[xmca] Sasha on subject/object

From: Mike Cole (lchcmike@gmail.com)
Date: Sun Jul 24 2005 - 17:13:58 PDT

I am uncertain of what the niceities are concerning cross posting between
xmca and xbdg (meaning? I missed something) groups. the former of which is
for people to get home to finish the discussion of language and activity,
the latter of which has been discussing Ilyenkov. This message does not need
the context
of prior messages to be interpretable and its content is of obvious interest
on xmca. My apologies if this is not good netiquette.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Alexander Surmava <monada@netvox.ru>
Date: Jul 24, 2005 4:53 PM
Subject: RE: [xbdg] mechanical, chemical, organic
To: xbdg@yahoogroups.com

 Hi Peter and everyboby,

You wrote:

> I think you're saying that the object of study/subject matter is
> always constituted as part of the activity?
Yes indeed, moreover I think that the object of perception both human and
animal is always constituted ("polojen" - this Russian translation of
Fichte's term< SPAN LANG="ru"> used EVI describing situation of meeting of
subject with it's object - "predmet") as part of the activity. (Traditional
psychology regards the perception a passive, "S-R" act.) Moreover I think
that the side in relation which constitutes the life has to be "presumed"
("polojen") by living subject.

It's important to underline that the act of presumption ("akt polaganija")
is by no means a mental act. That's why I am! not sure in term "presumption"

Ana Marjanovic-Shane in her XMCA comments on the translation the term
POLAGAT' wrote: "It is an act of focusing one's attention to an object
(predmet) - "to

put it down in front of one's mind's eye". Even the act of focusing

attention onto something, gives this something an "ideational" dimension

- a dimension of a relationship between a person who perceives it and

the object itself." This "ideational" taste is just what I am afraid of. A
plant which presumes a Sun as it's subject matter doesn't perform any mental
or psychic act.

[The root of A.N.Leontiev's contradictions lays in uncritical definition of
life which he put into the basis of his theory. This definition he took
literally from old biology. He asserted: " As we can see the main feature of
the process of interaction of living organisms with their environment is
characterized in a peculiarity that any response (reaction) of organism to
external influence is active process, i.e. it takes place at the
expense ofits own
energy." (Glavnaya osobennost' protsessa vzaimodeistviya zhivyh organizmov s
okruzhayuschei ih sredoi zaklyucha! etsya kak my videli, v tom, chto vsyakii
otvet (reaktsiya) organizma na vneshnee vozdeistvie yavlyaetsya aktivnym
protsessom, t.e. sovershaetsya za schet energii samogo organizma.)]

Otherwise we can see that A.N.Leontiev starting a process of ascending to
concrete psychological theory puts in the basis the wrong abstraction of
external stimulus ("vneshnee vozdeistvie") and specific reaction ("onvet
(reaksiya") organizma). T< /FONT>he wrong character of those abstractions is
obvious from EVI's reflection: "A living rabbit may be analytically
decomposed into chemical elements, into mechanical 'particles', etc.
(into aggregat!
e of stimuli and reactions added by A.S.) But, having thus obtained an
aggregate of analytically singled out elements, we shall not be able to
perform a reverse operation, even after a most detailed consideration of
these elements we shall never understand why their combination before the
analytical dismemberment existed as a live rabbit."

We can't reconstruct a living creature from such details as stimuli and re
actions. After all attempts we will obtain a marionette or a robot. Starting
from this abstraction we would be forced to add to our synthesis something
additional, something which doesn't derives from our initial principles. I
mean Cartesian soul.

> It's very helpful -- your pointing out that this was a source of the
> lack of consistency in Leontiev's theory of activity. I think on
>**** xmca**** you mentioned that Gal'perin made a similar error?
Surely. Gal'perin is extremely contradictory in this issue. From one hand he
rather funnily reproached Descartes "for showing the exact characteristics
of psychophysical dualism" and from other hand he entirely shares
Cartesianopinion on
animals as purely mechanic constructions.

> I would be very interested in your opinion: Did Davydov also inherit
> this error regarding PREDMET from Leontiev and Gal'perin. Or did he
> go beyond it?
It's difficult to give a single meaning answer. Davydov was a disciple both
Gal'perin and Ilyenkov. Surely the latter have influenced him much
profoundly than the former. But it's difficult to say something
definite concerning
this question.

I dare say if he were a participant of this conversation he should agree
with us. His profound! ******* * knowledge of dialectical method gives us a
right to surmise! it.

As for my text with detailed exposition of critic of Leont'ev's position
Davidiv hadn't read it. He proposed me to began this theoretic investigation,
but we hadn't a possibility to discuss the results.



P.S. By the way, Peter, are you going to Sevilla?

P.P.S. I've heard that ! you fluently know Russian. Is it correct?


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