue with itself. In another work Bibler lists these acmes: “The first acme is the century of Pericles. . . .The second acme is the century of Alexander and Hellenism, especially its beginning. . . . The third acme is the century of Caesar and Augustus and the emergence of Christianity.” See V.S. Bibler, “Dialog kul’tur i shkola XXI veka,” in Shkola dialoga kul’tur. Idei. Opyt. Problemy (Kemerovo: Alef, 1993), pp. 42–43.

27 Eugene Matusov: “Why? This reminds me of Leontiev’s mantra ‘the ontogenesis recapitulates the phylogenesis adequately, but not identically.’ The dialogues of Sergei Kurganov’s young pupils do not recapitulate classical dialogues either in terms of form or in terms of content. The assertions made by Bibler must be empirically verified.” Irina Beryland: “As for ‘empirical verification’ of these assertions — this is not a matter of describing or investigating empiria, it is a matter of design. The ‘inner socium’ of the culture of Antiquity is organized, as Bibler sees it, in the form of tragedy, and this form can be reproduced by learning dialogues. Incidentally, Kurganov, in analyzing his experience, noticed that the dialogues are constructed following the “schematism” of antiquity tragedy, with a hero and a chorus, with the reproduction of aporia, and so on. See S.Iu. Kurganov, ‘Psikkhologicheskie problem uchebnogo dialoga,’ Voprosy psikhologii, 1988, no. 2, p. 89 and ‘Postroenie podrostkovoi shkoly,’ Peremeny, 2001, p. 118.”

28 Eugene Matusov: “And what about making sense of pop culture, children’s nontext peer cultures?! Cultures that are historically horizontal and not vertical?” Irina Berlyand: “On the subject of comprehending ‘pop culture,’ children’s nontext peer cultures, and so on, this comprehension absolutely can and should take place. But here the situation is approximately the same as with Greek and Babylonian culture, that is, asymmetrical. In works of so-called highbrow culture, the voice of so-called mass culture can be incorporated, reproduced as an independent voice, interpreted, debated, and so on, but this does not work the other way around. Spooner (the simple fellow) is a character in one of Nicholas of Cusa’s dialogues, who has a conversation with the Philosopher, Cardinal, and others; the empirical Spooner (one of the common folk) does not know about Nicholas. Bibler, in the work ‘Obraz prostetsa i ideiia lichnosti v kul’ture srednikh vekov’ (in Na graniakh logiki i kul’tury, pp. 95–137) contemplates how the voice of the ‘silent majority’ can be reproduced in culture and shows that the image of the Simple Fellow is the image in the inner dialogue of the medieval thinker; such “highbrow” thinkers as St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Nicholas of Cusa discover the simple fellow within themselves. Again, mass culture, pop culture, nonschool children’s peer culture (here I use the word ‘culture’ in the ordinary sense, not the Bibler sense) must not simply be empirically present, but must be incorporated into dialogue, and they cannot do this on their own, as empirically present, but only when they are reproduced as a character, a voice, in dialogue (not initiated by them, but organized), such as Nicholas of Cusa’s Spooner.”

29 This is a metaphor. It refers to the point of concentration at which culture most acutely serves as the object for oneself. For the Middle Ages this, according to Bibler’s thinking, corresponds to the period of the fourth–fifth centuries mentioned here.

30 Blessed Augustine (354–430), a philosopher and theologian, one of the church Fathers, was educated as a pagan, became interested in philosophy and rhetoric, and then became an Orthodox Christian. His Confessions (and in his other texts such as The City of God) demonstrates how a new reason is born, how a new means of comprehending, a Christian attitude toward the world, and so forth, are born through intensive (and conscious) dialogue with the culture of antiquity.

