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[Xmca-l] Re: Leontyev's activities

Well Huw, I didn't mean to introduce a diversion by taking computers as an example. I could have taken a stone tool just as well. It seems, Huw, that in responding to my challenge you have made a start at developing a theory of human needs. Viz., that there are certain "vital" needs, and all other "needs" are merely means to meet these vital needs. I don't imagine that I am going to be able to refute the claims for a theory of human needs in a single message, it is after simply the claim for the existence of human nature - a concept with a very long history! (Aristotle built his theory of biology on the basis of a theory of needs.) But "vital" human needs are very elastic and other than in very general terms are quite indefinable. But as we change our world, what you need to live in that world are very real and very specific, and those needs arise directly out of participation in that life-world. Which of the thousand different ways that there are to meet the "vital" need of, say, nutrition, becomes a real need for a person, is determined by the cultural context of a person's life and their activity.

So I prefer Activity Theory, in which needs are the product of activity, while, as conceived in any given activity, they provide the motive for that activity.


Huw Lloyd wrote:
On 9 August 2013 14:57, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

I don't have any doubt that needs are produced. 25 years ago no-one needed
a computer. Now it seems that everyone needs them. I don't see you r
objection to this, Huw?

Well, if you consider needs as primal (vital) such things as computers and
the languages people speak are simply ways to meet such needs.

From a Marxian social perspective computing is interesting in this respect
in that the needs met by the first generation workers is qualitatively
different to the management saturated situation we have now.  i.e. on the
cusp of technological practice workers are more free from the tyranny of