[xmca] Re: djatel nost

From: Steve Gabosch <stevegabosch who-is-at mac.com>
Date: Thu Sep 04 2008 - 18:03:31 PDT

Hi Martin,

You bring up extremely important points, which interest me a lot. I
really appreciate your perspective. Let's take this up in a few weeks
once we are settled down after San Diego.

Best,
- Steve

On Sep 4, 2008, at 4:45 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:

> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Re: [xmca] déjatel’ nost’
> Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2008 15:27:28 -0400
> From: Martin Packer <mpacker885@gmail.com>
> To: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
>
> Andy, I'm having technical problem sending email. Any possibility
> you could forward this to XMCA? thanks!
>
> Steve,
>
> I'll admit I have some problems with Ilyenkov's reading of Marx.
> Consider, for example, the following excerpt. Is he saying we
> should study the hydrogen atom? Is this the "elementary
> manifestation" that is analogous to the the commodity in Capital?
> Yes, hydrogen is the simplest element, and its analysis can enable
> us to understand the properties of more complex elements. (The
> Schrodinger wave equation, for example, can be solved for a hydrogen
> atom but is unsolvable for more complex atoms, if I remember my
> college chemistry).
>
> >> Hydrogen appears in this
> >> case as the elementary structure in the decomposition of which
> >> chemical properties of matter disappear in general, whether the
> >> analytical decomposition is performed in an actual experiment or
> only
> >> mentally. Hydrogen is therefore a concrete universal element of
> >> chemism.
>
> But not all the properties of hydrogen show up (appear) in a single
> atom. Hydrogen atoms bond to form H2 molecules, and at low
> temperature and pressure show a more exotic bonding form (the Bose-
> Einstein condensate). A single atom doesn't go through phase changes
> (solid, liquid, gas). So, yes, "the concrete universal concept
> registers a real objective elementary form of the existence of the
> entire system rather
> than an empty abstraction." But not in isolation.
>
> Ilyenkov claims that with the "single form" of direct exchange alone
> Marx was able to identity all the phenomena and categories of
> advanced capitalism, "without exception." I just don't think this is
> true. Marx traced the commodity form back to these simple origins,
> but he analysed the contemporary version of the form as well. So
> where Ilyenkov says that to understand life we ought to study "the
> elementary protein body" (I think this should be "protean" body),
> which I take to mean unicellular organisms, yes of course this is
> important, but surely we also need to study modern complex multi-
> cellular organisms?
>
> If it really were the case that Marx could come up with "all
> phenomena and categories of advanced capitalism" from studying only
> "direct exchange of one commodity for another" this would amount to
> be being able to predict, or perhaps logically deduce, the direction
> and outcome of cultural evolution. It would be like studying a
> single-celled organism and accurately predicting its evolution into
> ammals and then humans. This might be possible if there were a
> "universal dialectical law" unfolding everywhere. Ilyenkov appears
> to believe that there is, and this is one way of reading Marx. But
> it is not the way I read Marx, and I don't believe that there is an
> "objectively universal" dialectical
> logic that can be identified even in the simplest of forms.
>
> Martin
>
>
>
> On 9/3/08 10:05 AM, "Steve Gabosch" <stevegabosch@mac.com
> <mailto:stevegabosch@mac.com>> wrote:
>
> > You raise really good points, Martin. What are you thoughts on the
> > distinction between an "analytical unit" versus a "basic unit of
> > analysis", and where do you see the "concrete universal" fitting in?
> > - Steve
> >
> >
> > On Sep 3, 2008, at 6:16 AM, Martin Packer wrote:
> >
> >> Andy, Steve,
> >>
> >> I like the idea of exploring further the way Marx's analysis of the
> >> commodity gives us a concrete (!) example of methodology. A good
> >> place to
> >> start is with the fact that the commodity is the unit of analysis
> in
> >> Capital, in the sense that Andy defines, that it is the smallest
> >> component
> >> that shows the properties of the whole: in this case, it shows the
> >> contradiction between use value and exchange value that
> characterizes
> >> capital as a whole.
> >>
> >> But at the same time, it is a constituted unit, no? Or, better put,
> >> it is at
> >> the same time a process, which can be analytically decomposed into
> >> cycles of
> >> production and exchange. Ilyenkov apparently focuses on Marx's
> >> analysis of
> >> the historical development of the commodity, from unmediated
> exchange
> >> through to complex money forms. But there is a synchronic
> dimension of
> >> analysis too, and Marx explores how the process of exchanging
> >> commodities is
> >> the basis for the abstraction in which they come to have common
> >> measure.
> >> Equally the labor of producing commodities becomes abstract, and
> what
> >> remains in each case is value.
> >>
> >> So we learn little by looking at a unit in isolation. "We may twist
> >> and turn
> >> a single commodity as we wish; it remains impossible to grasp it as
> >> a thing
> >> possessing value... [its objective character as value] can only
> >> appear in
> >> the social relation between commodity and commodity" (Marx). We
> need
> >> to
> >> examine units in relation. This seems to me to suggest that
> although
> >> a unit
> >> has the characteristics of the whole, this is the case only when
> the
> >> unit is
> >> examined *in* the whole. We need to study a commodity *in*
> capitalist
> >> society.
> >>
> >> More specifically still, we need to study the unit in the processes
> >> of which
> >> it is the product. So Chapter 2 of Capital considers "The Process
> of
> >> Exchange" in which "in order that these objects may enter into
> >> relation with
> >> each other as commodities, their guardians must place themselves in
> >> relation
> >> to one another as persons whose will resides in these objects." Our
> >> analysis
> >> only *begins* with an examination of the unit, the commodity. It
> must
> >> proceed to an examination of the relations among units, and then to
> >> the
> >> relations among people which bring the units into relation.
