Re: [xmca] motive/project

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at>
Date: Thu Dec 18 2008 - 18:34:06 PST

The problem is that "use" carries with it a more restricted
sense, Geoff. If I sing to my beloved while standing outside
in the rain, in what sense am I "using" something? There is
a school of thinking that would say, it makes me feel nice
to be wooing my beloved, therefore I am using her to make me
feel nice. But all that is really bankrupt, isn't it? We
have to get into the idea of romance and find in the
figuring of the world according to a concept of romance, a
set of motives, which motivate the series of related
practices which make up the universe of romantic activity.
"Use" applies OK only to a resicted sense of motivation.


Geoff wrote:
> Mike, the problem that I was thinking of was that of motive and need.
> It seems that we're trying to shoe-horn a reductive concept into a
> relational phenomenon. It seems to me that Andy is searching for a
> locus-of-control within the 'psychology' of humans; what/why do we do?
> The reason I suggested 'use' was that it opens up the idea that
> humans are constructed socially and that why we respond is social too.
> To use anything requires a match between the subjective and objective
> realms. I'd argue that agency is such a resolution. We are
> historically defined proto-agents that require an opportunity to act,
> before we can in fact act. If motive is useful (pardon the pun) it is
> to alert us to the fact that our habitus predisposes us to act and
> react in particular ways. The things that we find useful motivate us.
> Geoff
> 2008/12/18 Mike Cole <>:
>> David and Geoff--- This is one of the times on XMCA where I am having
>> difficulty reconstructing the flow of the ideas.
>> Geoff: Does "use" help what problem?
>> David: I will go directly to read the section of T*S you cite. Uznadze's
>> ideas
>> are usually translated as "set" (Russian: Ustanovka). Set = Wurzburgian
>> idea of "determining tendency."
>> I am also puzzling over this statement: His criticism is that the "goal" of
>> a particular experimental task (he has in mind the work of Uznadze) is
>> identical for the child and for the adult, so the goal/motive cannot explain
>> the very different ways they conceptualize the task and carry it out.
>> 1. goal/motive? But I thought they were at different levels of
>> analysis?
>> 2. What warrants the claim that the goal/motive (whatever that means)
>> is
>> identical for child and adult?
>> 3. Especially because they conceptualize the task differently?
>> The standard definition of a task in American cog sci is "a goal and
>> constaints on achieving it"). So goal does not equal task, at least from
>> this perspective.
>> I am not defending any particular position here, I am just plain puzzled.
>> Off to read LSV.
>> mike
>> What it?
>> On Wed, Dec 17, 2008 at 1:09 PM, Geoff <> wrote:
>>> Does the word "use" help resolve this problem? It evokes individual
>>> activity, tools, signs and meaning. It can also be used to define the
>>> boundaries of an activity system - those that use it and those that
>>> don't. (I'm thinking here of Bourdieu's Fields). It also helps to
>>> understand dysfunction by noting that schema that were once useful,
>>> perhaps as a child, are no longer useful as an adult. Referring again
>>> to Bourdieu, habitus can be thought of as an internalised collection
>>> of activities that predispose us to particular use/acts. In this
>>> model, agency is a means of extending habitus through use.
>>> Geoff
>>> 2008/12/18 Mike Cole <>:
>>>> andy-- "need" is a term that I find no more or less elusive than
>>> "motive." I
>>>> feel this need for clarity but having had lunch I don't "want" more to
>>> eat,
>>>> but perhaps some sleep, perhaps to dream?
>>>> We cannot, can we, define needs in purely biological terms for humans.
>>>> Perhaps someone has already clarified this issue in the discussion, but I
>>>> missed it. In which case, just point.
>>>> No need to reply right away. :-))
>>>> mike
>>>> On Tue, Dec 16, 2008 at 6:23 PM, Andy Blunden <> wrote:
>>>>> The supposition that for ANL needs define activities is provisional. He
>>>>> hints at this sometimes. At other times, he says that he does not have a
>>>>> "unit of analysis" for activity. Either way, if we are to continue in
>>> the
>>>>> scientific tradition of Goethe, Hegel, Marx and Vygotsky, we need a
>>> "unit of
>>>>> analysis," i.e., a concept of, "activity."
