Re: [xmca] Why don't we determine the boundaries of Freedom and Necessity?

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at>
Date: Wed Feb 13 2008 - 14:39:39 PST

At 01:30 PM 13/02/2008 -0800, you wrote:
>First , let's take the following quote :
> "The identity of the individual with vast and powerful social movements
> can no longer be taken for granted. In fact, it no longer exists. And
> this is the problem."
> You're talking about the Postmodernists' standpoints , their either
> pathological narcissism or their feeling themselves alien , alone , face
> to face with societal or collectivistic gatherings , etc. ...
> I so understand that you , all along with the Postmodernists , accept
> the content of the above quote . There's no indication that you take it
> sarcastically on your part . You , in fact , give them the right to think
> this way .

Yes, I am saying that a social change has taken place (at least in the rich
countries) and where once people identified with great social movements or
their traditional opposing institutions, now the idea developed by a social
movement is just one of many, contingent categories making up an
individual's identity. See "From Secret Society to
Identity Politics." Postmodern philosophers are expressions of the
resulting pathology as well as taking it as an object of their writing.


> Then , if you confirm their problem is extant and the IDENTITY of the
> individual with vast ... ... no longer exists , what will be the
> resolution of our feeling conflict with the content of the following :
> "The observation that CHAT still lives within the ethos of progressive
> communitarianism neither casts doubt over the validity of its theory nor
> suggests that its ethos is outmoded."
> I do not understand if you mean "the identity of the individual with
> vast ... ... " is included within the progressive communitarianism which
> is being observed or not and if it is , is THAT the very defect you want
> to convey ? That is , if we are able to extract that "identity" from the
> Prog. Comm. , leaving the "individual" to himself , detaching him from
> the collectives , letting him mirror himself within his own
> "consciousness" , then satisfaction will be obtained ?

Because the earlier statement about the change in the Zeitgeist is not
absolute. CHAT is still to some extent located in its origins, that is to
say great progressive social movements of earlier times. I am saying that
this does not mean that it is not valid, because, in itself, the atrophy of
these great social movements was a loss not a gain, even though it opened
the way to a more articulated and complex style of identity.


> How can we move towards the definition of the "individual" as "the
> ensemble of social relations" and simultaneously blessing him with the
> "agency" of "independent action" ?

Well asked. An individual only has agency to the extent that she is part of
or may create some kind of social movement.


> "But it does suggest a reason why CHAT is challenged by the way
> postmodern capitalism is unfolding. The fault is not however so much with
> how psychology conceives of the individual as how the social sciences
> conceive of culture and society and whether psychology appropriates
> concepts of these sciences uncritically."
> This latter I don't want to interpret now .
> Thinking about this problem I came across Dot Robbins in her new
> message and her timely quote from Davydov , Worthwhile repeating :
>"zone of fusion"! So, feel free to hit the delete bottom here, as I do
> want to offer a longer theoretical quote. Peter Moxhay is a voice I
> respect very much. He has translated a book from V. V. Davydov (Problems
> of Developmental Instruction), and I sincerely feel that this book will
> help all of us in clarifying so many past points of discussions on
> xmca, and hopefully Peter’s translation (a real labor of dedication to
> Davydov) will be out in a few months….In the introduction, Davydov
> states: “A person’s social or collective life enables him, using the
> means of the ideal plane, to separate off his activity from himself and
> to represent it as a special object that can be transformed, even
> before this activity is realized in actuality. Then the person can see,
> evaluate and consider his own activity from the position of the other
> members of the collective. Within his own activity, the individual person
> creates an ideal representation of the positions of other people. The
> person’s reproduction of an ideal image of his activity, and of an
> ideal representation within it of the positions of other people, may be
> called consciousness. Consciousness cannot be studied in isolation from
> the ideal or from activity; these exist in an indissoluble unity, with
> activity predominating. However, each of these formations, and all of
> them together, can be understood only through the totality of social
> relations that is the essence of the human.”

Nice quote. I agree with it.

>Dorothy (Dot) Robbins
>Professor of German
>Russian Orphanage Vyschgorod
> Heidi
>Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it
>xmca mailing list

  Andy Blunden : tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435,
mobile 0409 358 651

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Received on Wed Feb 13 14:41 PST 2008

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