> >>
> >> Here of course the famous passage, "a commodity appears at first
> >> sight an
> >> extremely obvious, trivial thing. But its analysis brings out that
> >> it is a
> >> very strange thing, abounding in metapysical subtleties and
> >> theological
> >> niceties." "The mysterious character" of the commodity "reflects
> the
> >> social
> >> characteristics of men's own labour."
> >>
> >> My reading of this is that the analysis of a unit cannot replace
> the
> >> analysis of the whole, even though the unit "reflects" the whole.
> We
> >> must
> >> analyze the unit *in* the whole which constitutes it, for it is
> *we*
> >> who
> >> make the commodity what it is, "without being aware of it."
> Analysis
> >> is a
> >> process in which we "try to decipher the hieroglyphic, to get
> behind
> >> the
> >> secret of [our] own social product." This analysis has an
> emancipatory
> >> character because it enables us to see the contingent, historical
> >> genesis of
> >> forms which had come to seem natural, immutable, and finished.
> Marx is
> >> interested in the commodity. But one might argue that he is *more*
> >> interested in the festishism with which we generally understand
> >> commodities,
> >> the alienation which quantitative exchange of commodities gives
> rise
> >> to, and
> >> the "metamorphosis" of commodities into money which is the basis
> for
> >> the
> >> exploitation of labor (so Chapter 3 analyzes "The Circulation of
> >> Commodities" now as a process that becomes mediated by money). None
> >> of this
> >> is exactly "in" the commodity, but only if we begin our analysis
> >> with the
> >> commodity will we be able to understand the other phenomena.
> >>
> >> Does this all get played out in Vygotsky's analyses?
> >>
> >> Martin
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> On 9/2/08 8:19 AM, "Steve Gabosch" <stevegabosch@mac.com
> <mailto:stevegabosch@mac.com>> wrote:
> >>
> >>> Andy, I am still absorbing your last message. While doing that I
> >>> wanted to look at Ilyenkov's 1960 book The Dialectics of the
> Abstract
> >>> & the Concrete in Marx's Capital, which deals with many things we
> >>> are
> >>> talking about in this thread.
> >>>
> >>> ****************
> >>>
> >>> The lengthy passage below is a helpful description of the concrete
> >>> universal by Ilyenkov. After pointing out how Marx uses value
> as the
> >>> concrete universal in the development of the capitalist economy,
> >>> Ilyenkov gives helpful examples of concrete universals in
> chemistry
> >>> and life in general.
> >>>
> >>> Btw, this transcription on Marxist Internet Archive is by Andy.
> >>>
> >>> http://www.marxists.org/archive/ilyenkov/works/abstract/abstra5a.htm
> >>>
> >>> Ilyenkov
> >>> The dialectics of the Abstract & the Concrete in Marx's Capital
> >>>
> >>> from Chapter 5 – The Method of Ascent from the Abstract to the
> >>> Concrete in Marx's Capital
> >>>
> >>> the beginning of the section Concrete fullness of Abstraction and
> >>> Analysis as a Condition of Theoretical Synthesis
> >>>
> >>> We shall now turn to a consideration of the logical structure of
> >>> Capital, comparing it both with the logic of Ricardian thought and
> >>> the
> >>> theoretical views of Marx's predecessors in the field of logic;
> >>> this
> >>> discussion should reveal Marx's logic in its actual practical
> >>> application to the analysis of facts, to the analysis of empirical
> >>> data.
> >>>
> >>> Our task is that of singling out the universal logical elements of
> >>> Marx's treatment of economic materials, the logical forms that are
> >>> applicable, due to their universality, to any other theoretical
> >>> discipline.
> >>>
> >>> Capital, as is well known, begins with a most thorough and
> detailed
> >>> analysis of the category of value, i.e., of the real form of
> economic
> >>> relations that is the universal and elementary form of the being
> of
> >>> capital. In this analysis, Marx's field of vision encompasses a
> >>> single and, as we have already noted, extremely rare, in developed
> >>> capitalism, factual relation between men – direct exchange of
> one
> >>> commodity for another. At this stage of his inquiry into the
> >>> capitalist system, Marx intentionally leaves out of account any
> other
> >>> forms – money or profit or wages. All of these things are as yet
> >>> believed to be non-existent.
> >>>
> >>> Nevertheless, analysis of this single form of economic relations
> >>> yields, as its result, a theoretical expression of the objectively
> >>> universal form of all phenomena and categories of developed
> >>> capitalism
> >>> without exception, an expression of a developed concreteness, a
> >>> theoretical expression of value as such, of the universal form of
> >>> value.
> >>>
> >>> The elementary type of the existence of value coincides with
> value in
> >>> general, and the real actually traceable development of this
> form of
> >>> value into other forms constitutes the objective content of the
> >>> deduction of the categories of Capital. Deduction in this
> conception,
> >>> unlike the Ricardian one, loses its formal character: here it
> >>> directly
> >>> expresses the real content of some forms of economic interaction
> from
> >>> others.
> >>>
> >>> That is precisely the point missing in the systems of Ricardo
> and of
> >>> his followers from the bourgeois camp.
> >>>
> >>> The conception of a universal concept underlying the entire
> system of
> >>> the categories of science, applied here by Marx, cannot be
> explained
> >>> by the specificity of the subject-matter of political economy. It
> >>> reflects the universal dialectical law of the unfolding of any
> >>> objective concreteness – natural, socio-historical, or
> spiritual.
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> This conception is of great significance for any modern science.