>>>>> Andy
>>>>> Steve Gabosch wrote:
>>>>>> No, I don't think you have the idea quite right. The idea is not that
>>>>>> needs "define" activities. The idea is that unlike other animals, who
>>> are
>>>>>> biologically driven throughout their activities, when humans respond to
>>>>>> their needs, they engage in activities that transform nature, their
>>> social
>>>>>> relations, social structures, cultures, and themselves individually,
>>>>>> creating new needs in the process. Human biological needs become at
>>> once
>>>>>> transformed into social needs, meditated by culture, history, tools,
>>> signs,
>>>>>> ideology, language, architecture, public works systems. Leontiev took
>>> his
>>>>>> discoveries about the basic structure of activity in animals - the ways
>>> they
>>>>>> engage their bodies and psyches with nature to fulfill their needs -
>>> and
>>>>>> came up with his activity/motive, action/goal, condition/operation
>>>>>> framework. He then tried to find ways to use this activity concept to
>>>>>> elaborate on and extend the ideas of first generation CHAT, and that is
>>> kind
>>>>>> of where we are at today.
>>>>>> This unit of analysis problem has been on my mind, too. There may be
>>>>>> methodological problems with the concept 'unit of analysis' in some of
>>> the
>>>>>> ways we have been conceptualizing it so far. Perhaps the 'molecule'
>>> and/or
>>>>>> 'cell' of social science does not look the molecule and cell of natural
>>>>>> science.
>>>>>> - Steve
>>>>>> On Dec 16, 2008, at 4:52 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:
>>>>>> The only trouble I have with the claim that "human needs directly and
>>>>>>> indirectly drive human activity" is that it is a truism. My problem,
>>> as you
>>>>>>> mention, is what is the "unit of analysis" of activity, or what is
>>> *an*
>>>>>>> activity, as opposed to "activity." The idea that "an activity" is
>>> defined
>>>>>>> by "a need" (if this is indeed what is suggested) is that problems of
>>>>>>> sociology begin from an inventory of human needs: what is x for? x is
>>> for
>>>>>>> this. what is y for? y is for that.
>>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>>> Steve Gabosch wrote:
>>>>>>>> Andy, I am been puzzled by your problem with the idea that human
>>> needs
>>>>>>>> directly, and indirectly, drive human activity.
>>>>>>>> You've been bringing up this issue in recent weeks and I thought that
>>>>>>>> maybe the problem was over an individual versus collective problem,
>>> or
>>>>>>>> perhaps over the problem of how to differentiate an activity from an
>>>>>>>> activity system, and then from a social system, or just how to
>>> separate "an"
>>>>>>>> activity out of many.
>>>>>>>> But your message here seems to say you have a problem with the idea
>>> of
>>>>>>>> **need**. You seem to be objecting to the idea that human activities
>>> are
>>>>>>>> essentially motivated by needs. Are you?
>>>>>>>> I would use the term "need" in statements like: the need for
>>> survival
>>>>>>>> drove pre-humans to develop social production, creating a new way to
>>> meet
>>>>>>>> human needs, which in turn laid the basis for creating many new kinds
>>> of
>>>>>>>> needs as society developed ... different social classes have
>>> different
>>>>>>>> needs, and that is the basis of social conflict, including wars ...
>>> human
>>>>>>>> need lies at the bottom of the human struggle for existence, control
>>> of
>>>>>>>> nature, and society itself ...
>>>>>>>> I know you know that statements like these are Marxist sociology 101,
>>> so
>>>>>>>> I don't mean to lecture on the obvious ... but if "need" is not at
>>> the
>>>>>>>> bottom of human motivation and activity, then what is? Is this a
>>>>>>>> terminological issue, or something more basic?
>>>>>>>> - Steve
>>>>>>>> On Dec 16, 2008, at 3:53 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:
>>>>>>>>> Thank you for that collection of excerpts Haydi. As I read them,
>>> they
>>>>>>>>> confirm what I said, that for ANL, a "system of activity" is defined
>>> by
>>>>>>>>> directly or indirectly meeting a human need. ANL does say that
>>> production
>>>>>>>>> produces not only objects, but also produces new needs, but this
>>> does not
>>>>>>>>> resolve the matter in my view. Unless you accept that society is
>>> either
>>>>>>>>> planned and adaministered by the central committee to meet human
>>> needs, or
>>>>>>>>> naturally evolved to both meet and produce human needs then this
>>> cannot be
>>>>>>>>> believed.
