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RE: [xmca] Vladislav Lektorsky's notion of the subject
The fault line I am trying to elucidate probably was not well expressed
through my use of "identity" rather than, say, "self."
What Larry's note conjured for me is a sense of dual agendas for
participation in sociocultural theorizing, agendas that may not only
separate us into different theoretical camps, but more properly run
through each of us.
To the extent one takes established concepts and categories like
"writer" or "academic" or "lesbian" or "radical" or the "state of
becoming" (as in "becoming a writer") to constitute the plane of self,
one retains the possibility of engaging in sociocultural theorizing as
an expression of political goals and ideals. For those seeing self as
rooted beyond such signifiers in the material sociohistorical reality of
our time, self becomes much more about the unnamable qualities we share,
than the political categories that separate us. To venture toward this
latter perspective makes sociocultural theory less focused on
politically relevant categories, suggesting a more dominant
Note 1: The logic of these designations does not preclude arriving at
the logocentric interpretation of self based on purely philosophical
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2012 5:49 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Vladislav Lektorsky's notion of the subject
I can't see this dichotomy, David. Leaving aside the fact that I was
only calling attention of Lektorsky's claim and not staking my own
(though I do give credence to what he says), and I do indeed "see the
potential of individual human agency as extending inward to the roots of
identity" (for example I set myself a project of "becoming a writer"
when I retired in 2002. No-one else suggested that to me.) But such
individual projects, individual in the sense that an individual sets the
project for themself, are always only "forged within the reality of
sociohistorical context." (How on earth could I become a writer other
than through the existence of projects like xmca?)
That is the whole point isn't it? That self-determination (or
sovereignty) is possible and meaningful only through membership of a
larger community of sovereign agents who recognise the indiviuals'
rights and interact with the individual so as to produce the
preconditions for an individual's independence? i.e. mediated
David H Kirshner wrote:
> Very clearly etched distinction, Larry.
> Seems like a deep sociocultural fault line between theorists who see
> potential of individual human agency as extending inward to the roots
> identity (e.g., Andy) and those who see identity as forged within the
> reality of sociohistorical context (e.g., you). I'm curious as to how
> the XMCA community divides along that line.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> On Behalf Of Larry Purss
> Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2012 8:30 AM
> To: email@example.com; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Vladislav Lektorsky's notion of the subject
> I agree that the "inner world" is cultural historical. This "inner
> as a "concept" did not exist in Aristotole's time [and not in Homer's
> The term "construct" may suggest that this "inner world" is an
> epiphenomenon OF the real cultural-historical world and could
> collaped back into the cultural historical. In other words the "inner
> world" could be deconstructed.
> My reading of this possibility is that once arisen as an ACTUALITY the
> "inner world" cannot be deconstructed except if the entire collective
> activity of which it is a "part" also is deconstructed. In other
> "sovereign selfs" and "sovergeign states" and "sovereign rights" exist
> together within a family resemblance with a shared notion of
> possessive constructions.
> Andy, cultura-historical formational artifacts such as "selfs" and
> are not conceptualepiphenomena that can be deconstructed [as merely
> "epiphenomenal concepts"] unless the entire collective activity from
> the "inner world" and "texts" arises also is deconstructed
> If the "inner world" ACTUALLY ARISES FROM the cultural historical as a
> particular KIND or TYPE of "psychological world" then once arisen
> [developmentally/evolutionary] it IS an actual "existence" that is
> MERELY IDEAL [as epiphenomenal] but rather exists as a particular KIND
> of artifact every bit as real as cathedrals and states and rights.
> The particular kind of subject that we are familiar with seems
> linked to "texs" and "states" and "rights" and from my perspective is
> particular possessive kind of inner world.
> Andy, going back to Charles Taylor's notion of "theories" as necessary
> SIMPLIFY and REDUCE dynamic complexity, [life always exceeds our
> points to the need for collective activity but a central kind of
> for the "inner world" to arise I believe is hermeneutical and
> Gadamer's notion that these conversations CONTINUE to occur across the
> centuries [not as a backward glance but in real time]. "I" read an
> such as Aristotle today and this reading [con-verse-ation] points to
> "texts" and "inner worlds" both arising as artifacts which occupy the
> same phenomenological [not epiphenomenal] actuality.
> Therefore, we need to be cautious when saying we are constructing &
> deconstructing "texts" and "inner worlds" AS IF they are
> They ARE phenomenal and can annililated as actualities if the cultural
> historical world is annililated but I don't think we can deconstruct
> texts and "inner worlds" and leave this particular cultural historical
> world intact.
> That is the reason I was attempting to make a distinction between the
> "construct" and "understood" [as a dialogical intersubjective notion
> used by Gadamer]
> Andy, I "hold" [possess] these perspectives tentatively, but it is
> curiosity alights.
> On Wed, Jan 4, 2012 at 2:33 AM, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>> OK, Larry has selected Lektorsky's chapter in the 2009 book to read.
>> Larry, instead of running on to consider 15 different concepts of the
>> inner world, shouldn't we wait on a second and think about
>> claim? What do you think of the claim that the very idea of an "inner
>> world" or "self" is a cultural-historical construct, i.e., that in
>> Aristotle's times, such a concept did not exist and therefore that it
>> simply not be sensible to talk of people having such a "self"?
>> Larry Purss wrote:
>>> I went on Google Scholar and typed in "Vladislav Lektorsky"
>>> The book "Learning and Expanding with Activity" came up free to
>>> I'm sending an attachment if others are interested.
>>> Chapter 5 "Mediation as a Means of Collective Activity" by V.
> Lektorsky is
>>> on pages 75 to 87.
>>> Page 80 explores Lektorsky's perspective of the notion of the
>>> quote what he says.
>>> "The idea of the "inner world" is very important in cultural and
>>> contexts. The subject as the unity of consciousness, the unity of an
>>> individual biography, and the center of making decisions can exist
> only as
>>> the center of "the inner world". *But the appearance of the "inner
>>> possible only when the IDEA of "the inner" arises in culture*, in
>>> words, when it is realized in forms of collective activity. This
>>> there may exist cultures and forms of activity including forms of
>>> communication where the subjects have no feelings of the ego and
>>> The ego of an individual subject may be UNDERSTOOD to be a
>>> complicated, changing, and somewhat problematic formation. It has
>>> different layers, which sometimes are INTERPRETED as different egos,
>>> engaged in communication WITH EACH OTHER and formed in different
> kinds of
>>> activity and n different relations with other people. Ego identity
> can be
>>> confused and fragmented. Thus, an individual subject can be
> UNDERSTOOD to
>>> be a collective subject. A specific feature of such a collective
>>> that it is embodied in a single physical body and has a unity of
>>> consciousness and a central ego, REGULATING activities of different
>>> subegos. In cases of multiple personalities a central ego is absent
>>> several egos coexist in the same body."
>>> I am not endorsing this particular perspective, but offer
>>> version of the "self" formed within activity theory as an example
>>> "self" "agency" "subjectivity" "individuality" "ego" "person"
>>> "agency" "free will" "self-determination" "self-regulation"
>>> "personhood" and the RELATION between these various terms are being
>>> fully explored and expressed within activity theory as ARISING
>>> I would like to propose that dialogical hermeneutical notions of
>>> agency" have a place/space within this constellation of terms.
>> *Andy Blunden*
>> Joint Editor MCA:
>> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
>> xmca mailing list
> xmca mailing list
> xmca mailing list
Joint Editor MCA: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hmca20/18/1
Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
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