Re: Leont'ev-Vygotsky controversy

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Tue Feb 17 2004 - 20:45:57 PST

Ana-- I appreciate the spirit of what you are saying, but consider the
implications of the slight shifts in terminology:

I also think that, at some level, word meaning, or meaning in general,
can also be analyzed as an activity.  In a way,  making meaning is in
itself an act of creating particular relationships between the
participants (in a group, a culture, an event, a situation) and a
particular content (a topic, or an object).

1. word meaning is an activity
2. making meaning is an act
3. particular content is a topic=object

What perplexes me constantly in thinking about these matters is the
shifting uses of terms like activity, act, and object (in this case, other
terms in others). So I end up with questions.

1. isn't word meaning the product of a process of transformation between
individual sense and publically conventional, stabilized, residues that
serve as the medium for further sense making?

2. might not making meaning be considered an action, where meaning making
(refering to the action theory article i mentioned before) be an act that
is part of an activity?

3. Is a topic an object, or is an object associated with the motive of activity?

And more. I am sure you can see the source of my unease. I am not claiming
I know how to solve the problem. I am constantly seeing Engestrom's activity
triangle being refered to, and used, as a description of action without any
apparent recognition that treating it in this way has consequences.


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