I though you wanted to *avoid* metaphysics, Andy!
On Mar 22, 2013, at 8:17 PM, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Thank you Manfred for that clear explanation, and for correcting my
typing mistake! :(
This might be an occasion to mention how my own development of Activity
Theory differs from yours and that of ANL.
I do not work with duality of "the publically assigned meaning and the
personally felt sense". Rather I use Hegel's approach in which the
Individual and Universal are mediated by the Particular. This is a relation
which is applicable not just to motives, but any concept. It allows the
meaning of the situation to be something which is *realised*. This word
"realised" is what Wiulliam James would have described as a
"double-barrelled word" (following Charles Dickens' "double barrelled
compliment), in that it means both "realised" in the objective sense of
"made real", as in "The plan was at last realised when the judge delivered
his verdict," and subjective in the sense of "woke up to", as in "I
realised that my efforts to reconcile with my wife were doomed to failure."
I believe that this resolves certain problems which arise in Actvity
Theory, but remaining within the Activity approach as outlined in your
Holodynski, Manfred wrote:
thank you very much for all your valued comments on my article. There
are a lot of aspects already discussed and I have some difficulties to
follow all lines of argumentation. Therefore, I would like to answer to the
1. Emotions as psychological function within the macrostructure of
As Andy claims it I get my Activity Theory from AN Leont'ev and I
focused especially on his concept of macrostructure of activity and its
levels of activity that is related to motives, actions that are related to
goals and operations that are related to the conditions under which an
action is given. And Andy gets precisely to the heart of it when he stated
that my article needs to be read with attention to motivation and how the
macrostructure of an activity is related to the motives and goals of an
individual. One activity can be realized by different actions, and one
action can realize different activities.
May I quote Andy's words:
" Because motives are not given to immediate perception; they have to
be inferred/learnt. Emotional expression and experience signal the success,
failure, frustration, expectation, etc. of goals and motives for both
participant/observers and the individual subject themself, emotion is tied
up with motives and goals and therefore with the structure of an activity.
One and the same action could be part of different “”actions activities (!)
(MH)””. It is the emotions which signal (internally and externally) the
success, etc., etc., that is, in an action's furthering an activity, and it
is this which makes manifest and actual that connection between action and
activity, for both the observer/participant and the individual subject.
So there is no metaphysics here. No hypothetical "states of mind", or
intelligent infants, etc."
a) Take the example of the opening of the window. That's the behavior.
What's the goal?
b) Imagine the person is a leader and opens the window in order to
greet his followers and to hold a speech. That's the goal. What is the
c) If one look at the circumstances one can derive that the speech is a
part of a political activity in order to celebrate the election victory.
So, if the leader also feels pride and enthusiasm about the victory there
is coincidence between the publically assigned meaning and the personally
felt sense of the situation. However, it may also be possible that he
doesn't feel pride but a great burden and he personally feels to be
overloaded with the duties and future expectations. Then the societal
meaning assigned by the followers to this situation and the personal sense
assigned by the leader himself are not congruent. The leader framed this
situation under an achievement perspective whether he is able to fulfill
But, note when we talk about actions and activity, then we speak about
an advanced level of activity e.g. in children or adults, but not in
infants who start to have intentions but still not a mental image of a
future state of affairs.
2. Differentiation between the basic level in infants and advanced
level in older children:
- A young infant has not already established a goal-driven level of
actions. In the first weeks one can observe