> To
> >>> give a concrete theoretical definition of life as the basic
> category
> >>> of biology, to answer the question of what is life in general,
> life
> >>> as
> >>> such, one ought to act in the same way as Marx acted with value in
> >>> general, that is, one should undertake a concrete analysis of the
> >>> composition and mode of existence of an elementary manifestation
> of
> >>> life – the elementary protein body. That is the only way of
> >>> obtaining
> >>> a real definition and of revealing the essence of the matter.
> >>>
> >>> Only in this way, and not at all by abstraction of the general
> >>> features of all phenomena of life without exception, can one
> attain a
> >>> really scientific and materialist conception of life, creating the
> >>> concept of life as such.
> >>>
> >>> The situation is the same in chemistry. The concept of chemical
> >>> element as such, of chemical element in general, cannot be
> worked out
> >>> through abstraction of the general and identical features that
> helium
> >>> has in common with uranium or silicon with nitrogen, or the common
> >>> features of all the elements of the periodic table. The concept of
> >>> chemical element may be formed by detailed consideration of the
> >>> simplest element of the system – hydrogen. Hydrogen appears in
> this
> >>> case as the elementary structure in the decomposition of which
> >>> chemical properties of matter disappear in general, whether the
> >>> analytical decomposition is performed in an actual experiment or
> only
> >>> mentally. Hydrogen is therefore a concrete universal element of
> >>> chemism. The universal necessary laws that emerge and disappear
> with
> >>> it, are the simplest laws of the existence of the chemical
> element in
> >>> general. As elementary and universal laws they will occur in
> uranium,
> >>> gold, silicon, and so on. And any of these wore complex elements
> may
> >>> in principle be reduced to hydrogen, which, by the way, happens
> both
> >>> in nature and in experiments with nuclear processes.
> >>>
> >>> In other words, what takes place here is the same living mutual
> >>> transformation of the universal and the particular, of the
> elementary
> >>> and the complex which we observed in the categories of capital,
> where
> >>> profit emerges as developed value, as a developed elementary
> form of
> >>> commodity, to which profit is continually reduced in the real
> >>> movement
> >>> of the economic system and therefore in thought reproducing this
> >>> movement. Here as everywhere else, the concrete universal concept
> >>> registers a real objective elementary form of the existence of the
> >>> entire system rather than an empty abstraction.
> >>>
> >>> <end>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> On Sep 1, 2008, at 10:27 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:
> >>>
> >>>> Steve,
> >>>> as I understand it, the concept of "concrete universal" is
> closely
> >>>> related to UoA (or notion or "abstract concept") in this way. In
> >>>> approaching the understanding of a complex phenomenon, the
> >>>> researcher tries to determine a notion which will reveal at least
> >>>> the aspects of that whole she is interested in. One and the same
> >>>> phenomenon (e.g. "the real life of people" or "personality")
> may be
> >>>> approached using different units of analysis (abstract notions)
> and
> >>>> the result will be different insights into the same phenomena.
> >>>>
> >>>> This is where the ascent from the abstract to the concrete
> comes in:
> >>>> the complex whole is to be "reconstructed" in thought, beginning
> >>>> from this abstract concept of it, and the end result of such a
> >>>> reconstruction is a "concrete universal". So if (for example) a
> >>>> certain social formation is to be understood as a "concrete
> >>>> universal", then you must begin by determining an "anstract
> notion"
> >>>> of it. (The tricky bit is discovery of the "abstract notion"
> and the
> >>>> only place to read about that process is in Hegel's Doctrine of
> >>>> Essence in the Logic.)
> >>>>
> >>>> The contrary method is to begin with a thoughtlessly chosen
> element
> >>>> and analyse it into its properties (or "attributes" or in old
> >>>> English "accidents"). (The subject is the sum of all the
> predicates
> >>>> which can be attached to it?) These attributes may then be used
> to
> >>>> reconstuct a whole, which would be an "abstract general". For
> >>>> example, someone who thinks that the working class are people who
> >>>> work for a wage, then define the working class as the set of all
> >>>> wage earners, and include policemen and senior managers among the
> >>>> proletariat--+, whilst ecluding housewives. The same person might
> >>>> define a bourseois as someone with a lot of money, and decide
> that
> >>>> the Professor of FIne Arts is not a bourgeois, because he does
> not
> >>>> own capital, only culture.
> >>>>
> >>>> Does that help?
> >>>> Andy
> >>>>
> >>>> Steve Gabosch wrote:
> >>>>> That is very helpful, Andy. The problem to solve, of course, is
> >>>>> determining the "simplest" component of a whole, without
> entering
> >>>>> into the realm of "elements," as Vygotsky would warn against
> in his
> >>>>> example of water, which is not flammable, whereas its elements
> >>>>> hydrogen and oxygen are. Your history of the concept is a very
> >>>>> useful place to start and is appreciated. I got from Ilyenkov's
> >>>>> writings, btw, that he thought "value" was the basic unit of
> >>>>> analysis of commodities, money, capital, etc. and that Marx
> chose
> >>>>> the simplest manifestation of value - the commodity - to build
> his
> >>>>> case on what capital is and how it works. But that does not
> take
> >>>>> anything away from the central points you are making.
> >>>>> Here are some more questions, for you, anyone. Ilyenkov also
> >>>>> speaks of the concrete universal. How does the "concrete
> >>>>> universal" concept fit in with the "unit of analysis" concept?
> >>>>> Also, what is the distinction between unit of analysis, basic
> unit
> >>>>> of analysis, and analytical units? And to just make sure
> there is
> >>>>> no confusion, what is the difference between a "unit" and an
> >>>>> "element"?
