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Re: [xmca] Interpreting Leontiev: functionalism and Anglo Finnish Insufficiences

Oh I am always shifting my understanding of "pragmatism" around, Mike. My recent read of Dewey was quite exhilerating and probably brought my estimation of "pragmatism" to a high. I suspect pragmatism is like communism in that its most sophisticated voices rise way above the Zeitgeist which is expressed in the social movement it speaks for. George Novack, a well-known American Trotskyist/philosopher of the mid-2th century, rated American Pragmatism as one step away from Dialectical Materialism, and if we take pragmatism to be the spirit of American communitarianism, that is a huge claim. On the other hand, when I read Dewey, I can see what he meant.


mike cole wrote:
Darn, Christine, old man that i am I did not know that my journey had
ended. Perhaps a little like the man in the painting imagined by Prince
Myshkin who has a second or two after the guillotine has sliced off his
head to think about what has happened.

I cannot speak to all of the issues you raise for lack  of knowledge, but i
do have some knowledge of intervention research in the CHAT tradition, and
I believe there is a lot to what you say about problems of agency, power,
domination -- a whole lot. Which is to say, I guess, that it squares with
my experience. The act of reaching is itself ambiguous in the moment, of
course, but when there are issues of money and power differential, as there
always are in such projects,  it is frought, whatever the good intentions
of the person who hand is moving toward the other's body.

I take it that a major goal of Developmental Work Research is to shift of
collective agency in the intervention activity. But DWR work does not meet
criteria important to Morten, presumably because it makes an Anglo-Finnish
misinterpretation of Leontiev. At least we all talk to the Danes! :-)

Andy-- Somewhere in this chain of messages someone did not clip the
trailing messages and the chain is very long. Scrolling through to get to
Christine's message I hit upon the soothing words off marxists.org about
pragmatists. I sure did fall in with a bad lot back there in the middle
west of the united states! Darn good thing I could get to Moscow where
Lenin was on every bookshelf.

I have been trying to repent, but as you can see, struggling with the dead
hand of the past. Still, I feel like i am learning a lot. Odd.


For those celebrating holidays, best wishes for a pleasant respite from
work-a-day cares. And for those like me, who appreciate this community's
generosity with its time, many thanks for being t/here.


On Sun, Dec 25, 2011 at 9:16 AM, christine schweighart <
schweighartgate@hotmail.com> wrote:

Yes Andy ,
It seemed clear at the time but my last post was very badly written.  My
gist was Morten uses a concept where prototyping figures in interventions
with often marginalised people ( I recall - because he came to the UK with
Ines Langemeir and PhD students  attended the workshops. At least two
people conveyed to me the beneficial influence of this  - and one was
trying to 'pass the baton on' via me).  Yet my point was that the
'marginalised' , being 'touched' by the experience might be the ones to
 reach to, not only the PhD students - and these persons are actually
necessary to relate with to encounter the growing point of development of
'theory'. i.e my writing was trying to convey the complexity of achieving
this in intervention 'projects'. Where an important aspect is that
different sciences do not cannibalise each other upon their encounter, yet
orient not to their 'discipline' but to the 'object' of projects.

My references to Talcot Parson and his student Luhmann: when 'systems'
developed to take an 'interpretive' turn it came out of projects and
action-research practice- not an intellectual exercise of 'chosing' Husserl
- this was to convey to others. The ACTUALITY became important and oriented
to in relation to reality ( and taking up a social 'function' oriented
 purposefully ( around notion of 'motive' in that AR context terms). At
this moment VALUE entered the methodological toolset, by means of
'weltanschauung' ( ambiguously figuring - so there grew 3 forms of
Weltanscahuung  being distinguished. etc).  At present the 'tool' to attend
to Actuality has become 'rich picture' i.e as open as possible -
'expression' not necessarily in 'word' form- left to the creative
orientation of those 'present - and this is very important ( I emphasise)
because to be able to give oneself 'over' into collective needs to be
oriented to freely, in the most  '' human aware  '' not obligation for
other/coersive way etc. Sounds corny but this is then social context
enabled  pleasure - not 'duty' .  [ OK enough romaticism! but  I find this
value more in Andalucia 'everywhere' than I find in the UK - for example.
Actuality has been explored by two PhD studies in particular Costas
Tsouvalis who  studies Foucoult and 'introduced 'actuality' to attend to
the movement from 'expression' to 'theoretical systems thinking'. I orient
to Davydov's empirical thinking and 'theoretical thinking'  and their
relation here.  The second was a Japanese PhD at the LSE - Kenichi Uchiyama
( at soem point president of the A-R society in Japan I believe...) Who
introduced 'auto-affection' and 'inverted' the modelling relations. In his
insight from Japnese culture.So most important to be 'inclusive' of those
that are not the 'university researchers' is to endeavour to put the tools
in the 'hands' of 'those in the wild' in Morten's terms - The value or
principle here , is that they actually 'know' much more already.

In Autopoiesis Maturana could only rest orientation to others on 'love' ,
the late fransico Varela - explored 'energy' , interesting. - we do not
have the science yet to 'explain ' that.

In my references to 'peasants' this same principle applies and after I
found this  website: NB this person is only about 50 kilometers away from
where I live - yet I came to his work via this technology and the
collaborative enquiry in this thread - amazing!!

 I can't remember what I was orienting to with 'wise men' - BUT they were
from the East - they were following stars ( as they were astronomers and
scientists) , but in Spanish culture Christmas is centred on the Reyes
Magos ( magicians  who bring incredible gifts). In the Catholic conquest of
the Al-Andalus the religious upheaval often only inscribed very thinly over
the Moorish culture ( e.g fixed a few word on a sacred place; or posted a
cross on only the very top of the mosque), and so in the Christmas fable
the 'Reyes Magos ' remain in all depth.

Excuse my fable: they are still travelling arriving 6th January
http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reyes_Magos - it's a homage to a 'conquered'
- but really more strongly 'revered' culture, somehow both together  and
living in-between.

Also after mentioning peasants - and how they are NOT illiterate - ie have
great wisdom - I found this

But from this perspective I would like to explore Vasilyuk and his
'function' of Value as concept.

Also I wrote a paper to the UK systems society over the summer and they
are interested , so I'd like to know what I'm 'inventing' . Someone from
the Moscow Methodology Circle came to talk and we could have a conversation
 ( I was interested because of Davydov's 'learning games in organisations).
They use 'lots' of games ( i.e as in metaphor many  times exploring
together helps context of actuality to surface.). Though there is play
activity and  also 'learning activity' - luckily they have abandoned
through experience- 'thinking activity' - this was very funny to hear in
the talk.

Still, that's hopefully a bit more coherent Andy and others - I don't know
how old the wise MEN are reckoned to be Mike and  Michael:)) but it's nice
that they went on their journey.

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*Andy Blunden*
Joint Editor MCA: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hmca20/18/1
Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857

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