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[Xmca-l] Re: Vygotsky,Marx, & summer reading

I think it's more a case that the Kellogg Test#c fails the Activity Theory test, just as the Kellogg Test#a fails Marx's Capital.

The whole is greater than the part (if it is a genuine whole) not because there are some additional parts you forgot to add up but precisely because it is a whole despite being not made up of anything other than the parts.

I am reminded of A N Leontyev's "accusation" that taking /perezhivniya /a units of personality set up a logical circle: "... / perezhivanie/, as the specific form through which the whole personality manifests itself, now occupies the place that formerly belonged to the whole personality of the child,” that is, determining the child’s / perezhivanie/“... a logical vicious circle." Leontyev seems to think that teh only genuine form of science is reductionism.


Andy Blunden
On 22/08/2017 11:48 AM, David Kellogg wrote:
What other than commodities are the units of capital composed of? That's easy. Commodities are human relations in a congealed form. Ergo, units of capital are made of human relations in an uncongealed form. You are not a fetishist, are you?

My point about actions and activities was precisely that activities are NOT made up of anything more than actions; that's why activity fails the third test.

I think that Engestrom tries to show some of the abstract rules, the community relations and the division of labor that subtends all this activity, but the distinctions between (e.g.) rules and division of labor, or division of labor and community, are not too clear. As you say, blurring is a problem, if our goal is analysis, and an analysis that shows the heterogeneity (the distinctiveness) of parts.


David Kellogg
Macquarie University

Recent Article: Vygotsky, Halliday, and Hasan: Towards Conceptual Complementarity

Free E-print Downloadable at:


On Tue, Aug 22, 2017 at 9:37 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    Wow! That's a radical claim, David! What other things
    (or events) are activities composed of??

    And while you're at it, what other than commodities
    are units of capital composed of?


    Andy Blunden
    http://home.mira.net/~andy <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy>

    On 22/08/2017 6:21 AM, David Kellogg wrote:


        Yes, the idea that activity is made up of actions,
        and that if we take away
        actions from activity nothing remains (Leontiev).
        To me, this is an
        admission that the whole is merely a sum of parts.
        Compare Vygotsky's
        thought experiment of structuring a game in such a
        way that we take away
        all the roles and we see that abstract rules
        remain (Chapter Seven in* "Mind
        in Society")*.