> >>>>> - Steve
> >>>>> On Sep 1, 2008, at 7:20 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:
> >>>>>> Others may chine in on this. I am in the midst of writing
> stuff on
> >>>>>> the topic, but a few basics:
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> "Unit of analysis" is the simplest component of something which
> >>>>>> exhibits all the properties of the whole. It originates from
> >>>>>> Goethe who called it the *Urphanomenon*, and David tells me
> that
> >>>>>> Goethe got it from Vico, though I haven't been able to confirm
> >>>>>> that myself. Goethe insisted that the UoA had to be itself a
> >>>>>> "phenomenon" rather than a hypothesis or principle or mechanism
> >>>>>> lying behind and beyond appearances, like an *embryo* or *germ-
> >>>>>> cell*. Hegel took over the idea and he called it the *Notion*
> >>>>>> (Begriff), and it is the key idea in his logic and his theory
> of
> >>>>>> science. Marx applied the idea to political economy and came up
> >>>>>> with the *Commodity*, as the simplest relation of bourgeois
> >>>>>> society and the simplest unit of capital. Vygotsky took up the
> >>>>>> idea and his study of Pavlov's work on the *conditioned reflex*
> >>>>>> was his first idea for a UoA for psychology, and then of course
> >>>>>> the famous *word meaning* as a UoA for the study of intelligent
> >>>>>> speech. ANL then (it seems) took it further with the idea of
> *(an)
> >>>>>> activity* as the UoA for the social life of humans.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> It is important that the UoA contains nothing outside within
> >>>>>> itself (preconditions, axioms, etc.), and is in that sense
> >>>>>> absolutely simple, and that it _is itself_ "an example" of
> what it
> >>>>>> is the simplest component of, for example the *molecule* for
> >>>>>> chemistry and the *particle* for physics. Hegel took *right*
> >>>>>> (which he took as private property) for the UoA for the study
> of
> >>>>>> modern society.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> Hegel explained that a science must begin from the *Concept*
> (is
> >>>>>> UoA) of its subject matter, and then while studying the field
> of
> >>>>>> phenomena to guide perception, unfold out of the conception,
> >>>>>> logically so to speak, everything that is contained within it.
> >>>>>> Davydov and Elkonin's method of teaching the science of number
> >>>>>> actually takes that conception of science as a research program
> >>>>>> and applies it to teaching and learning, with *external
> >>>>>> comparison* as the UoA for mathematics.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> Hope that helps,
> >>>>>> Andy
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> Steve Gabosch wrote:
> >>>>>>> On your last comment, Andy, I for sure have much to learn
> about
> >>>>>>> the concept "unit of analysis". I like the way Dot speaks
> of a
> >>>>>>> "system" of units, levels, methodology, etc. A very quick
> read
> >>>>>>> of the AA Leontiev article on "Units" that Dot refers us to
> >>>>>>> reveals that it will take some serious study for me to
> absorb -
> >>>>>>> in a way, it is a summary of many key themes over the
> history of
> >>>>>>> activity theory, a history I most certainly have much to learn
> >>>>>>> about. I know that one thing I do as I am learning a new
> concept
> >>>>>>> is try to find ways to use it, to apply its terms, to
> incorporate
> >>>>>>> it wherever I can, including into everyday situations if
> >>>>>>> possible; in short, play with it - and sometimes I will
> stretch
> >>>>>>> it too far from its intended meaning, throw it around too
> >>>>>>> loosely, as you put it, and I will need to get reined in,
> which
> >>>>>>> appears to be what you are graciously doing.
> >>>>>>> So would you, or anyone, help me out: what is the "precise
> >>>>>>> meaning" of "unit of analysis"?
> >>>>>>> - Steve
> >>>>>>> On Sep 1, 2008, at 4:46 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:
> >>>>>>>> This is a bog topic, Steve. Marx's own views were hindered by
> >>>>>>>> the non-existence of workers' states and substantial welfare
> >>>>>>>> states, so he took quite an extreme position in relation to
> "the
> >>>>>>>> public sector". But obviously I am saying that *labour
> which has
> >>>>>>>> been subsumed under Capital* - the expression Marx uses in
> the
> >>>>>>>> "unpublished sixth chapter of Capital" - has the object
> only of
> >>>>>>>> expanding capital. Most people refer to house work as the
> >>>>>>>> production of labour power for sale. Although over the
> yearws,
> >>>>>>>> capital subsumes a greater and greater proportion of the
> social
> >>>>>>>> labour, it has not yet subsumed all. That is obvious.
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> I am mixing two sligtly different genres here, marxist
> political
> >>>>>>>> economy and soviet cultural-historical activity theory, but
> I'd
> >>>>>>>> be interested in reactions. The Soviets always intended to be
> >>>>>>>> faithful to Marx and political economy after all.
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> Andy
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> PS, Steve please revise the meaning of "unit of analysis". It
> >>>>>>>> has a precise meaning and IMHO should not be thrown around so
> >>>>>>>> loosely."
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> Steve Gabosch wrote:
> >>>>>>>>> Andy wrote:
> >>>>>>>>>> One could go on, but if one were to ask what object is
> served
> >>>>>>>>>> by work then the answer is "expansion of capital". I caould
> >>>>>>>>>> give 1000 examples of Marx making ths claim. The idea
> that the
> >>>>>>>>>> object of one's labour is profit is always problemtatic for
> >>>>>>>>>> people that work in the public sector, especially in
> education
> >>>>>>>>>> or health, but if you were in the USSR where the state is
> >>>>>>>>>> paying the wages, it would seem strange indeed. The idea
> that
> >>>>>>>>>> one's work is part of the reproduction of the community
> in a
> >>>>>>>>>> division of labour seems far more appealing. But that
> turned
> >>>>>>>>>> out to be a passing episode in twentieth century history.
