Re: [xmca] my new questions

From: David Kellogg <vaughndogblack who-is-at>
Date: Sat Feb 09 2008 - 11:45:50 PST

Dear Elinami,
  I'm really VERY grateful for this question, but unfortunately it's not because I have anything remotely resembling an answer. I It's just because it allows me to post something that has always puzzled me and ask other people (YOU, for instance!) to comment.
  The source of my bepuzzlement is on pp. 103-104 of Leontiev's book, "Activity, Personality and Consciousness". It goes like this:
  "Each of us, it is understood, assumes one set or another of social (for example, professional) functions and, in this sense, roles. The idea, however, of a direct reduction of personality to a collection of roles that a person fills is, notwithstanding every possible reservation of the followers of this idea, one of the most monstrous."
  Yes, I suppose it is. But then the idea of a personality is pretty monstrous too. Why should something as complex as David Kellogg be reducible to one of the two shortest words in the English language? And why should it be 'I' and not 'a'? Leontiev continues:
"Of course, a child learns, let us say, how he is supposed to behave with his mother, that it is necessary to listen to her, and he listens, but can it be said that in this way the child plays the role of a son or a daughter? It is just as absurd to speak, for example, about the ¡°role¡± of the polar explorer ¡°accepted¡± by Nansen: For him it was not a role, but a mission."
  I must be missing something. This doesn't seem absurd to me at all, particularly not the bit about the role of son or daughter. What the devil is he getting at?
  "Sometimes a man actually plays one role or another, but nevertheless it remains for him
only a role regardless of the extent to which it is internalized. A role is not a personality but rather a representation behind which it hides. If we are to use the terminology of P. Janet, the concept of a role corresponds not to the concept of personality (personnalite)
but to the concept of personage (personnage)."
  I get it! The analogy is something like "glove-hand", "mask-face", "personnage-personality". But doesn't this kind of analogy assume a "personnage" which is merely a social tool (a glove or a mask) and a "personality" (a hand or a face) which is in some sense not?
  David Kellogg
  Seoul National University of Education

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Received on Sat Feb 9 11:49 PST 2008

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