31 Here is an example of how knowledge is “puzzled” (made puzzling, “estranged”) from a “learning dialogue” between Pippin and Alcuin. “Pippin: What is a document? Alcuin: The preserver of history. P: What is a word? A: The revealer of the mind. P: What generates the word? A: The tongue. P: What is the tongue? A: The winnower of the breath. P: What is breath? A: The preserver of life. P: What is life? A delight to the blessed, a grief to the unhappy, an experience of waiting for death. P: What is death? A: An inevitable happening, an unpredict able journey, the tears of the living, the coming into force of a testament, the robber of human beings” Alcuin of York (aka Albinus or Flaccus [c. 735–804]), philosopher, theologian, poet, author of textbooks. The excerpt above is taken from The Debate between the Princely and Noble Youth Pippin and Alcuin the Scholar (trans. Gillian Spraggs, www.gillianspraggs.com/translations/alcuin.html).

32 Eugene Matusov: “Research in situated cognition contests this assertion by Bibler. With the development of computers, calligraphy is becoming a dying subject. As I see it, there is too much speculation going unchallenged by empirical findings.” Irina Berlyand: “It is not clear to me what kind of research contests specifically this assertion and just how it contests it (the assertion that the medieval approach, which viewed the tool as an extension of the craftsman’s hand, is important for the mastery of calligraphy). I doubt that it was subjected to empirical verification. It is another matter whether or not calligraphy is necessary in the contemporary school and, if it is, what its purpose is. Using your terminology, it could be said that asserting that calligraphy is dying out is a manifestation of ‘Western-centrism’ — in Japan calligraphy continues to thrive, despite the spread of computers, as a special art. In the SDC, calligraphy is viewed not as a purely utilitarian skill — as such it really is becoming increasingly less important from a practical perspective — but as the art of beautiful writing, forming a special, nonpragmatic, but culturally significant attitude toward working with the hands, manuscripts, and written speech.”

33 The Lay of Igor’s Host [Slovo o polku Igoreve — also translated as The Tale (Song) of Igor’s Campaign — Trans.] is a famous work of old Russian literature describing the unsuccessful campaign by Prince Igor Sviatoslavich in alliance with other Russian princes against the Polovtsians in 1185. The question of when it was written is still a matter of dispute. D.S. Likhachev places it in the twelfth century. There are numerous prose and poetic translations into modern Russian.

34 This is possible in New Time classes (and impossible, for example, in Medieval classes) because the contemporary school (“usual textbooks”) largely reproduces the image of theoretical knowledge, the idea of science, and so forth, that took shape specifically in the New Time — at least that is the intention; in Developmental Instruction theoretical knowledge is reproduced in an explicit and reflected, but also sublated, form.

35 Eugene Matusov: “It is interesting that the ‘close’ other (other ethnic groups, ethnic minorities) appears very ‘late’ in Bibler’s scheme, although it, this other, might be exceptionally relevant for the children.” Irina Beryland: “That is exactly why it appears now, so that that the ‘close other’ could be conceived and understood (among other senses) as a (potential) subject of culture (in Bibler’s sense), and not just perceived as someone with whom they live side by side, toward whom they must maintain tolerance, not interfere, recognize their rights, and so on, that is, in the spirit of political correctness and multiculturalism (which is also, of course, necessary to no small degree). Specifically in the New Time the phenomenon of ethnicity was seen as a phenomenon of culture (in Classical Antiquity, everyone else was a barbarian; in the Middle Ages (for European culture) there was a single Christian world, and only in the New Time was this phenomenon perceived as something culturally significant.”

36 That is, it is not merely significant because it introduces or serves as a prelude to the main course, assimilated one day and sublated the next.

37 In this regard, the Renaissance in a certain sense gave rise to the culture of Antiquity as a culture of vision (speculation: the original meaning of the word θεωρία [theory] — spectacle; to understand something means to see it as a form with one’s intelligent vision [in Russian the word for speculation is comprised of the words mind and vision — Trans.]), in opposition to and dialogue with the Middle Ages as a culture of hearing.

38 Only in the New Time did science emerge and come to be thought of as a system of separate scientific disciplines (mathematics, physics, biology, etc.), with each science consciously formulated as its own separate subject with its own “interdisciplinary” interrelationships. This system has survived to the present day within the system of academic subjects.

39 In the Russian eleven-grade educational system, these are the two grades preceding graduation.

40 Perhaps this refers to the first ten grades, not counting the final, eleventh grade, which occupies a special place within the school structure. But it may be just an error.