Re: Leont'ev-Vygotsky controversy

From: Ricardo Japiassu (
Date: Wed Feb 18 2004 - 07:23:52 PST

"Hegel and Marx have in mind culture, individual and activity as a necessary triangle in which activity is mediating between culture and the individual." ABluden

Hi all,

I have been trying to follow up the thinking of you all engaged in the current xmca discussion while stuggling with my own thinking (co)construction process on the issue with the help of posts.

Currently I prefere the CIRCLE methaphor to understand ACTIVITY (circles inside circles inside circles etc). But, please, I have nothing aginst triangles - well, one can trace many triangles in/outside circles.

Thus, I do not see mediated activity as something "between culture and the individual", rather, I understand it as something that in fact creates Culture and the Subject - like a broader circle that contains more restricted ones related to different cultures and persons.

The kind of psychical activity of a human being - as to say, a subject - is something qualitatevely different from individuals of other animal species because that "new" qualitatively "high" psychic functioning was historicaly shaped in the process of coletive labour by tool (co)construction and its social use on transformation of natural world (natura naturanda) into a cultural enviroment (natura naturata) - we could say, in the criation of Mind.

When LSV took word meaning (in the expanded sense pointed by Eugene) to investigate evolution of verbal thinking from rough imitation of words sounds to thinking with words by complexes and, finally, by social or scientific concepts he did not loose of sight that "new" kind of psychic activity of a human being - And I think this is the main thesis of Davidov as he advocates and puts Leont'ev and LSV into the same "backpack" of CHAT. I agree with him - and with Mike - in this sense.

On the LSV appropriation of the bible's parody that of "In the beggining was the ACTION" [Goethe's play of Faustus] It is usefull to point here what he says:

"we can acept this version if we enphasize it in another way: In the BEGGINING was the action. The word was not the beggining - the action was there before it; the word is the end of development, the corolary of action"
(Thinking and Speach, p. 131, item V, chapter 7)

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