Re: Arievitch discussion

From: Phil Chappell (
Date: Tue Jun 29 2004 - 04:26:34 PDT

To catch up on this discussion, I went back to a criticism of Galperin
and Davydov by A.V. Brushlinsky. Brushlinsky first posits that the most
fundamental unit of analysis is not activity, but "man in his
inseparable relation with the surrounding reality which he
contemplates, understands, transforms, etc.". Brushlinsky claims that
this level of analysis prevents the agent (subject) from being obscured
- "forced into the background". In the interests of time (mine!) I'll
quote a larger section that has relevance to the Galperin discussion:

"In the course of his activity, man creates and discovers new and
highly significant factors for the continuation and development of
life, yet this does not signify that life unfolds as a self-determining
process. Many other highly significant external and internal
preconditions and determinants go far beyond the scope of activity,
exist prior to and are dependent upon it...Man's interaction with the
world is never reducible to activity; moreover this interaction begins
even before any specific individual engages in activity."

Brushlinsky then goes on to discuss pre-natal emergence of the human
mind, mentioning that at the end of the pre-natal period, but before
the unborn child begins to interact with the the outside world,
"elementary mental phenomena may already appear even though the baby
has not yet engaged in any activity or performed even the most simple

This counter argument to the theory of internalisation/interiorisation
points to an interesting dilemma for the internalisation debate - in
the beginning there are not even elementary mental components -
activity eventually generates them. However, any human activity
essentially requires at least simple mental phenomena to regulate

I'm not sure if this helps, but I, like a couple of others, am not
clear on how Galperin's work clears up the dualism that Arievitch
claims it does. I'm not really sure that Brushlinsky's ideas do,


Reference to Brushlinsky: Brushlinsky, A.V. (1990) The Importance of
Man's Interaction with the World in Lektorsky, V.P. (ed) Activity: The
Theory, Methodology and Problems Paul M. Deutsch Press: Orlando,

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