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Re: [xmca] The Frail Chain
- To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: Re: [xmca] The Frail Chain
- From: mike cole <email@example.com>
- Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2012 18:30:08 -0700
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Well it turns out that my prior message is relevant to this one from David.
David - Kind of you to remind us that rust we must and thanks very much for
I really do not like the notion of Romantic Science as you characterize
it. Theme for a longer discussion.
And thanks for that too!!
On Tue, Aug 7, 2012 at 5:26 PM, kellogg <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> First of all, many congratulations to Mike on becoming a robust and
> even somewhat rusty link in the delicate chain of development. May there be
> many more.
> I think Virginia Woolf once said that the First World War was, on a
> microgenetic level, kept going by millions of minuscule failures of
> imagination, for otherwise it were impossible, knowing what another
> person's life must mean to him, to take it away. I have been thinking of
> this in the context of a wonderful essay by William Hazlitt which I have
> always loved (yes, that is the exactly the right word).
> Hazlitt wants to construct a theory of human action to disprove the
> Smith/Hume odel based on rational self-interest. He does this rather
> deftly, by demonstrating that neither the past nor the present can be the
> object of human will (since human will can alter neither) and therefore all
> volition can only be future directed.
> But the future of the "self", whatever that may turn out to be, is no more
> real to rational self-interest than the future of some other person, and in
> fact is considerably less so, because other persons are a very tangible
> presence in the present. All volition, whether directed to the self or to
> the fellow man, is based on imagination, and a strictly rational
> imagination is hardly anything more than perception, which he has already
> demonstrated can be no basis for human action (since the objects available
> to perception are in the present).
> I have always resisted identifying Vygotsky with "romantic science"
> (although I know that was Luria's phrase), and not just for the obvious
> reason that Vygotsky had a holy horror for the cult of the individual, and
> for sentimentality, and for the gothic, and in many ways was a true child
> of Spinoza and he enlightenment. It seems to me that an even more important
> reason to reject the epithet of romantic science is that it assumes a very
> ahistorical and non-dialectical opposition between romanticism and
> But if there is a frail, romantic link in our clanking chain, here it is.
> Andy points out that activity theory has suffered a lot from an objectivist
> (that is an instrumental, object oriented) bent, ever since the days when
> Leontiev declared that motivation is little more than backwash from an
> object. Here's the antidote!
> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> xmca mailing list
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