RE: FW: [xmca] Wells article

From: Alexander Surmava <monada who-is-at>
Date: Wed Oct 10 2007 - 16:08:32 PDT



Thank you for help with Webster. The date 1913 is characteristic. It means
that predominant in modern culture positivism is successfully realizing its
black deed emasculating even our language. The word which evidently had a
sense for those who lived in the beginning of the previous century needs to
prove his right to existence today.




-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Anton Yasnitsky
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 2:41 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: FW: [xmca] Wells article


Dear Paul,


sorry to say, but "subjectness", according to Webster 1913, in fact IS the

word in the English language:







Dear Sasha,


many thanks for your concise yet remarkably thorough and clear comment on

such sophisticated issues!




--- Paul Dillon <> wrote:


> Sasha,


> I'm confused. I don't know what you mean by "subjectness" since this

> isn't a word in the English language. As such, the three dimensions of

> it remain beyond my ken.


> Paul


> Alexander Surmava <> wrote:



> Paul,




> I'm afraid that in understanding of nature of subjectness we are taking

> the

> problem from radically different perspectives. I distinguish between

> three

> categories: subjectness, subjectivness, and personality(ness).

> Subjectness

> occur in specific, organic or alive form of interaction, it is (along

> with

> the object positioned by him) an attribute of object-oriented activity.

> It

> doesn't coincide with subjectivness and even less with consciousness or

> personality. Abstract subjectness is a characteristic of activity of

> unicellular organisms or plants. Subjectivness is an attribute of

> multicellular organic activity, selfsensation or abstract zoopsyche. On

> this

> level we have a special type of object-oriented activity, which is

> necessarily mediated by selfdirected, or reflexive activity. It means

> that a

> multicellular animal can act according the objective shape of its

> object, or

> more exactly according to the shape of objective field, only in case if

> subactive organs of this animal are acting against each other. Taking an

> apple from the tree I can't act as a solid, indivisible, unilaterally

> directed "activity", but as an alive activity, as an activity which can

> touch the apple and can withdraw my hand from it. Such type of activity

> is

> something substantially contrary to mechanic movement and can be

> realized by

> complicated system of subactive muscles acting one against another.


> Finally the consciousness occur only in human object oriented activity

> mediated by another person. Human personality appears only in case when

> (minimum) two human beings are solving a common objective task in other

> words they conjointly act against their common object and realize it in

> active hand in hand and in the same time contradictory interaction. Here

> we

> have a new, higher level of reflexivity and selfconsciousness as it is.

> All

> this was formulated in Dialectical psychology as an attempt to overcome

> a

> great number of Cartesian contradictions in classical CHAT - in LSV and

> ANL.

> Thus Leont'ev insists that he formulates materialistic Theory of

> activity,

> and in the same time interprets activity as some magic process which is

> wedging between mechanical stimulus and mechanical reaction. Vygotsky

> from

> his side tries to liberate a human being from mechanical

> Stimulus-Reactive

> determinism applying to so called cultural sign. In the same time he

> fails

> to explain how totally mechanical marionette can invent this sign and

> how

> the meaning of this sign can interact with wooden marionette.




> As for the real way to muster concept (Begriff) I think that much more

> productive than Hegel's speculative formalisms, will be an attempt to

> elaborate a new form of old Marxist idea of integration of learning and

> productive labour.


> When Luria asked illiterated Uzbek peasants to exclude something

> unnecessary

> from a group including irrigation ditch or "aryk", soil, spade and

> melon,

> they vigorously refuse to do such a stupid choice because everything in

> the

> list is necessary to grow melon. Vygotsky commented the situation so

> that

> those peasants has not scientific concept but still type of "complex"

> thinking while literate children, having school experience and solved

> this

> task easily are closer to scientific type of thinking.


> Let's wonder: who - the experienced (but alas illiterate) Uzbek peasant

> or

> verbal schoolchild is closer to real comprehension of melon cultivation,

> is

> closer to real concept (Begriff)? The question I think is quite

> rhetoric.


> Evidently, a modern student can hardly acquire say differential

> calculus, or

> theoretic psychology in abstract praxis. But as evident is that the

> first

> step to real Begriff is the spontaneous active movement meeting an

> opposition of a real object.




> Cheers,


> Sasha










> -----Original Message-----

> From: []

> On

> Behalf Of Paul Dillon

> Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2007 5:09 AM

> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity

> Subject: RE: [xmca] Wells article




> Sasha,




> Thanks for the detailed reply to my queries.




> I totally agree that the subject-object distinction cannot be reduced to

> the active/passive (yin/yang) distinction. But I can also state from

> experiences with a certain type of Mexican sage (salvia divinorum) that

> body

> consciousness can disolve completely (inability to locate or more legs,

> arms, or any other part of the body) while "experience" continues, but

> withou any possibility of sustaining or identifying the locus (even

> imaginary) of a sense of personal "ownership of or identification with

> the

> experience itself-the possibility of even talking about it being

> something

> like the concept of Vorstellung you describe in your response, and

> neither

> can the thoughts accompanying the experience be separated from the

> experience itself (no, noema-noeisis distinction to use Husserl's

> terminology) since the boundaries of subject/object constantly change

> into

> each other, much like the description of Being and Nothing in the first

> part

> of Hegel's Logic. The anthropologist Michael Taussig has described this

> state both in relationship to the experience of being torture (resulting

> in

> the Stockholm syndrome) and to the ayahuasca (banesteriopsis caapi)

> experience which is central to Amazonian shamanism. Very similar at the

> experiential level to Hegel's descriptionn of "fear of death" in the

> section on the Master-Slave dialectic in the Phenomenology of Mind.




> But that brings up the adequacy of your identification of receiving the

> bridge's blow as evidence of some subjectivity. I think it comes down to

> the forms in which consciousness becomes domesticated into some form of

> regularity/normalcy which is of course necessary for biological survival

> but might have nothing at all to do with the real structure of the

> conscious

> experience out of which our normalized experience of "reality" -- the

> experience of the bridge's blow or a tooth ache as happening to "me" --

> has

> been cultivated through the process of our socialization.




> Your explanation of the Vorstellung-Begriff relationship is more or less

> how I understood it. Your use of the teaching example especially

> approrpite

> since every honest teacher knows that it's one thing to have learned

> something as a student and another thing to have to teach it. Multiple

> choice tests probe that parrot like ability to repeat information

> (Vorstellung) and there are lots of A students who can't demonstrate

> much

> understanding about the material upon probing - but to be able to teach

> about some object/field, not just stand in front of a class likewise

> parroting, something student's can pick up on quickly, but to be able to

> answer totally unexpected questions to the student's satisfaction,

> requires

> the ability to get into the "Begriff", right??, and thereby be able to

> adapt the presentation of the "object" to different contexts and

> cricumstances raised in the question or illustrate that the question

> doesn't

> really fit the object. In this vein, doesn't


> hegel arrive to the concept(Begriff) after discussing the sublation of

> the

> ground (Grund) in which it appears?



=== message truncated ===




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