Ilyenkov's core argument, as I see it, was this: just as a material artifact (a use-value, made with concrete labor) in a commodity exchange has exchange value (socially necessary abstract labor), so too would any cultural artifact in an action, (including the action itself), have ideality. In other words, if an object, physical or imagined, has some kind of sociocultural meaning and status, it has ideality. In this view, the Marxist labor theory of value is a special case of the general theory of ideality, which in turn is an application of the cultural-historical theory of activity.
Note the caveat about an object having "sociocultural" meaning and status. An individual that invents meanings unknown to others is not, strictly speaking, creating ideality, any more than anything a worker produces will automatically have exchange value in the market. Ideality, according to this definition, is sociocultural, not idiocultural. Not all signs and other artifacts, therefore, are ideal. Just socially understood ones are. This distinction between the socio- and idio-, of course, can get tricky. Especially, perhaps, after a few bottles of wine :-))
Also, note that this definition of ideality is not about an "ideal object" necessarily being a symbol, or a representation, or about being any kind of a sign at all. Any socioculturally meaningful object will qualify as having "ideality" if it is indeed being engaged with by people in an activity of some kind. One example of ideality might be the unicorn that we together imagine joining us at our table. Another example might be the cork from one of our wine bottles that was kicked under the table. It would have ideality for the person who picks it up and is able to infer something about what we were drinking, even after we have gone. As for ideality in literature and drama, there is perhaps no place it is more recognized and carefully investigated than in the detective story! LOL
And also note that from this point of view the distinction between "artifact" and "action" can be set aside at this level of discussion, where we are viewing reality as a whole as being comprised of material objects, but are suggesting that certain objects have both materiality and something else - ideality. What gives certain objects this extra quality? According to this interpretation of Ilyenkov's concept of ideality, material objects have ideality, that is, are imbued with the ideal, when they are socioculturally engaged with by humans. Just as manual tools become extensions of our limbs, cultural artifacts and actions become extensions of our relationships. Ideality is the cultural and linguistic result of extending human social relations to known, and imagined, objects and universes.
To sum up, no matter what package a socioculturally-regarded object comes in, if it exists, it therefore has materiality, because it is in the nature of the known universe of matter and energy for all objects to be material; and if this object has sociocultural meaning to humans, it therefore has ideality, because it is reflecting human social relations.
A closing remark. In this perspective, both Nature and God lose their places at the center of the universe, where philosophically-minded humans sometimes try to gauge reality from. Both Nature and God, in this perspective, have been replaced by a new kind of ultimate, and very earthly object - human social relations. Which is not to say that humans are now free to ignore the laws of physics, biological evolution, socio-historical development, or individual psychological development. Heavens no! It is precisely in the discovery and harnessing of these necessary regularities and variations of reality wherein human freedom lies. One of my favorite versions of this idea is codified in the saying "freedom is the realization of necessity." This is one of the great insights that Hegel, Marx, Vygotsky and others help us understand and put into practice. As for advocating the replacement of God - and especially, his or her tenacious advocate, Dualism - well, that is another story to discuss, one which may take uncorking a few more bottles of wine ... :-))
- Steve On Feb 18, 2009, at 3:08 PM, Martin Packer wrote:
Andy,My reading (thus far) of Ilyenkov is that only certain kinds of artifact can be said to be ideal, as well as material. This would include dollars, hand gestures, words - but not, I think, a wine bottle or an automobile. Or notnecessarily so: under certain circumstances these could function asrepresentations, of status, for example. I confess I'm not yet completely clear on how Ilyenkov is drawing the distinction, but draw it I am sure hedoes. And activity does not have this kind of ideal form. If it is the child's contact with ideal artifacts, as he suggests, that producesconsciousness then contact with (participation in) activity would not be enough. Dealing with words, on the other hand, since these are both materialand ideal, would foster consciousness. Martin On 2/18/09 5:56 PM, "Andy Blunden" <email@example.com> wrote:In "Learning by Expanding", Engstrom quotes V P Zinchenko as claiming that "word meaning" is very close to being a special case of "tool mediated action". I think this is correct and one could add "joint" as it is invariably other people that one shares meaning with, not things, and meaning which