>>>>>>>>> The latter interpretation sounds plausible enough, in fact it's a
>>>>>>>>> truism, but I don't see that it helps. For example, take war. If we
>>> set out
>>>>>>>>> from the idea that war is an activity meeting a human need, where
>>> does that
>>>>>>>>> leave us? how does it help us with psychology? Take anything - the
>>> Church,
>>>>>>>>> MacDonald's, News Limited, domestic violence, ... all we are going
>>> to end up
>>>>>>>>> with is a crass funcitonalism.
>>>>>>>>> I don't deny at all that a psychology can be built on this
>>> foundation,
>>>>>>>>> but it cannot, in my view, be taken seriously as a sociology.
>>>>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>>>>> Haydi Zulfei wrote:
>>>>>>>>>> Dear all,
>>>>>>>>>> We are being asked "What is *an* activity/*a* motive?"
>>>>>>>>>> I thought some of us at least need more reading than interpretation
>>> .
>>>>>>>>>> I had to once more go from beginning to end of *A,C,P* and collect
>>>>>>>>>> whatever might more or less be related to these questions .
>>>>>>>>>> Half the job being done now .
>>>>>>>>>> Delete if you don't want to share . No way but to put it in an
>>>>>>>>>> attachment . Hope David kellog will have time to have a glance at
>>> it without
>>>>>>>>>> adding to my previously-loaded task.
>>>>>>>>>> Best
>>>>>>>>>> Haydi
>>>>>>>>>> --- On Mon, 12/15/08, Andy Blunden <> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>> From: Andy Blunden <>
>>>>>>>>>> Subject: Re: [xmca] motive/project
>>>>>>>>>> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
>>>>>>>>>> Date: Monday, December 15, 2008, 10:25 PM
>>>>>>>>>> I think, Monica, you hit the nail on the head here, from the
>>>>>>>>>> psychological point
>>>>>>>>>> of view. On the sociological side, the problem, as I see it, with
>>>>>>>>>> Michael's
>>>>>>>>>> explanation is that not only does the pupil not know the motive of
>>>>>>>>>> schooling,
>>>>>>>>>> but nor does the teacher or the sociologist!
>>>>>>>>>> In a world where people know about agency and structure and such
>>>>>>>>>> terms, does it
>>>>>>>>>> make any sense to ascribe a 'motive' to an institution, outside of
>>> a
>>>>>>>>>> managed society like the USSR in which Leontyev lived?
>>>>>>>>>> But on the other side, Michael, I think you are right as against
>>>>>>>>>> David, because
>>>>>>>>>> "sleeping" is not Tätigkeit in the sense in which Leonytev means
>>> it.
>>>>>>>>>> He explicitly means "purpose actvity", or "doing" or
>>>>>>>>>> "practice," as I read it. Not just physiological movement. The
>>>>>>>>>> activity of an individual is *participation* is *a* (social)
>>> activity.
>>>>>>>>>> But what
>>>>>>>>>> is *an* activity, and how can it have a "motive," as Monica asks,
>>>>>>>>>> separately from the motives of individuals.
>>>>>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>>>>>> Monica Hansen wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>> ...
>>>>>>>>>>> Using the term 'motive' for the objective, goal, or aim of
>>>>>>>>>> schooling as
>>>>>>>>>>> cultural reproduction (or transmission) is misplaced here.
>>> Motivation
>>>>>>>>>>> has
>>>>>>>>>>> something to do with individual agency, doesn't it? It cannot be
>>>>>>>>>> forced from
>>>>>>>>>>> the outside with 100% effectiveness. When trying to get an idea of
>>>>>>>>>>> what
>>>>>>>>>>> motivates the individual to engage in or become a participant in
>>> an
>>>>>>>>>> activity
>>>>>>>>>>> that will change the level of his or her conceptual thinking we
>>> have
>>>>>>>>>>> to
>>>>>>>>>>> understand the individual's motivation.
