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[Xmca-l] Re: Intrinsic motivation?

Descartes, along with his fellow dualists Galileo and Copernicus, did have some problems, which took about 200 years to sort out. (I don't count Spinoza as having resolved them). The main difficulty was that he (the others didn't get this far) tried to resolve the mind/matter problem *natural-scientifically* (which is what many of his professional critics do, despite the benefit of 380 years experience), rather than distinguishing between the ontological and epistemological problems, which is what Vygotsky advises. But what is quite unhelpful, in my view, is resolving the problem of dualism by declaring it bad and simply denying it. And as you say, "we Westerners" are far from alone, in believing that there is a categorical difference between my thought of the world and the world itself. Thank Christ for that! Do deny this simple observation is the definition of insanity. Most people simply don't understand the question which Descartes was trying to answer.

*Andy Blunden*

Greg Thompson wrote:
I'm a bit baffled by your response to Cristina. It seems fair enough to try to recover Descartes as not necessarily a bad guy. But I didn't take that to be Cristina's point. It seems to me that she was arguing against Cartesian dualism - a particular way in which we Westerners (and we aren't the only ones who do this) divide up the world into various kinds binaries - subject/object, mind/body, nature/culture, emotion/reason, and so on. Are you advocating that these should be the governing categories of the human sciences?
If so, then "real human language" will work just fine.
If not, then the "real human language" called English will pose some significant problems for imagining things other than they are.

On Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 9:07 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    There is far too much in your message to deal with on an email
    list. What I usually do in such cases is simply pick a bit I think
    I can respond to and ignore the rest. OK?

    I think *real human languages* - as opposed to made up languages
    like Esperanto or the kind of mixture of neologs, hyphenated words
    and other gobbydegook fashionable in some academic circles - can
    be underestimated. Sure, one must use specialised jargon
    sometimes, to communicate to a specialised collaborator in a
    shared discipline, but generally that is because the jargon has
    itself a long track record. Don't try and make up words and
    concepts, at least, take a year or two about it if you have to.

    Secondly, Descartes was no fool. He was the person that first
    treated consciousness as an object of science, and the many of
    those belonging to the dualist tradition he was part of wound up
    being burnt at the stake for suggesting that the world was not
    necessarily identical to how it seemed. So I'd say, better to
    suffer association with Descartes than make up words and
    expressions. The Fascist campaign launched against him in the
    1930s was not meant to help us. He deserves respect.

    For example, my development is not the same the development some
    project makes. And no amount of playing with words can eliminate
    that without degenerating into nonsense. I must correct something
    I said which was wrong in my earlier post though. I said that the
    relation between projects was the crucial thing in personality
    development. Not completely true. As Jean Lave has shown so well,
    the relation between a person and a project they are committed to
    is equally important, their role, so to speak. Take these two

    Motives instead of motivation is good. More definite. But I don't
    agree at all that Leontyev resolves this problem. For a start his
    dichotomy between 'objective' motives, i.e., those endorsed by the
    hegemonic power in the given social formation, and 'subjective',
    usually unacknowledged, motives, is in my view a product of the
    times he lived in, and not useful for us. The question is: how
    does the person form a *concept* of the object? It is the
    object-concept which is the crucial thing in talking abut motives.
    Over and above the relation between the worker's project of
    providing for his family (or whatever) and the employer's project
    of expanding the proportion of the social labour subsumed under
    his/her capital. The relation between these two projects doubtless
    seems to the boss to be the difference between the worker's
    subjective, secret, self-interest, and his own "objective" motive.
    But his point of view is not necessarily ours.

    Have a read of Alasdair MacIntyre on extrinsic and intrinsic
    motives, too.

    That's more than enough.

    *Andy Blunden*

    Maria Cristina Migliore wrote:

        Greg and Andy,

        Thank you for your comments.

        Greg, I absolutely agree with you about the difficulties of
        overcoming our
        western language and thoughts, so influenced by the Cartesian
        Andy, I hope to be able to show a bit how I connect activities
        in what

        About my attempts to overcome a dualistic language: I tend to
        prefer to
        talk about a) single development (as suggest by Cole and
        Wertsh) instead of
        individual and activity (or context or project) development;
        b) dimensions
        of a phenomenon instead of levels of a phenomenon
        (micro-meso-macro); c)
        motives instead of motivation.

        However it happens that I need to swing between ‘my’ new
        language and the
        ‘standard’ one, because I am living in a still Cartesian world
        and I need
        to be understood by people (and even myself!) who are (am)
        made of this
        Cartesian world.

Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
882 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602