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[Xmca-l] Re: Leontyev's activities

It might be interesting to remember that in his Problems book, Leontiev has two systems, really.  One is a truncated system (activity and operations but no action level) and a full blown system (in which actions and goals emerge -- and mind!).  Maybe the truncated system motives are substantially centrally different types?  Not so specifically human/societal/cultural, etc...?

 From: Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com>
To: ablunden@mira.net; "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> 
Sent: Saturday, August 10, 2013 10:24 AM
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Leontyev's activities

On 10 August 2013 15:12, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> 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.

'fraid not.  Simply asking the question.

> 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.
But these "real needs" are known needs.  Which Leontyev calls motives, does
he not?

> 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.

So it seems that we do not know whether needs are produced, or whether they
are exposed.   Did Leontyev make such a distinction?


> Andy
> 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
>> alienation.