Re: [xmca] Actants, Greimas, Levi-Strauss

From: Paul Dillon <phd_unsch who-is-at>
Date: Wed Jul 11 2007 - 13:22:41 PDT

  I'm curious about the notion of "spontaneous agency" and "spontaneous action" . I imagine these are to be distinguished from "planned" or "premeditated" actions". Also spontaneity is associated with free action too.
  But doesn't "agency" always imply some subject who is the agent? Can their be an unconscious agent? I think this has something to do with the different stages of learning where each successive level, once learned, no longer needs directed attention. But sometimes there isn't any real realtionship between what one has learned and the kind and the kinds of 'spontaneous responses" that seem to be developed. For example, about six months after I had begun practicing tai chi under the guidance of a very good sifu, my reactions to falling objects became almost instantaneous, without any conscious intervention. My hand would just move and catch things that had been knocked over. In the tai chi workouts we never practiced catching falling objects or even worked on any kind of quick movements such as those I began to experience. Who exactly was the agent of these actions? Maybe this ties into your point that there is much more to the body than the brain, the hand, and
 upright posture.

Martin Packer <> escribió:
  Certainly there are many social practices that discipline the body and that
punish by limiting both impulsive action and spontaneous agency. Norbert
Elias apparently (in The Civilizing Process, 1978) suggested that the
distinction between self and reality is the experienced muscular tension
induced by the various social constraints over spontaneous action. It might
be argued, I think, that the interest that cultural psychology has shown in
the biological evolution of the human species has been focused on just a few
relevant aspects: on the brain, primarily, and then the hand and upright
posture. These is much more to the body that these.


On 7/10/07 6:37 PM, "Paul Dillon"

> And even the individual dying of terminal diseases in great pain is denied the
> right to do away with the body. But ownership implies among other things that
> one has the right to dispose with it as one pleases.

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Received on Wed Jul 11 13:24 PDT 2007

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