[xmca] Stetsenko paper

From: Andy Blunden (ablunden@mira.net)
Date: Wed Oct 26 2005 - 07:12:57 PDT

   I have just finished reading Ana's article. I see that I am going to
   be the first person to make a substantive comment. Which is a pity,
   because I think this article will be extremely challenging for the
   CHAT community, and I am really very much on the fringe of this
   community, an outsider really. I respect Ana a lot and I see the
   article as really internal to CHAT, so I am hesitant. Nevertheless, I
   actually think it is a very poor paper, and I cannot do other than
   state my opinion, and take the consequences.
   Firstly, at a very broad historical level, I agree that there are
   problems in the CHAT tradition that result from its origins relatively
   isolated in the Soviet Union. What Ana calls the extreme
   communitarianism, which affected even the most rebellious and genuine
   current within the USSR. On the other side, it should be noted that in
   the capitalist West, there developed Structuralism (eg Althusser) and
   even worse, Poststructuralism (Foucault, Butler, etc) - both these
   currents reflect a loss of subjectivity, i.e., agencyor
   self-determination, for the mass of the population. But this problem
   is expressed theoretically in opposite ways corrresponding to the
   different circumstances. The best interpretation I can place on Ana's
   paper is that it is aimed at overcoming the fact that CHAT has
   incorporated this particular form of discounting of subjectivity. But
   it needs to be remembered that this problem is by no means unique to
   the former socialist countries, even though it took a particular form
   there. It is important not to abandon the frying pan only to land in
   the fire.
   Secondly, I think Ana's approach to overcoming this problem, and
   recovering a notion of subjectivity, is mistaken. I think that Ana,
   while using the words of overcoming dualism and mentalism etc., and
   while letting go of the gains of Leontyev, Ilyenkov, Davydov, etc
   actually re-establishes dualism and mentalism, only different words
   are used.
   I think it would be useful to confine discussion to a narrow focus.
   Take Ana's triad: material production, inter-psychological processes
   and human subjectivity.
   "Inter-psychological processes" - this is a sixth sense? telepathy
   perhaps? Long live Habermas. We have direct communication between
   minds without mediation.
   "Human subjectivity" - as Ana explained at the outset, here were
   insert the word "subjectivity" to mean the psyche, neurophysical
   processes in the individual organism. I admit to having a personal
   motive in making this observation, as "subjectivity" is the central
   concept in my current work. To most contemporary (postmodern) writers
   this word "subjectivity" now does mean exactly as Ana uses it, as a
   synonym for consciousness understood in individualist, mentalist
   terms. I think it is an important concept and it would be a real pity
   if CHAT ditched the concept of subjectivity and used it as a synonym
   for mind.
   Consider also the repeated appeal to individual on one side, social on
   the other. So long as one bases oneself on such a dichotomy I can see
   no way of theorising it away.
   This view of the world is an absolute return to exactly what the
   founders of CHAT were trying to overcome, IMO. But there is a problem
   which Ana is trying to address and which needs to be addressed, but I
   don't think Ana has found the right approach.
   At 08:49 PM 24/10/2005 -0700, you wrote:

     I really appreciate Sasha putting Anna's paper on MSWord. This
     helps me a lot and maybe some others. I am sending along a
     slightly corrected file in MSWord in case others find it helpful.
     The file I am sending clocks in at 130Kb on my computer. I have
     corrected the problem with the missing words on page 18 (page 85 in
     the journal), fixed a misnumbering of the footnotes added in by
     MSWord magic, and fixed a few incorrect indentations and some other
     little noises created by transferring from Adobe to MSWord. The
     footnotes aren't all on the right pages, but that shouldn't matter
     for just reading. I would encourage people to use the Adobe
     version, if they can, if they plan to print out Anna's article or
     e-mail it to others. MSWord too easily gets confused, introduces
     errors, and is just not reliable. I personally like having
     articles like this in MSWord format that I want to study deeply,
     because it allows me to do creative note-taking and experiment with
     different "looks" at the text. But I certainly don't want versions
     of Anna's article that distort her writing or her intended
     formatting to get circulated on the web, and I know no one else on
     xmca does, either. One of the ironies of the internet is that one
     of the very things that gives it so much power, its ability to
     easily reproduce text, is also one of its great shortcomings - its
     ease at reproducing *incorrectly* reproduced text. And so it goes.
     I am very excited about Anna's article. I believe it is a valuable
     advancement of the discussion of many essential philosophical and
     methodological issues CHAT is grappling with.
     - Steve
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     Dichotomy of"
             (corrected).d= oc";
             x-mac-type== "42494E41"; x-mac-creator="4D535744"
     Content-Disposition: attachment;
             filename=&q= uot;Activity as Object-Related Resolving
             Dichotomy of (corrected).doc"
     xmca mailing list

   Andy Blunden, on behalf of the Victorian Peace Network, Phone (+61)
   03-9380 9435
   Alexander Surmava's Tour - September/October 2006


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