> >>>>>>>>> Perhaps you didn't mean this, but it sounds like you are
> saying
> >>>>>>>>> that all work serves the accumulation or expansion of
> capital.
> >>>>>>>>> But as you know, there are many kinds of work that don't.
> Here
> >>>>>>>>> are three examples, as I see it:
> >>>>>>>>> 1) House work (cleaning your own house) does not produce
> >>>>>>>>> surplus value.
> >>>>>>>>> 2) Cuban workers today don't contribute to the
> accumulation of
> >>>>>>>>> capital, except in some small businesses and enterprises
> (such
> >>>>>>>>> as some restaurants, farms), where how much gets
> accumulated is
> >>>>>>>>> highly restricted. There is no capitalist class of any
> >>>>>>>>> significance in Cuba today.
> >>>>>>>>> 3) Public sector workers in the US are not producing surplus
> >>>>>>>>> value. The health and education sectors especially are
> >>>>>>>>> examples of workers and other oppressed layers demanding and
> >>>>>>>>> fighting for social programs that enhance their quality of
> >>>>>>>>> life, forcing the capitalists to devote a small percentage
> of
> >>>>>>>>> the surplus value they accumulate to such programs - which
> have
> >>>>>>>>> been under attack for some years now by the capitalists and
> >>>>>>>>> political forces that support them precisely because these
> >>>>>>>>> programs do not produce surplus value - they consume it.
> >>>>>>>>> When one begins to look at economies, blocks of capital,
> wages,
> >>>>>>>>> government, public service workers, workers states, classes,
> >>>>>>>>> and other such issues, many of the core features of activity
> >>>>>>>>> theory appear on a new level of analysis: historical
> >>>>>>>>> materialism. There are of course other world views, but
> this
> >>>>>>>>> is the one Vygotsky used. Vygotsky said he was applying
> >>>>>>>>> historical materialism to psychology, which he explained
> would
> >>>>>>>>> require the discovery of new laws of development and a new
> >>>>>>>>> basic unit of analysis.
> >>>>>>>>> Andy and I had some conversation about class and activity
> >>>>>>>>> offline recently and I said that "class" is a unit of
> analysis
> >>>>>>>>> in Marxism, as in "class analysis" and "the history of all
> >>>>>>>>> hitherto existing society is the history of class
> >>>>>>>>> struggle" (Communist Manifesto).
> >>>>>>>>> But on further thought, that is incorrect. Marx and
> Engels say
> >>>>>>>>> it right in that quote - they say **class struggle**, not
> >>>>>>>>> "class". Thinking about this, a common error in sociology
> is
> >>>>>>>>> to use class as the unit of analysis. Classes are only
> >>>>>>>>> elements of class struggles. Class is an analytical unit,
> but
> >>>>>>>>> not a basic unit of analysis.
> >>>>>>>>> Relating this to CHAT, as I see it, classes are to class
> >>>>>>>>> struggles as actions are to activity. Class struggle is a
> unit
> >>>>>>>>> of analysis in historical materialism in the way that
> activity
> >>>>>>>>> is seen as a unit of analysis in cultural historical
> >>>>>>>>> psychology.
> >>>>>>>>> But is activity really the **basic** unit of human
> existence?
> >>>>>>>>> As David was saying, there is a difference between units of
> >>>>>>>>> analysis and analytical units. Is activity an analytical
> unit,
> >>>>>>>>> but not the basic unit of analysis? This would not overturn
> >>>>>>>>> any work CHAT has done, just shift its attention to a
> different
> >>>>>>>>> basic unit of analysis, and "demote" activity to an
> analytical
> >>>>>>>>> unit, albeit a very useful and powerful one.
> >>>>>>>>> Mohammed Elhammoumi argues in a paper he will present at
> ISCAR
> >>>>>>>>> that the unit of analysis is the social relations of
> >>>>>>>>> production. If that is the case - I find this idea thought
> >>>>>>>>> provoking - then activity would be an element in that larger
> >>>>>>>>> entity - activities are carved out of the existing social
> >>>>>>>>> relations and artifacts (artifacts include nature insofar as
> >>>>>>>>> humans directly interact with it). Activity could be
> >>>>>>>>> understood as mutually constitutive with the aggregate
> social
> >>>>>>>>> relations in a particular society, in the way that Michael
> >>>>>>>>> describes actions and activity as mutually constitutive.
> >>>>>>>>> Interesting to think about.
> >>>>>>>>> Steve
> >>>>>>>>> On Aug 31, 2008, at 7:57 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:
> >>>>>>>>>> Thanks for all that Michael. I actually hardly slept last
> >>>>>>>>>> night going over in my mind the points you made. I think
> I can
> >>>>>>>>>> see my way through this now, and that "(a system of)
> activity"
> >>>>>>>>>> or "an activity" is indeed a very good candidate for a
> "unit
> >>>>>>>>>> of analysis". You will doubtless get something from me on
> your
> >>>>>>>>>> editor's desk in a couple of months on the topic. But
> >>>>>>>>>> altogether I feel much better about ANL now. Thank you.
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>> But the questions about word meanings here are still
> >>>>>>>>>> outstanding:
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>> (1) "activity" - as used in Hegel and Marx and Leontyev
> when
> >>>>>>>>>> he says:
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>> "[The processes that mediate the influences of the
> objective
> >>>>>>>>>> world reflected in the human brain] are those that
> realise a
> >>>>>>>>>> person's actual life in the objective world by which he is
> >>>>>>>>>> surrounded, his social being in all the richness and
> variety
> >>>>>>>>>> of its forms. In other words, these processes are his
> >>>>>>>>>> activity."
