Hi Michael, Sasha, and all,
In trying to understand all of the strands of these discussions (which are very inspiring), I am attempting to place so many thoughts on language within a context, which is personality formation/development at the moment; and subject/object/activity within a context, which is environment/ [motive-goal]/ development, at the moment. For me, it is very difficult to "frame" many ideas without some unified developmental process of genesis/motive and goal. In Vol. 43/4 of the Journal of Russian and East European Psychology (July/Aug. 2005), Elena Sokolova writes an introduction in Vol. II of three issues on the works of A. N. Leontiev. She speaks about the fact that we must never forget that the origins of activity theory in the 1930s related to a time of a totalitarian regime in Russia, and that people would disappear in meetings, etc. She comments on Leontiev's "Study of the Environment in the Pedgogical Works of L. S. Vygotsky" (which required criticism of Vygotsky, but almost !
into an apology). This quote expands the discussion of activity within subject/object:
"Criticizing the theories of psychological development that see development as determined either by the convergence or opposition of two factors--heredity and environment--A. N. Leontiev insists on the dialectical 'removal' of this dichtomy, an attempt that, in his opinion, was already represented in Vygotsky's conceptual framework. Leontiev emphasizes Vygotsky's assertation that 'psychological analysis must not destroy the unity of the subject and his environment, but must be directed at the very relationship that the personality enters into with the reality that surrounds it' (p. 22). However, Leontiev considers Vygotsky's proposed analysis of experience as forms of existence of this relationship insufficient for the definitive 'removal' of this dichotomy, inasmuch as experience is merely a 'trace' (result) of the subject's activity in the environment. 'How a given object appears in experience is determined by the activity of the subject in relation to the object' (p. 26).
Therefore, the introduction of the category 'activity' into psychology is sufficient to definitively remove this dichotomy."
(*A. A. Leontiev wanted his father's thoughts on thought and language to be available to the English-speaking world. Vol. 43/5 [Sept./Oct. 2005] will offer lectures by A. N. Leontiev, such as #13 on Language and Consciousness, #14 on Structure of Consciousness, #35 on Types of Thought, Thought and Sensory Cognition, #36 on Thought and Activity, etc.)
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