Re: [xmca] Molar, Molecular and Additive behaviour

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at mira.net>
Date: Mon Sep 01 2008 - 22:30:18 PDT

My apologies Robert. AGAIN, I pressed the "send" button too
soon! Actually, your insight tells us something possibly
profound about society: that collectivities arise by taboos,
rather than rituals. Even old Hegel claimed that
civilisation emerged through the punishment of crime, not a
positive adherence to law.

Interesting!

Andy

Andy Blunden wrote:
> Thanks for that Robert. I hadn't heard that idea before.
>
> The problem I have though, is that this is very much part of an
> "observer standpoint" rather than a "participant standpoint" approach.
> It is not "Romantic Science", to use AR Luria's term. ... but that
> doesn't make it wrong!!
>
> Andy
>
> Robert Bracewell wrote:
>> Hi Andy,
>>
>> Very succinctly put. A major constraint, or at least condition, that such
>> configuration constraints must meet is that it allow for novel
>> configurations that are characteristic of creativity in activity.
>>
>> --Bob Bracewell
>>
>> On 8/29/08 11:31 PM, "Andy Blunden" <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>>
>>> Fascinating response, Robert. So let's see if I understand
>>> you right. A mass of interconnected actions can be
>>> understood as some *whole* (and not just an arbitrary
>>> collection of individual things) if we can perceive some
>>> kind of *constraint*, operating over the domain, which
>>> limits the domain of possible configurations? Is that it?
>>>
>>> Andy
>>>
>>> Robert Bracewell wrote:
>>>> Hi Andy and all,
>>>>
>>>> I agree with Michael that the relationship between activity and
>>>> action is a
>>>> constitutive one, but I think this points to a big theoretical gap
>>>> in CHAT
>>>> generally. If actions are the constituents of activity, then the issue
>>>> arises as to how the constituents are arranged in order to constitute
>>>> activity (and there may be other types of constituents in activity
>>>> also). As
>>>> Leontev said, this arrangement cannot be serial (e.g., chains of s-r
>>>> pairs), nor additive in the sense of accumulative (as contrasted
>>>> with the
>>>> mathematical sense). So how are we to theorize the arrangement? The
>>>> issue of
>>>> arranging constituents to achieve higher order structures has been
>>>> treated
>>>> by both linguistics and artificial intelligence. The general
>>>> approach is to
>>>> constrain the possible relationships between constituents--in
>>>> linguistics
>>>> this usually done via a grammar, in AI via a program. For CHAT I
>>>> think our
>>>> task may be to build on Leontev and figure out these constraints.
>>>>
>>>> Regards,
>>>>
>>>> --Bob Bracewell
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On 8/29/08 1:24 PM, "Wolff-Michael Roth" <mroth@uvic.ca> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> Hi Andy,
>>>>> I think he expresses the constitutive relation between actions and
>>>>> activity. Activity is not just the sum of actions, it presupposes
>>>>> them but is itself presupposed by the actions that constitute it. I
>>>>> am pasting the definition from OED, which appears to be consistent
>>>>> with this (my) reading of Leont'ev. Leont'ev and Vygotsky want to do
>>>>> unit analysis, not element/al analysis. That is, even if you can
>>>>> identify structures within activity, these cannot stand on their own
>>>>> like elements. What they are is dependent on all the other structures
>>>>> that can be identified, with which they stand in a constitutive unit,
>>>>> and which are subordinate to activity. :-)
>>>>>
>>>>> molar, adj.3
>>>>>
>>>>> 2. Psychol. Designating a large-scale unit of behaviour, esp. an
>>>>> integrated set of responses serving to bring about a common goal, as
>>>>> distinguished from an elementary unit of behaviour such as a
>>>>> physiological response (cf. MOLECULAR adj. 5); of or relating to (the
>>>>> study of) such behaviour.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>> Michael
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> On 29-Aug-08, at 7:11 AM, Michael Glassman wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>> Andy,
>>>>>
>>>>> This is just my perspective, but I still believe Activity Theory goes