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>> - is not a unit of analysis, but a presupposition, whilst
> "an
> >>>>>>>>>> activity" or "system of activity", you have convinced me,
> is a
> >>>>>>>>>> good "unit of analysis" for the study of the social life of
> >>>>>>>>>> human beings. As when Marx says:
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>> "The premises from which we begin are not arbitrary ones,
> not
> >>>>>>>>>> dogmas, but real premises from which abstraction can only
> be
> >>>>>>>>>> made in the imagination. They are the real individuals,
> their
> >>>>>>>>>> activity and the material conditions under which they live,
> >>>>>>>>>> both those which they find already existing and those
> produced
> >>>>>>>>>> by their activity." (The German Ideology, 1a, 1845)
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>> My concern is that we use the same word and I suspect the
> >>>>>>>>>> observation that we have here two qute distinct concepts is
> >>>>>>>>>> not something which is widely recognised.
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>> (2) "activity" and "work" - I am going to spend some time
> >>>>>>>>>> revising how ANL takes labour as the prototype of an
> activity
> >>>>>>>>>> and the bases on which "an activity" and "a type of
> activity"
> >>>>>>>>>> are delineated or developed. This is my major concern.
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>> But look. Marx, Capital Vol 1:
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>> "As a capitalist, he is only capital personified. His
> soul is
> >>>>>>>>>> the soul of capital. But capital has one sole driving
> force,
> >>>>>>>>>> the drive to valorize itself, to create surplus value, to
> make
> >>>>>>>>>> its constant part, the means of production, absorb the
> >>>>>>>>>> greatest possible amount of surplus labour. Capital is dead
> >>>>>>>>>> labour which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living
> >>>>>>>>>> labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks." -
> >>>>>>>>>> Capital, p.342
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>> One could go on, but if one were to ask what object is
> served
> >>>>>>>>>> by work then the answer is "expansion of capital". I caould
> >>>>>>>>>> give 1000 examples of Marx making ths claim. The idea
> that the
> >>>>>>>>>> object of one's labour is profit is always problemtatic for
> >>>>>>>>>> people that work in the public sector, especially in
> education
> >>>>>>>>>> or health, but if you were in the USSR where the state is
> >>>>>>>>>> paying the wages, it would seem strange indeed. The idea
> that
> >>>>>>>>>> one's work is part of the reproduction of the community
> in a
> >>>>>>>>>> division of labour seems far more appealing. But that
> turned
> >>>>>>>>>> out to be a passing episode in twentieth century history.
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>> I.e., the most important "activity" today is "capital."
> That
> >>>>>>>>>> seems to have been lost somewhere, at least to some extent.
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>> Andy
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>> Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
> >>>>>>>>>>> Hi Andy,
> >>>>>>>>>>> I am not trying to give you advice. I am talking about
> my own
> >>>>>>>>>>> experiences of having struggled.
> >>>>>>>>>>> One of the things Marx criticized his contemporaries for
> is
> >>>>>>>>>>> that they looked at value abstractly. He wrote Das
> Kapital as
> >>>>>>>>>>> a concrete analysis of value, its one-sided expressions in
> >>>>>>>>>>> use-value and exchange-value, and how these concretized
> >>>>>>>>>>> themselves in possible cases. Any time I want to think
> about
> >>>>>>>>>>> activity abstractly, I get into trouble, which resolve
> >>>>>>>>>>> themselves when I take concrete cases of activity and work
> >>>>>>>>>>> them through, culturally and historically. I then realize
> >>>>>>>>>>> that activity concretizes itself very differently, the
> >>>>>>>>>>> activity of schooling is very different in U.S. suburbia
> then
> >>>>>>>>>>> it is in inner-city neighborhood schools in
> Philadelphia. Not
> >>>>>>>>>>> when I do an abstract analysis, but when I go concretely
> into
> >>>>>>>>>>> the nitty-gritty details of everyday life in the schools.
> >>>>>>>>>>> Cheers,
> >>>>>>>>>>> Michael
> >>>>>>>>>>> On 31-Aug-08, at 8:07 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:
> >>>>>>>>>>> Oh Gosh, Micahel I thought we were going to have a good
> ol'
> >>>>>>>>>>> flame! :) and I was just getting started.
> >>>>>>>>>>> OK. As I said, I will study those quotes, and their
> contexts,
> >>>>>>>>>>> where I can, and think some more about it, but I really
> don't
> >>>>>>>>>>> think I want to shift to "concrete cases" to clarify a
> >>>>>>>>>>> concept if the concept isn't clear at the start. That's
> just
> >>>>>>>>>>> not my style, if you know what I mean. I am not anywhere
> >>>>>>>>>>> saying that the work Leontyev and others have done with
> these
> >>>>>>>>>>> ideas is not perfectly good, valid science. But there
> *are*
> >>>>>>>>>>> problems, there *are* limts to the applicability of these
> >>>>>>>>>>> ideas, and I am exploring them.
> >>>>>>>>>>> More later, and thanks heaps for laying hold of those
> quote
> >>>>>>>>>>> and your explanations so speedily!
> >>>>>>>>>>> Andy
> >>>>>>>>>>> Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Hi Andy, After I sent off the mail I thought you might
> >>>>>>>>>>>> misunderstand. I do understand and know your
> background. I
> >>>>>>>>>>>> meant to say rather than discussing activity in the
> general,
> >>>>>>>>>>>> take a concrete one and talk about it. I meant discuss
> >>>>>>>>>>>> concrete cases. I think if you were to have taken a
> concrete
> >>>>>>>>>>>> case of activity from your experience and discussed
> activity
> >>>>>>>>>>>> in this situation some of the problems that appear when
> you
> >>>>>>>>>>>> discuss it in the abstract would not show up.
