Encyclopedia of Science Education

Living Edition
| Editors: Richard Gunstone

Heterogeneity of Thinking and Speaking

  • Eduardo F. Mortimer
  • Charbel N. El-Hani
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6165-0_112-2

Heterogeneity of thinking means that in any culture and in any individual, there exists not one, homogeneous form of thinking, but different types of verbal thinking (Tulviste 1991). This general idea can be also found in other formulations, for example, in the “tool kit” analogy used by Wittgenstein for characterizing his language games. It expresses, also, an acknowledgement that word meanings are essentially polysemous.

The notion of heterogeneity despite genetic hierarchy, discussed by Wertsch (1991), assumes that different forms of thinking can be ranked genetically (in the sense of development or generation), but the latter forms are not assumed to be more powerful. Based on the notion of “spheres of life” mentioned by William James in his description of where common sense, science, and critical philosophy may be adequate and appropriate, and on the “activity-oriented” approach outlined by Tulviste, Wertsch assumes that the development of new forms of activity gives rise to new...


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversidade Federal de Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil
  2. 2.Institute of BiologyUniversidade Federal da BahiaSalvadorBrazil