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[Xmca-l] Re: how to broaden/enliven the xmca discussion

Dmitry Leontyev's main speech to ISCAR (at the pre-conference on Monday) was all about the dualism between sense and meaning, including the Russian terms (was it mysl and znachnie or something?) and the German Sinn and Bedeutung, and he preferred in ENglish to use "personal meaning" and "public meaning" to clarify the difference, because "sense" is so polysemic. A wonderful dualistic world, simply divided between internal, psychological sense and non-psychological, material/external meaning. The clearest explication of the fallacy of AN Leontyev's approach I have ever witnessed.

Anyway, as I understand it, "meaning" is objectively fixed in words by the objective relations between words and words, words and things, and between things. "Sense" is the internal psychological reflection of this external world. So in the "Evolution of the Psyche" I read:

   "Meaning is the reflection of reality irrespective of man’s
   individual, personal relation to it. Man finds an already prepared,
   historically formed system of meanings and assimilates it just as he
   masters a tool, the material prototype of meaning. The psychological
   fact proper, the fact of my life, is this, (a) that I do or do not
   assimilate a given meaning, do or do not master it, and (b) what it
   becomes for me and for my personality in so far as I assimilate it;
   and that depends on what subjective, personal sense it has for me."

So I guess "primitive consciousness" is sort of like these people who vote for George Bush because "he's my kind of guy," and don't reflect on it. :)


*Andy Blunden*

mike cole wrote:
I, to, have returned to Leontiev's develoment book following David's suggestion. Still reading,
but passages such as the following really dicombobulate me.

"The coincidences of sense and meanings is the main feature of primitive consciousness."


On Thu, Oct 9, 2014 at 4:21 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    This discussion has sent me back to looking at A N Leontyev's
    "Development of Mind." For all his faults, ANL expended a lot of
    energy in tracing the phylogenetic evolution of activity (which
    for ANL is a broad category, inclusive of unconscious activity).
    He traces the evolution of behaviour (as in animals without a
    central nervous system operating on a reflex basis) through
    conditioned reflexes and habits to operations (scripts which can
    be moved from one situation to another and adapted to conditions
    without conscious awareness) to actions (consciously determined by
    their immediate goal) to activities (where the goal is remote from
    the immediate actions, and a whole series of actions are required
    to meet the goal). Then he is able to trace the movement back and
    forth between behaviour, operational activity, actions and
    activities in both ontogenesis and microgenesis. I have always
    been a bit impatient with this kind of move (reifying a theory of
    human activity into Nature and then importing it back), but I have
    to say it was a useful exercise. And clarifying.
    Here is a link to an excerpt from part of this work:
    *Andy Blunden*

    David Kellogg wrote:

        All of which has to be sung with screams of pain (Strauss has, you
        see, stacked the deck in Rousseau's favor). But maybe both
        singing and
        speech are exaptations of something that is functionally
        neither and
        not specific to humans at all, which for want of a better name
        we can
        call activity WITHOUT thinking.

        David Kellogg
        Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science with an object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.