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Sorry for having written a message that could have been
> and
> >>>>>>>>>>>> was mistaken in its intention.
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Cheers,
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Michael
> >>>>>>>>>>>> On 31-Aug-08, at 7:41 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:
> >>>>>>>>>>>> C'mon Michael. I spent 30 years as a union activist
> >>>>>>>>>>>> transforming activity and thinking about what I was
> doing.
> >>>>>>>>>>>> At 62 I am now reflecting on that work. I don't need to
> be
> >>>>>>>>>>>> told to "go out" and put someone under my microscope and
> >>>>>>>>>>>> observe them.
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Andy
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Hi Andy, it is and is not a system of actions. Actions
> and
> >>>>>>>>>>>> activity stand in a constitutive relationship. There
> are no
> >>>>>>>>>>>> actions independent of activity and no activity
> independent
> >>>>>>>>>>>> of action. One of the problems that can arise is
> because---
> >>>>>>>>>>>> as we have done today----we talk about activity in the
> >>>>>>>>>>>> abstract, and this is what Marx didn't like about
> Hegel, we
> >>>>>>>>>>>> talk about ideal things, not about concrete sensual
> >>>>>>>>>>>> activity, which you only get when you analyze real
> activity
> >>>>>>>>>>>> rather than the idea of activity. I see you struggle with
> >>>>>>>>>>>> the idea, when what you should be doing is go out and
> study
> >>>>>>>>>>>> concrete activity. What you need to do is study concrete
> >>>>>>>>>>>> everyday activity, that is, actual cases where an
> activity
> >>>>>>>>>>>> realizes itself. And here you will find that people act
> but
> >>>>>>>>>>>> in the process concretize the activity in THIS rather
> than
> >>>>>>>>>>>> other possible ways. Their actions are not JUST actions,
> >>>>>>>>>>>> they are oriented toward the activity, which only comes
> >>>>>>>>>>>> about in and through the actions; yet the actions
> >>>>>>>>>>>> presuppose the activity that they realize.
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Cheers,
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Michael
> >>>>>>>>>>>> On 31-Aug-08, at 7:25 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Apologies. I sent two mails just to Michael instead of
> the
> >>>>>>>>>>>> list by mistake!
> >>>>>>>>>>>> I will think about this some more. "Activity" here
> means a
> >>>>>>>>>>>> system of actions which have a common societally-
> determined
> >>>>>>>>>>>> object, like the collective hunt in his famous example.
> But
> >>>>>>>>>>>> it seems to me that the idea of "activity" (in this
> sense)
> >>>>>>>>>>>> as a "unit of analysis" poses some problems.
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Andy
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Hi Andy, you can always identify structure, the question
> >>>>>>>>>>>> is whether you can understand it own its own or only in
> >>>>>>>>>>>> its relation to other structures. I think it is the
> >>>>>>>>>>>> latter. So even within the unit you can identify all
> sorts
> >>>>>>>>>>>> of things, but they are not independent and constitute
> >>>>>>>>>>>> each other. That is why Yrjö's website is a bit
> >>>>>>>>>>>> deceiving,
> >>>>>>>>>>>> because he talks about elements----I think the word
> >>>>>>>>>>>> appears 6 times----when Vygotsky and Leont'ev always talk
> >>>>>>>>>>>> about doing unit analysis. So there is structure, just
> >>>>>>>>>>>> that it cannot be understood independently of other
> >>>>>>>>>>>> structures, each of which is a one-sided expression of
> the
> >>>>>>>>>>>> unit, which is activity. Or so I read it.
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Michael
> >>>>>>>>>>>> On 31-Aug-08, at 6:55 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Well spotted, Michael.
> >>>>>>>>>>>> In that same paragraph he says: "activity is ... a system
> >>>>>>>>>>>> that has structure" so he is here referring to what might
> >>>>>>>>>>>> be called the "*system of* activity", as opposed to acts
> >>>>>>>>>>>> or operations, and actions - this entity that Robert
> >>>>>>>>>>>> explained to me is constituted as an entity by means of
> >>>>>>>>>>>> system-theoretic means.
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Is that right?
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Andy
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Hi Andy,
> >>>>>>>>>>>> I think he does say something that is at least very close
> >>>>>>>>>>>> to naming it unit analysis on p.50:
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Activity is a molar, not an additive unit of the life of
> >>>>>>>>>>>> the physical, material subject. In a narrower sense, that
> >>>>>>>>>>>> is, at the psychological level, it is a unit of
> >>>>>>>>>>>> life, mediated by psychic reflection, the real function
> of
> >>>>>>>>>>>> which is that it orients the subject in the objective
> >>>>>>>>>>>> world. In other words, activity is
> >>>>>>>>>>>> not a reaction and not a totality of reactions but a
> >>>>>>>>>>>> system that has structure, its own internal transitions
> >>>>>>>>>>>> and transformations, its own development.
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Where I would accentuate as follows:
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Activity is "a *unit of life*", "a system that has
> >>>>>>>>>>>> structure, *its own* internal transitions and
> >>>>>>>>>>>> transformations, *its own *development."
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Cheers,
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Michael
> >>>>>>>>>>>> On 31-Aug-08, at 6:27 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:
> >>>>>>>>>>>> OK, thanks for that Michael. I understand Tätigkeit, so
> >>>>>>>>>>>> that settles some questions, though not all.
> >>>>>>>>>>>> I have another question about Activity to add to these.
