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Re: [xmca] Arne Raeithel's "genealogy"

I think there are a number of people on the list, Jonna, who are familiar with Habermas.

Habermas is the youngest of the 2nd generation of the Frankfurt School, elder stateman for the current generation. As per Frankfurt School traditions, Habermas did a lot of "immanent critique". This meant that, like Vygotsky in the 1920s, he trawls around the competing theories of the time, mining them for insights (well that's putting it very crudely, ok?). Among famous appropriations was his appropriation of Piaget, which I personally think was idiotic, leading to H's embrace of the biogenetic hypothesis and a rigid schema of historical development following a Piaget-type program.

Among H's many great contributions though was his Discourse Ethics, and all CHAT people should study this. His concept of the public sphere is also something we should all learn.

The significance of Discourse Ethics is that he replaces conceptions of objective truth knowable by rational thought, with a dialogic conception of truth, well actually of Right, not truth.

He is very old now and his current trajectory is to come into complete agreement with John Rawls.

The next generation of his followers are more interested in G H Mead rather than Piaget, which is of course a step forward in theory though backward in time. It is my cherished hope that the Franfurters will one day swallow their pride and read Vygtosky. There are millions of young Marxists out there waiting to be unleashed on Vygotsky if the Frankfurters were to suggest it.

As to H. being an Activity Theorist, no, but I included him in my diagram because I think his Discourse Ethics set the Fransfurt School on to a course which leads to CHAT. The fact that many of them are still Marxists gives added reason for hope.

My main beef, as I have said earlier, is that Habermas sees no role for the concept of mediation, seeing culture as a kind of resource which can be drawn upon. Here is an article on the question of why followers of Habermas should read Vygotsky:


and a review of Habermas's most recent book:


Hope that helps.

Jonna Kangasoja wrote:
Dear all,

I would be especially interested if someone could say something
(anything) about the influence/role of Habermas in the picture. I am
working nowadyas with (urban) planning theorists, to whom Habermas is
a very central, although contested figure. Most of my colleagues have
never heard of Activity Theory, and the one's who have, regard present
day Activity Theorists as 'Habermasian' - I am not sure if this is
quite the way to put it, or at least I never thought Habermas to be
very central in e.g. Engestöm's theory - does anyone have any comments
on this?

best, Jonna

2009/11/9 Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>:
I've been thinking ... What these diagrams lack is any information about why
a writer is included and what they contributed to CHAT. Would anyone on the
list like to put their hand up to write a paragraph (max 100 words probably)
on a writer on the diagram explaining their contribution to CHAT and their
sources? I would be happy to collate them and fix the essays to hyperlinks
on the names of each writer? ... if others do most of the writing ... then
the diagram might be genuinely useful.


Andy Blunden wrote:
Mmmmm. I didn't sign up for an intellecual map of the universe here! The
French Revolution produced a mass of political theory of course, but also,
it is widely regarded as the inspiration for Classical German Philosophy,
which is one of our sources.

World War One?  I don't know, but I have thought in the past that what
Vygotsky called "The Crisis in Psychology", viz., the myriad of conflicting
currents in psychology suddenly contesting each other after WW1, was some
kind of reaction to WW1 and the Russian Revolution.

The Reformation and the Industrial Revolution deserve mention somewhere
too, in the atlas of ideas. ...


mike cole wrote:
Hmmmmm, like the French revolution or world war I for example?

On Sun, Nov 8, 2009 at 4:18 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
<mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

   Both Arne's and mine are listed on
   http://lchc.ucsd.edu/MCA/Paper/index.html and both are in that
   directory. I too would be interested in seeing some other versions.
   Something might emerge out of the crowd.

   It is interesting isn't that it is a quite small number of ... what
   do you say? ... millieux? events? movements? which produced the main
   ideas, via a whole mass of individual writers.


   mike cole wrote:

       I think your pictured genealogy is interesting, Andy. I thought
       Arne's was too, and I a sure others can make interesting
       modifications. If anyone could do this in three D it could get
       really fascinating.

       Part of what makes for the partiality of any such attempt is the
       position of the creator. Arne was a radical cultural historical
       cognitive scientist of the
       70's-90's (roughly), an importatant odd hybrid and unusually
       nice guy.
       Maturana, who is on his list, with Varela, were central figures
       on bringing
       dynamic systems into the discussion but you do not know about
       him just
       as many of us do not know some of the figures you name, and the
       connections such as Dilthey-Wundt or Mead-Dilthey-American
       pragmatism are poorly known altogether, but fascinating (to me!)
       in their implications.

       And, of course, the historical events that various of us might
       highlight as
       most relevant are going to vary as well.

       Thanks for the new tool to think with. I'll try to get Arne's
       genealogy put
       up where yours is and perhaps others will contribute from their

       On Sun, Nov 8, 2009 at 6:42 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
       <mailto:ablunden@mira.net> <mailto:ablunden@mira.net
       <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>> wrote:

          Well, here's my shot at it:
          I have tried to deal with your very valid point, Martin, that
       it is
          more the milieux than individuals, but I have also just omitted
          billion possible arrows so it is readable. It needs more than
          person to do this.

          Martin Packer wrote:

              My question about the map is what the links represent.
              all, one scientist or philosopher may accept the ideas or
              another, or react against them, or modify them, or
              them. Seems to me each of these is a different link. Also,
              family tree indicates two parents for every progeny, where
              Arne's genealogy seemingly shows spontaneous generation -
              figure alone can produce another. And wouldn't we want to
       have a
              way to map the milieus within which people were working?
              something along the lines of the social fields that
       Bourdieu was
              fond of sketching, but with an added historical dimension.