is not shared is nothing. A word is no more nor less ideal than a key or a dollar or a wine bottle or a white shirt or an automobile or an open hand, but how can we counterpose words or any artefact to activity? Activity uses artefacts and is impossible without them; things are only artefacts insofar as they are incorporated in Activity. Andy Martin Packer wrote:But Andy, if we're following Ilyenkov's lead, don't words have an idealcharacter that activity lacks? Martin On 2/17/09 9:11 PM, "Andy Blunden" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:(2) Apart from artefacts, is also activity. Doubtbless activity is implicit in meaning in some way, but it is unclear to me. I think it is a mistake to make the foundation of consciousness just words, rather than practice. Andy Mike Cole wrote:Without the time (or skill to switch to cyrrilic!) I have been thinkingabout Kolya's questions, ,David. For those who forget in the stream of xcma chatting, Nikolai asks: where Vygotsky posits word meaning as unit of analysis of human consciousness?In which text and on what page? From what Vygotsky's work it is taken?Could I ask you to make a quotation from Vygotsky? Thank you in advance NikolaiI was thinking how nice it would be to know how to search the vygotskycorpus online in Russian, which I do not know how to do.And remembering fragments of why I thought David's comments resonatedstrongly with my own intuitions, formed in part, by LSV. such as (no quotations or page numbers, just failing memory here):meaning is the most stable form of sense-- every totally stable? really?word meaning changes in developmentthe closing of *Speech and Thought *that David points to, the drop ofwater, perhaps, being in my eye.The citation of the fragment from Doestoevsky where a bunch of guys arestandingaround saying, it seems, the word "product of defecation" (oh poo!) andevery oneis using the same word and every one is both saying the same thing andsaying something different.Don't all of these and many other examples (Paula, are the Sakharov -LSV blocks of any help here?) point to the general conclusion that David wasasserting?Might our Russian friends join Nikolai and help us to understand the coreof the issueDavid raised? Is he incorrect? Can you search the corpus and help us tounderstand if we are misleading each other? mike On Tue, Feb 17, 2009 at 5:26 PM, David Kellogg <email@example.com>wrote:Dear Professor Veresov:Let me begin by saying how much we enjoy your work here in Korea. Ourgrouphas been discussing your 2005 "Outlines" article "Marxist and non-Marxist aspects of the cultural historical psychology of L.S. Vygotsky" since we read it last year, and I found your 2006 article "Leading activity in developmental psychology" very useful in figuring out why I don't acceptthe whole construct of "leading activity".I think that BOTH works are really quite central to the periodization problem under discussion, but I also think that BOTH works refer mainlyand centrally (and thus for me somewhat misleadingly) to a period of Vygotsky's oeuvre that is quite different from the one I have in mind.The 2005 article places a good deal of stress on early Vygotsky, aVygotskywho is almost non-Vygotskyan, or at least non-psychological, Vygotsky inhisearly twenties, a student of the humanities with a very strong sense thatnothing human is alien to them.The 2006 article in contrast seems to me to place a great deal of stressonthe post-Vygotsky period, and I was very surprised and pleased to readthatthe work on "leading activity" is really not as far as I had thought from the fragments LSV left behind in his unfinished "Child Development".Elkonin, at any rate, seems to have been fully aware that the "leading activity" is in no way typical or characteristic of a particular period (though Leontiev and lately Karpov have said exactly the opposite). The problem remains that I do not see any place for the crisis in this work,andthere is no question but that MY Vygotsky, LATE Vygotsky, the Vygotsky of Thinking and Speech gives the crisis an absolutely central (one might evensay a critical) role.Of course, when I said that word meaning is a unit of analysis for human consciousness I am not simply repeating what others have said (e.g.Werstch 1985). On the contrary, I mean what for me is the most mature and thereforein some ways least characteristic moment of Vygotsky's own work; I mighteven call it the "leading activity" of his thinking.I meant, especially, the very last three paragraphs of Thinking andSpeech.I have always found this to be a little like the last page of "Origin of Species", rather more than a conclusion, but a whole revolutionaryprogram, complete with a clarion call in the very last six words: Осмысленное слово есть микрокосм человеческого сознания. David Kellogg Seoul National University of Education. _______________________________________________ xmca mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca_______________________________________________ xmca mailing list email@example.com http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca_______________________________________________ xmca mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca_______________________________________________ xmca mailing list email@example.com http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca