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[Xmca-l] Re: Intrinsic motivation?
- To: Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Intrinsic motivation?
- From: Greg Thompson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2014 22:54:03 -0600
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So Andy, I take it that you approve of Cristina's opposition of dualism.
And as to the need to not rely on our natural language, I wonder if
Vygtosky is with Cristina (and me) on that one. In the Two Psychologies
essay that you shared (
"Høffding compares it with the same content expressed in two languages
which we do not manage to reduce to a common protolanguage. But we want to
know the content and not the *language* in which it is expressed. In
physics we have freed ourselves from language in order to study the
content. We must do the same in psychology."
I'll confess to occasionally reading Vygotsky upside down (he often
introduces opposing positions without any indication that they are opposed
to his own), so maybe I've got it backwards. I certainly had some
difficulty discerning the proper context for this paragraph, but it seems
like it is straight through. Please correct me if I'm wrong here.
On Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 12:00 PM, Greg Thompson <email@example.com>
> 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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 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 Blunden*
>> Maria Cristina Migliore wrote:
>>> Greg and Andy,
>>> Thank you for your comments.
>>> Greg, I absolutely agree with you about the difficulties of overcoming
>>> 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
>>> 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
>>> individual and activity (or context or project) development; b)
>>> 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
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology
882 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602