>>>>>>>>>>> Mandating the goal of learning from the outside as in defining the
>>>>>>>>>> objective
>>>>>>>>>>> of schooling and trying to force participation gives us mixed
>>>>>>>>>>> results,
>>>>>>>>>> does
>>>>>>>>>>> it not? Can you really force conceptual development? Isn't that
>>> the
>>>>>>>>>> problem?
>>>>>>>>>>> We can only use external motivations so far in pushing
>>> intellectual
>>>>>>>>>>> development?
>>>>>>>>>>> Monica
>>>>>>>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>>>>>>>> From: [mailto:
>>>>>>>>>>>] On
>>>>>>>>>>> Behalf Of Wolff-Michael Roth
>>>>>>>>>>> Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 8:08 AM
>>>>>>>>>>> To:; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>>>>>>>>> Cc:
>>>>>>>>>>> Subject: Re: [xmca] motive/project
>>>>>>>>>>> HI David and others,
>>>>>>>>>>> I have repeatedly emphasized in my writings that the problem lies
>>> in
>>>>>>>>>>> part
>>>>>>>>>> in the English term 'activity', which collapses the German
>>> Tätigkeit
>>>>>>>>>> and Aktivität into one, unfortunately, because it also gives rise
>>> to
>>>>>>>>>> problems
>>>>>>>>>> with motives. I think if you think about what children do as
>>> 'tasks'
>>>>>>>>>> and that these tasks are completed as part of the activity
>>>>>>>>>> 'schooling',
>>>>>>>>>> which has as motive the reproduction (transmission...) of
>>> collective
>>>>>>>>>> knowledge
>>>>>>>>>> then you are getting closer.
>>>>>>>>>>> But children often don't even know the goals, in fact, because of
>>> the
>>>>>>>>>> 'learning paradox', cannot know the goals of the task. This is no
>>>>>>>>>> more
>>>>>>>>>> clear than in the frequent student question, 'teacher, am I write
>>> so
>>>>>>>>>> far?' Students CANNOT intend the very thing that they are asked
>>> to,
>>>>>>>>>> namely
>>>>>>>>>> learn a concept. To be able to orient themselves intentionally to
>>> the
>>>>>>>>>> concept,
>>>>>>>>>> they need to know it, but if they already know it, they don't have
>>> to
>>>>>>>>>> orient toward learning it.
>>>>>>>>>>> Holzkamp has a lot to say about this, and he describes those
>>> things
>>>>>>>>>>> in
>>>>>>>>>> "Lernen: Subkjektwissenschaftliche Grundlegung" (Frankfurt:
>>> Campus).
>>>>>>>>>>> If anyone has implemented Leont'ev's program, it certainly is
>>>>>>>>>> Holzkamp.
>>>>>>>>>>> By the way, further to motive, the German edition of Activity,
>>>>>>>>>> Consciousness, Personality has an additional chapter where Leont'ev
>>>>>>>>>> explicitly addresses questions of learning in schools, motives,
>>> etc.
>>>>>>>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>>>>>>>> Michael
>>>>>>>>>>> On 15-Dec-08, at 7:32 AM, David Kellogg wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>> Mike, Steve:
>>>>>>>>>>> Like you, I am thoroughly befuddled by the word "motive", and
>>>>>>>>>> I've decided that applied to children in general and to child play
>>> in
>>>>>>>>>> particular it is anachronistic; children do not yet have "motives"
>>> in the
>>>>>>>>>> sense that Leontiev is talking about here. Last week we had thesis
>>>>>>>>>> defenses, and I took mild exception to a thesis which tried to
>>>>>>>>>> ascertain
>>>>>>>>>> changes in "motives" for learning English in children by the use
>>> of
>>>>>>>>>> Likert-style questionnaires. (My mild exception to these theses is
>>>>>>>>>> really
>>>>>>>>>> pro-forma, and a matter of tradition in our department; nobody
>>> ever
>>>>>>>>>> fails as a
>>>>>>>>>> result.)
>>>>>>>>>>> I notice that LSV (at the beginnning of Chapter Seven of Mind in
>>>>>>>>>>> Society,
>>>>>>>>>> which I don't have with me just now) talks about the child's
>>> "needs"
>>>>>>>>>> and "desires". These he defines "broadly"
>>>>>>>>>> as "whatever induces the child to act". If he were going to
>>> proceed
>>>>>>>>>> to construct a Leontiev-like tristratal theory of activity, this
>>>>>>>>>> would lead to something circular: a motive is what drives the child
>>> to act,
>>>>>>>>>> and action is
>>>>>>>>>> defined by its motive.
