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[Xmca-l] Re: Intrinsic motivation?



Greg
thank you for posting this section of Andy's book.
Andy
I appreciated your highlighting the ethical concerns and linking projects
to MacIntyre's exploration of *virtue* and *ethics*.

I would like to here more about Heller refuting MacIntyre's understanding
of the loss of virtue through the loss of a dense ethos of  institutional
relations in the tendency or movement towards  the looser ethos of
modernity.

Is Heller questioning the communitarian orientation of MacIntyre's ethics??

This *introduction* certainly opens a field for further play
Larry


On Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 6:21 PM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
wrote:

> A lovely book indeed!
>
> For those playing along at home (and without access to the book), I have
> pasted the relevant section from Andy's chapter below. Please note that
> this is from Andy's introductory chapter in the book Collaborative
> Projects: An Interdisciplinary Study. The book can be found here:
>
> http://books.google.com/books?id=Ukv3AwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
>
> Cheers,
> greg
>
> "
>
> One of the great strengths of Activity Theory with ‘collaborative project’
> as the unit of analysis is that collaboration is not only an observable
> phenomenon which can be a means of scientific description and explanation,
> but it is also an *ethic*, and one with powerful normative force in
> contemporary, secular society. Having a concept which is both a unit of
> analysis for science and a secular ethical norm gives it a special place in
> social science and its practical application, particularly in sciences such
> as economics, jurisprudence and sociology whose subject matter is ethical
> life.
>
> For example, economic science assumes that economic agents will act
> ‘rationally’ within the bounds of the information available to them at the
> time. But the definition of ‘rational’ assumed by economic science is
> contrary to the ethics of large sections of social life. When governments
> make policies and laws based on a conception of what is ethical, then such
> laws function so as to *propagate *the ethic which is built into the
> science. This process, which has gone on since governments began to take
> policy advice from economists in the 18th century, has had deleterious
> effects on human welfare.
>
> In 1981, Alasdair MacIntyre published *After Virtue*, which, despite the
> fact that MacIntyre had converted to Catholicism in 1980, became a
> reference point for secular ethics. MacIntyre situates ethical norms in
> ‘practices’ which he understands much as I understand ‘projects’: “Every
> activity, every enquiry, every practice aims at some good” (1981, p. 139).
> MacIntyre distinguished between ‘internal goods’ “realized in the course of
> trying to achieve those standards of excellence which are appropriate to,
> and partially definitive of, that form of activity” (1981, p. 175) and
> ‘external goods’ such as prizes, monetary rewards and wages which are used
> to sustain the practice, and are associated with the transformation of the
> form of practice into an institution. In this connection, MacIntyre refers
> to the “corrupting power of institutions” (1981, p. 181). For MacIntyre
> also, the concept of ‘project’ extends from the organizations such as a
> school or hospital to entire political communities, “concerned with the
> whole of life, not with this or that good, but with man’s good as such”
> (1981, p. 146). The virtue ethics which MacIntyre builds on this conception
> of social life is precisely consistent with the ‘project’ approach to
> Activity Theory.
>
> One qualification to MacIntyre’s ethical project which is important to the
> task at hand is Agnes Heller’s (1987) contrast between the sense of
> equality which prevails within the ‘dense ethos’ uniting participants in a
> project, and the ‘loose ethos’ which characterizes the marketplace of
> public intercourse. Heller observes that the obligation to treat others as
> equals is not universal. While we are obliged to treat equals equally,
> within the practices of an institution ‘equals should be treated equally
> and unequals unequally’ – the boss gets paid more, managers give orders to
> subordinates, parents bear the burdens of care for their children, etc.
> Utopian dreams notwithstanding, there is no real project within which
> equality is truly the norm. Consequently, Heller points out that the
> ongoing displacement of the formerly dense ethos of institutional life by
> the loose ethos of modernity which underlies MacIntyre’s concerns is *not
> *a
> regressive development. However, the critical problem of developing a
> universal ethos which can sustain a genuinely human life still lies before
> us. Since human freedom can only be attained through mediated
> self-determination, *i.e.*, participation in projects, the ethics of
> *relations
> between projects *must be central to our concerns.
>
> Finally, I will briefly touch on discourse ethics (Habermas, 2001) which
> requires that “all those affected” be counted as participants in a
> discourse. This requirement is not only vague and abstract, but untenable.
> Who decides who is affected, and how exactly does an individual remote from
> the discourse participate? But more significantly, what are the
> discussants *doing
> together *which gives a purpose to the discourse? Seyla Benhabib (1992)
> reminds us that “discourse ethics ... is not to be construed primarily
> as a *hypothetical
> *thought process, carried out singly by the moral agent ... but rather as
> an *actual *dialogue situation.” Moral maxims based on the hypothetical
> interests of a generalized other are meaningless. To be meaningful at all
> such an ethics presupposes state or supra-state institutions, as
> representatives of the generalized other, to mediate social action, which
> is an unwarranted restriction on the moral standpoint. Rather, the real
> relations between any two individuals is given by the projects in which
> they collaborate, whether that ‘collaboration’ entails cooperation or
> conflict over the object. Collaboration is a strong ethical norm, but
> encompasses a complex variety of nuances according to the mode of
> collaboration. The complex ethics entailed in consultation, attribution,
> privacy, sharing, ownership, division of labor, negotiation of norms,
> consistency, and so on, provide a real basis for the construction of an
> ethics for the modern, secular world.
>
> One of the corollaries of Benhabib’s (2002) approach is that the concept of
> nation-state has to be disentangled into the several distinct projects
> which are conflated in the notion which has pertained since the Treaty of
> Westphalia. This is a task which can only be resolved by a social theory
> which takes projects and not abstract general categories as its basic
> units.
>
>
> On Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 6:54 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>
> > Relevant references to MacIntyre's "After Virtue" are on pp. 7-8 of
> > "Collaborative Projects. An Interdisciplinary Study," which I know you
> have
> > a copy of, Greg. He uses the expressions "internal reward" and "external
> > reward."
> >
> > Andy
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > *Andy Blunden*
> > http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> >
> >
> > Greg Thompson wrote:
> >
> >> And one more thing Andy (I realize given the hour down-under, you are
> >> probably slumbering - hopefully not dogmatically...), could you sell us
> on
> >> why we should look at MacIntyre on extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.
> >> Your suggestion that Cristina read MacIntyre on extrinsic and intrinsic
> >> motivation was less than convincing to me if only b.c. I know nothing
> about
> >> it! -greg
> >>
> >>
> >> On Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 12:00 PM, Greg Thompson <
> greg.a.thompson@gmail.com
> >> <mailto:greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>> wrote:
> >>
> >>     Andy,
> >>     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.
> >>     Confused.
> >>     -greg
> >>
> >>
> >>     On Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 9:07 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
> >>     <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
> >>
> >>         Cristina,
> >>         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 together.
> >>
> >>         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
> >>
> >>         ------------------------------------------------------------
> >> ------------
> >>         *Andy Blunden*
> >>         http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> >>         <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>         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 dualism.
> >>             Andy, I hope to be able to show a bit how I connect
> >>             activities in what
> >>             follow.
> >>
> >>
> >>             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
> >>     http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> --
> >> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> >> Assistant Professor
> >> Department of Anthropology
> >> 882 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> >> Brigham Young University
> >> Provo, UT 84602
> >> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
> >>
> >
> >
>
>
> --
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Anthropology
> 882 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> Brigham Young University
> Provo, UT 84602
> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
>