              On Nov 4, 2009, at 1:44 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:

                  To tell the truth Louise, there are a couple of names I
                  don't know and half a dozen I know so little about I
                  know why they're included ... or not. Two of the three
                  "outcomes" are people who think humans are a type of
                  computer, so I am not surpised that this genealogy is
       odd to
                  me. But there is sooooo much out there. So much to
       read. :(

                  Up till a few weeks ago I thought that starting with
                  Descartes was not justified, but I take that back
       now. But
                  somehow, Rene's nemesis, Aristotle, needs to be
       included as

                  I don't know anything about Vico, but I find Locke,
                  and Leibniz to be rather peripheral to *our* story.

                  Kant certainly deserves an important place, but I
       think his
                  nemesis, Goethe, may be more important for us.

                  Fichte is actually the inventor of Activity as a
                  philosophical concept (I just learnt that Hegel asked
       to be
                  buried next to Fichte; like Goethe, very under
       recognized in
                  the Anglophone world).

                  Hegel is the inventor of Cultural Psychology, so
       agreed there.

                  I think Stirner and Mach are total diversions from our
                  tradition. But maybe someone can explain to me their

                  Wundt and Dilthey are important, though I don't know
       them well.

                  Feuerbach is a bit of a footnote, but if you're going
                  have Feuerbach, you've gotta have Moses Hess, author of
                  "Philosophy of the Deed", and inspiration for "Theses
                  Feuerbach". Of course if you think Frege, Russell and
                  are important to the genealogy of CHAT, then you
                  want Hess.

                  MARX, obviously, in CAPS.

                  And I would have lines from a whole bunch of people
       going to
                  Dewey, as well as Peirce and Mead, but even though
                  was the elder, I don't think you can give him such
                  Dewey surely was the leader. Arguable.

                  And where are the Gestaltists? Again, not for computer
                  cognition, but there needs to be lines between Goethe
                  Kant and then to von Ehrenfels, and on to Koehler and

                  Russian linguists like Potebnya, but I don't know
       where they
                  came from.

                  And these threads are all tied together with LS
       Vygotsky, yes?

                  Freud has to be mentioned (I forget his sources), with
                  arrows to Luria. And after Vygotsky and Luria you
       have ANL
                  and thus to present day people,

                  I guess, you can't leave out Piaget, and I don't know
                  Piaget's sources.

                  I know some people rate Merleau-Ponty, but if you're
                  to give Merleau-Pony a seat, you have to put in
       Lukacs and
                  Horkheimer. I guess Habermas for discourse ethics, etc.

                  I have no idea why Husserl and Heidegger get a
       mention. I my
                  humble opinion, as clever as they might be, their
       impact on
                  Activity Theory has only been negative.

                  I have no idea why Bergson is mentioned: was he a
       source for
                  Piaget? Don't know why Nietzsche is there.
       Interesting guy,
                  but so are many others. Why von Uexhill?

                  I agree that Wittgenstein rates a mention, though I
                  know how much of a source he has been for us. He is
                  kind of version of Activity Theory.

                  Frege, Russell and Turing are nothing to do with
       CHAT. What
                  about anthropologists??

                  Never heard of Maturana.

                  That's my reaction,


                  Louise Hawkins wrote:

                      I remember seeing this diagram a number of years
                      and I found it useful as a big picture diagram to
       get my
                      head around the significant theorist.
                      Louise Hawkins
                      Lecturer - School of Management & Information
                      Faculty Business & Informatics
                      Building 19/Room 3.38
                      Rockhampton Campus
                      Ph: +617 4923 2768
                      Fax: +617 4930 9729
                       -----Original Message-----
                      From: Andy Blunden [mailto:ablunden@mira.net
       <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>] Sent: Wednesday, 4 November
                      2009 01:05 PM
                      To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
                      Subject: [xmca] Arne Raeithel's "genealogy"

                      I never found this map very useful to be honest.
                      mike cole wrote:

                          Have you found Arne Raeithel's "genealogy" of
                          cultural-historical, activity theory thinkers
                          several years back. I am sure it is somewhere
                          lchc.ucsd.edu <http://lchc.ucsd.edu>
                          <http://lchc.ucsd.edu>. Perhaps you (and Andy,
                          and.....) could update it with
                          more detail. Hegel generated so much that has
                          "laundered" by subsequent "original" thinkers
                          totally amazing, and ditto Mead (whose writings
                          know far better, although very inadequately).

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                  Andy Blunden http://www.erythrospress.com/
                  Classics in Activity Theory: Hegel, Leontyev,
                  Ilyenkov $20 ea

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          Andy Blunden http://www.erythrospress.com/
          Classics in Activity Theory: Hegel, Leontyev, Meshcheryakov,
          Ilyenkov $20 ea

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   Andy Blunden http://www.erythrospress.com/
   Classics in Activity Theory: Hegel, Leontyev, Meshcheryakov,
   Ilyenkov $20 ea

Andy Blunden http://www.erythrospress.com/
Classics in Activity Theory: Hegel, Leontyev, Meshcheryakov, Ilyenkov $20 ea

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Andy Blunden http://www.erythrospress.com/
Classics in Activity Theory: Hegel, Leontyev, Meshcheryakov, Ilyenkov $20 ea

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