>>>>> back to roots in work done by Stanislavsky - in particular "On Being
>>>>> an Actor" and his book on character development. I think the
>>>>> argument that Stanislavsky makes is that you should never consider
>>>>> each scene individually, as encapsulated and whole, I guess you could
>>>>> say there should be no reification of a scene. You have to consider
>>>>> a scene, and the actions of a character, not only in terms of the
>>>>> entire play, but in terms of what has come before and what comes
>>>>> after - that activity is part of an ongoing process. Stanislavsky
>>>>> was working off the new form of playwrights such as Ibsen, Strindberg
>>>>> and especially Chekhov of course. To give an example, when Nora
>>>>> walks out on Torvald and her father at the end of "A Doll's House"
>>>>> the scene makes little sense in an of itself, and if you think of the
>>>>> scenes of the play as simply being additive you are shocked. But if
>>>>> you consider it as part of a moral activity, with a building
>>>>> motivation that leads to a choice of action it is extraordinarily
>>>>> complelling.
>>>>>
>>>>> Anyway, that's my two cents.
>>>>>
>>>>> Michael
>>>>>
>>>>> ________________________________
>>>>>
>>>>> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu on behalf of Andy Blunden
>>>>> Sent: Fri 8/29/2008 9:53 AM
>>>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>>> Subject: [xmca] Molar, Molecular and Additive behaviour
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> Can anyone help me out here. Leontyev says:
>>>>>
>>>>> "But human practice is not just a series or a sum of
>>>>> actions. In other words, 'activity is a molar, not an
>>>>> additive unit'."
>>>>>
>>>>> OED says:
>>>>>
>>>>> Molar, Psychol. Designating a large-scale unit of behaviour,
>>>>> esp. an integrated set of responses serving to bring about a
>>>>> common goal, as distinguished from an elementary unit of
>>>>> behaviour such as a physiological response (cf. MOLECULAR
>>>>> adj. 5); of or relating to (the study of) such behaviour.
>>>>>
>>>>> 1932 E. C. TOLMAN Purposive Behavior "On the one hand,
>>>>> Watson has defined behavior in terms of its strict physical
>>>>> and physiological details, i.e., in terms of
>>>>> receptor-process, conductor-process, and effector-process
>>>>> per se. We shall designate this as the molecular definition
>>>>> of behavior. And on the other hand, he has come to recognize
>>>>> that behavior is more than and different from the sum of its
>>>>> physiological parts. Behavior has descriptive and defining
>>>>> properties of its own. And we shall designate this latter as
>>>>> the molar definition of behavior."
>>>>>
>>>>> Am I missing something. By "not additive" does Leontyev
>>>>> simply mean that there's more to it than S -> R ?
>>>>>
>>>>> Andy
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> David Preiss wrote:
>>>>>> based on the work made by max plank and run by san francisco's
>>>>>> exploratorium
>>>>>> http://www.exploratorium.edu/evidence/
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> David Preiss, Ph.D.
>>>>>> Subdirector de Extensin y Comunicaciones
>>>>>> Escuela de Psicologa
>>>>>> Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
>>>>>> Av Vicua Mackenna - 4860
>>>>>> 7820436 Macul
>>>>>> Santiago, Chile
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Fono: 3544605
>>>>>> Fax: 3544844
>>>>>> e-mail: davidpreiss@uc.cl
>>>>>> web personal: http://web.mac.com/ddpreiss/
>>>>>> web institucional: http://www.epuc.cl/profesores/dpreiss
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>>>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>>>>>>
>>>>> --
>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>
>>>>> Andy Blunden http://home.mira.net/~andy/ +61 3 9380 9435
>>>>> Skype andy.blunden
>>>>>
>>>>> _______________________________________________
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>>>>>
>>>>>
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>>
>

-- 
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Andy Blunden http://home.mira.net/~andy/ +61 3 9380 9435 
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Received on Mon Sep 1 22:31 PDT 2008

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