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[Xmca-l] Leontyev's activities
- To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: [Xmca-l] Leontyev's activities
- From: Andy Blunden <email@example.com>
- Date: Thu, 08 Aug 2013 07:14:52 +1000
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Leontyev says that an activity is defined by its motive.
See "The Development of Mind," Leontyev 2009, p. 28-29
But Leontyev, in my opinion, does not adequately distinguish between "an
activity" and "a type of activity," leading to confusion on this point.
Plus the fact that the object or motive is given externally to the
activity, underming his claim to have created an activity theory, rather
than a theory of human needs.
The specific processes that realise some vital, i.e. active, relation of
the subject to reality we shall term processes of /activity/, in
distinction to other processes.
We shall also, accordingly, limit the concept of object. It is normally
used in a dual sense: in the broadest one as a thing standing in some
kind of relation to other things, i.e. as ‘a thing having existence’;
and in a narrower sense – as something withstanding (German
/Gegenstand/), resistant (Latin /objectum/), that to which an act is
directed, i.e. as something to which precisely a living creature relates
itself as the /object of its activity/ – indifferently as outward or
inward activity (e. g. /object of nutrition/, /object of labour/,
/object of meditation/, etc.). >From now on we shall employ the term
/object/ precisely in this narrower, special sense.
Any activity of an organism is directed to some object or other;
activity without an object is impossible. Consideration of activity
therefore requires us to single out and distinguish that which is its
real object, i.e. the object of an active relation of the organism.
All lower filtrable organisms (certain larvae living in water, copepods,
all Tunicata, etc.), for example, are capable, as we know, of altering
their activity in connection with a change in the aqueous medium; in
that connection it can sometimes be said with confidence that the change
in the organism’s activity is specifically linked with a definite
activating property of the medium, for example with a greater or less
concentration of nutrients. Imagine, however, that we have artificially
altered the medium, for example, of a daphnia, by putting it into water
that lacks its nutrient, plankton but contains particles of some neutral
inorganic substance; the daphnia would react to this by a slackening of
the movements that create a flow of water to its ventral slit. Is the
observed slackening of the water flea’s filtering movements a response
to the absence of plankton in the water? Or is it, on the contrary, a
response to the presence in it of unassimilable particles? Or does it,
finally, depend on some other moments still, not considered by us? Only
by answering these questions can we decide precisely /what/ property of
the medium is the object of the daphnia’s activity, i.e. with what kind
of a relation we are dealing with here.
/Thus, the principal ‘unit’ of a vital process is an organism’s
activity; the different activities that realise its diverse vital
relations with the surrounding reality are essentially determined by
their object; we shall therefore differentiate between separate types of
activity according to the difference in their objects/.
Huw Lloyd wrote:
Well I am currently looking for specific text on how leont'ev operationally
defines a unit of analysis of activity, I'm sure I'll find details, but
some pointers may help me get there faster.
On 7 August 2013 18:57, mike cole <email@example.com> wrote:
Seems we are up and ready for chatting.
On Wed, Aug 7, 2013 at 10:34 AM, Huw Lloyd <firstname.lastname@example.org
Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/