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Vygotsky, Davydov, Engstrom (to take just three) all talk
> >>>>>>>>>>>> about "unit of analysis", "germ-cell" or single instance
> >>>>>>>>>>>> (as in Pavolv's study of the reflex), but in the works of
> >>>>>>>>>>>> AN Leontyev that I have access to (on marxists.org
> <http://marxists.org>) he
> >>>>>>>>>>>> makes no reference to any of these terms. This seems not
> >>>>>>>>>>>> accidental to me actually. Can anyone clarify this?
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Did Leonteyv (a) think that "activity" passes as a "unit
> >>>>>>>>>>>> of analaysis", (b) disagree with the idea that a science
> >>>>>>>>>>>> should begin from a Unit of analysis, or (c) define
> >>>>>>>>>>>> subject-activity-object as the "unit of analysis
> >>>>>>>>>>>> somewhere?
> >>>>>>>>>>>> And I need citation, I'm afraid.
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Andy
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Hi Andy,
> >>>>>>>>>>>> it's not just the Russian. In German there is the
> >>>>>>>>>>>> parallel distinction between "Tätigkeit" (deiatel'nost')
> >>>>>>>>>>>> and Aktivität (aktivnost'). In the former there is an
> >>>>>>>>>>>> orientation----toward object/motive, which is not in the
> >>>>>>>>>>>> latter, and the former is oriented toward and a result
> >>>>>>>>>>>> of society (Gesellschaft), whereas the latter is not
> >>>>>>>>>>>> (necessarily). When Leont'ev is translated into German,
> >>>>>>>>>>>> you find the words Tätigkeit and the adjective
> >>>>>>>>>>>> "gesellschaftlich" (societal) whereas in English there
> >>>>>>>>>>>> is activity and social----and that has made all the
> >>>>>>>>>>>> difference, to quote Robert Frost.
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Cheers,
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Michael
> >>>>>>>>>>>> On 31-Aug-08, at 4:18 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:
> >>>>>>>>>>>> I wonder if our Russian speakers could indulge me again
> >>>>>>>>>>>> with a point of clarification. déjatel'nost' (or
> >>>>>>>>>>>> деятельность) is the Russian word for
> >>>>>>>>>>>> "activity".
> >>>>>>>>>>>> 1. I understand that in Russian the use of definite and
> >>>>>>>>>>>> indefeinite partcles (a and the) is rare, so in the
> >>>>>>>>>>>> title to AN Leontyev's famous book, does déjatel'nost'
> >>>>>>>>>>>> mean "an activity" or "activity" - with the connotation
> >>>>>>>>>>>> of substance that a word has in English if used without
> >>>>>>>>>>>> a or the. When we have "act, action and activity," is
> >>>>>>>>>>>> that third category the same word, déjatel'nost'?
> >>>>>>>>>>>> 2. déjatel'nost' can also be translated as "work". How
> >>>>>>>>>>>> strong is the connection between "work" and "activity"
> >>>>>>>>>>>> in the Russian mind when talking of "activity theory"?
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Does that sound like "work theory"? Or is this just like
> >>>>>>>>>>>> any ambiguous word. I mean, English speakers would not
> >>>>>>>>>>>> think that in this context "activity" referred to
> >>>>>>>>>>>> autonomous physiological processes, which can also be
> >>>>>>>>>>>> called "Activity". When "Theses on Feuerbach" is
> >>>>>>>>>>>> translated into Russian, can Russian readers see the
> >>>>>>>>>>>> diffrence between "work" and "activity"?
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Andy
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Andy Blunden 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
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Leont¹ev 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 Leont¹ev and figure out these
> >>>>>>>>>>>> constraints.
> >>>>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Regards,
> >>>>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>>>> --Bob Bracewell
> >>>>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>>>> On 8/29/08 1:24 PM, "Wolff-Michael Roth"
> >>>>>>>>>>>> <mroth@uvic.ca <mailto:mroth@uvic.ca>
> <mailto:mroth@uvic.ca <mailto: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
> <mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu>
> >>>>>>>>>>>> <mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu
> <mailto: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 Extensión y Comunicaciones
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Escuela de Psicología
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Av Vicuña Mackenna - 4860
> >>>>>>>>>>>> 7820436 Macul
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Santiago, Chile
> >>>>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Fono: 3544605
> >>>>>>>>>>>> Fax: 3544844
> >>>>>>>>>>>> e-mail: davidpreiss@uc.cl <mailto:davidpreiss@uc.cl>
> <mailto:davidpreiss@uc.cl <mailto: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 <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto: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
> >>>>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
> >>>>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
> >>>>>>>>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>>
> >>>>>>>>>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> >>>>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>>>> <
> >>>>>>>>>>>> winmail
> >>>>>>>>>>>> .dat>_______________________________________________
> >>>>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
> >>>>>>>>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>>
> >>>>>>>>>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> >>>>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
> >>>>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
> >>>>>>>>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>>
> >>>>>>>>>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> >>>>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
> >>>>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
> >>>>>>>>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto: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
> >>>>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
> >>>>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
> >>>>>>>>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto: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
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
> >>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
> >>>>>>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> >>>>>>>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> >>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
> >>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
> >>>>>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto: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
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
> >>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
> >>>>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto: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
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> _______________________________________________
> >>>>>> xmca mailing list
> >>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto: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
> >>>>
> >>>
> >>> _______________________________________________
> >>> xmca mailing list
> >>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> >>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> >>
> >>
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> xmca mailing list
> >> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> >> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > xmca mailing list
> > xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto: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
> Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden:
> http://www.marxists.org/admin/books/index.htm
>
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list
> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca

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Received on Thu Sep 4 21:10 PDT 2008

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