>>>>>>>>>>> Let me first take a look at Leontiev, A.N. (1979, 1981). The
>>> problem
>>>>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>>>> activity in psychology. In Wertsch, J.V. (ed.) The concept of
>>>>>>>>>> activity in
>>>>>>>>>> Soviet psychology. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.
>>>>>>>>>>> On p. 48, ANL's got this:
>>>>>>>>>>> "The basic characteristic of activity is its object orientation.
>>> The
>>>>>>>>>> expression 'nonobjective activity' is devoid of sense. Activity may
>>>>>>>>>> seem to be without object orientation, but scientific investigation
>>> of it
>>>>>>>>>> necessarily requires discovery of its object."
>>>>>>>>>>> Already I'm in trouble. Scientific investigation is sometimes
>>>>>>>>>> required to discover the object orientation of an activity (e.g.
>>>>>>>>>> sleep, whose
>>>>>>>>>> object orientation we still do not really understand but which
>>> will
>>>>>>>>>> presumably
>>>>>>>>>> be discovered some day).
>>>>>>>>>>> But people who do not have the training or the time or the
>>>>>>>>>>> inclination
>>>>>>>>>> can and do conceptualize activities such as sleep or language play
>>> or
>>>>>>>>>> daydreaming. They conceptualize these activities as being without
>>> any
>>>>>>>>>> tangible
>>>>>>>>>> object. Why would an expression that refers to this everyday
>>>>>>>>>> non-scientific
>>>>>>>>>> conception be devoid of sense? Are non-scientific expressions
>>> devoid
>>>>>>>>>> of sense?
>>>>>>>>>>> OK, then ANL argues that the object of an activity emerges "in two
>>>>>>>>>> ways: first and foremost in its dependent existence as
>>> subordinating
>>>>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>>>>> transforming the subject's activity, and secondly as the mental
>>> image
>>>>>>>>>> of the
>>>>>>>>>> object, as the product of the subject's detecting its properties.
>>>>>>>>>> This
>>>>>>>>>> detection can take place only through the subject's activity."
>>>>>>>>>>> Presumably he's talking about the way in which scientific
>>>>>>>>>> investigation determines the object orientation of an activity, and
>>>>>>>>>> not the
>>>>>>>>>> everyday non-scientific detection of the object (which I think of
>>> as
>>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>>> ethnomethodological motive, the one that participants are
>>> conscious
>>>>>>>>>> of). But
>>>>>>>>>> empirically both methods are the same: they take place through
>>>>>>>>>> examining the
>>>>>>>>>> activity of the subject with the detectionof an object in mind.
>>>>>>>>>>> On p. 49 he's got this: "All activity has a looplike structure:
>>>>>>>>>> afferentationàeffector processes, which make contact with the
>>> object
>>>>>>>>>> environmentàcorrection and enrichment, with the help of feedback to
>>> the
>>>>>>>>>> initial afferent image."
>>>>>>>>>>> This suggests to me that PERCEPTION is in some sense the
>>> archetypical
>>>>>>>>>> activity. That would explain the OBJECT orientation! But it is
>>> going
>>>>>>>>>> to mean
>>>>>>>>>> big problems when Leontiev tries to explain play, because as LSV
>>>>>>>>>> remarks, play
>>>>>>>>>> is precisely the moment when children tear their meaningful
>>>>>>>>>> orientation away
>>>>>>>>>> from the perception of tangible objects. (Yes, Lewin and Lewin's
>>>>>>>>>> "field of action" is a big part of this, and with respect to the
>>>>>>>>>> child and the stone LSV is clearly closer to Lewin than to ANL!).
>>>>>>>>>>> Maybe there's a way out, though. ANL then argues that the crucial
>>>>>>>>>> problem here is not the loop itself but rather that mental images
>>> are
>>>>>>>>>> not
>>>>>>>>>> produced directly but rather through practical activity in the
>>> world:
>>>>>>>>>>> "This means that the 'afferent agent' that directs activity
>>>>>>>>>> is primarily the object itself and only secondarily its image as a
>>>>>>>>>> subjective
>>>>>>>>>> product of activity that fixes, stabilizes and assimilates its
>>> object
>>>>>>>>>> content.
