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Thanks for Igor for this followup commentary:
Mike, you are certainly right about "using the same words in
different ways." To illustrate what I meant about Leontiev, as well as the
quality of English translations - one quote from the English translation of
his ACP (Paragraph 3.4-3.5):
".Moving ahead somewhat, we must say at once that the mutual transitions
about which we are speaking form a most important movement of objective
human activity in its historical and ontogenetic development. These
transitions are possible because external and internal activity have a
similar [In the original: IDENTICAL ! - I.A.] general structure. The
disclosure of the common features of their structure [In the original:
GENERAL STRUCTURE] seems to me to be one
of the more [In the original: MOST] important discoveries of contemporary
psychological science.The community of the macrostructure of external
practical activity and internal activity theoretically allows [In the
original: INTERNAL, THEORETICAL ACTIVITY ALLOWS... - I.A.] analyzing it,
abstracting it initially from the form in which it occurs."
Comment: Igor: It seems to me that two completely different issues
are at stake in interpreting such passages, in addition to translation.
1. What is meant by "general structure" or external activity? This goes
back to how we can interpret Galperin on the internal following the
laws of the extrenal (or whatever the exact wording was, it is not
in front of me as I forward this). Steve's formulation appears to
stand as a point of agreement in this discourse community, but is
it contradicted by Leontiev? That was the sort of issue that made me
raise the question in the first place.
2. What is the political context. Here the entire Stalinist push,
which Leontiev was (in my opinion) seeking to survive/appropriate
was forcing a command and control vulgar marxism on the Soviet
people, intelligensia certainly included, with a painful death as
the reward for complexity.
Whichever and whatever, there is clear textual evidence for an
interpretation here of Leontiev using a copy theory. Was he doing
so in claiming that internalizatin formed the intra-psychological level?
If so, it makes a big difference. Think about it. If the cycles of
externalization-internalization (in the beginning was the deed,
right?) result only in an endless copying of the external, then the
only source of change can be incomplete replication of the internal
in the process of externalization. No spiral of development there,
just a vicious circle.