>>>>>>>>>> In other words, a twofold transition takes place: the transition
>>> from
>>>>>>>>>> object to
>>>>>>>>>> the process of activity and the transition from activity to
>>>>>>>>>> subjective product
>>>>>>>>>> of activity. But the transition of the process into a product
>>> takes
>>>>>>>>>> place not
>>>>>>>>>> just form the subject's point of view; it occurs more clearly from
>>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>>> point of view of the object that is transformed by human
>>> activity."
>>>>>>>>>>> Hmmm. When a child picks up a stick and decides to play horsie the
>>>>>>>>>> transformation occurs more clearly from the point of view of the
>>>>>>>>>> stick (or from
>>>>>>>>>> the point of view of the horse-play) than from the point of view
>>> of
>>>>>>>>>> the child.
>>>>>>>>>> This does look a little sticky.
>>>>>>>>>>> On p. 50, ANL explicitly goes against LSV's portrayal of
>>>>>>>>>> "needs" and "desires" as "anything that motivates the
>>>>>>>>>> child to act". He differentiates between desire as a precondition
>>> of
>>>>>>>>>> activity and "desire as a factor that guides and regulates the
>>>>>>>>>> agent's
>>>>>>>>>> concrete activity in the object environment". Only the latter is
>>> the
>>>>>>>>>> object of psychology.
>>>>>>>>>>> OK, now let me turn to the only text I can find where ANL really
>>> goes
>>>>>>>>>> into play, which is a later chapter of his book "Problems of the
>>>>>>>>>> Development of Mind".
>>>>>>>>>>> On p. 366 he begins with the rather startling statement that play
>>> has
>>>>>>>>>>> no
>>>>>>>>>> object (and thus by his previous account does not constitute an
>>>>>>>>>> activity). He
>>>>>>>>>> says:
>>>>>>>>>>> "Satisfaction of its vital needs is actually still distinct from
>>> the
>>>>>>>>>> results of its activity: a child's activity does not determine and
>>>>>>>>>> essentially cannot determine satisfaction of its need for food
>>> warmth etc.
>>>>>>>>>> Characteristic of it, therefore is a wide range of activity that
>>>>>>>>>> satisfies
>>>>>>>>>> needs which are unrelated to its objective result."
>>>>>>>>>>> Curiously, he then uses "object" activity to differentiate human
>>>>>>>>>> from animal play!
>>>>>>>>>>> "Where does the specific difference between animals' play activity
>>>>>>>>>> and play, the rudimentary forms of which we first observe in
>>>>>>>>>> preschool
>>>>>>>>>> children, consist in? It lies in the fact that it is not
>>> instinctive
>>>>>>>>>> activity
>>>>>>>>>> but it is precisely human, object activity which by constituting
>>> the
>>>>>>>>>> basis of
>>>>>>>>>> the child's awareness of the world of human objects, determines
>>> the
>>>>>>>>>> content
>>>>>>>>>> of its play."
>>>>>>>>>>> Now this is starting to look suspiciously like the thesis I mildly
>>>>>>>>>> objected to last week, where the adult's attitudes are simply
>>>>>>>>>> projected
>>>>>>>>>> onto the child and then "detected" using Likert scales. On pp.
>>>>>>>>>> 367-368, ANL develops his thesis that play is a substitute for the
>>>>>>>>>> handling of
>>>>>>>>>> adult objects. So for example on p. 368 ANL speaks of "let me" and
>>>>>>>>>> "don't", the struggle between the adult who wants to protect the
>>>>>>>>>> child from himself and the child who wants to drive a car and row
>>> a
>>>>>>>>>> boat. This
>>>>>>>>>> leads, on p. 369, to the idea of a leading activity which is
>>> indeed
>>>>>>>>>> equivalent
>>>>>>>>>> to a neoformation without the crisis. He then returns
>>> uncomfortably
>>>>>>>>>> to his
>>>>>>>>>> nagging suspicion that that play is an activity without an object,
>>>>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>>>>> therefore not an activity at all.
>>>>>>>>>>> On p. 370, he's got this: "As we have already said, play is
>>>>>>>>>> characerized by its motive's lying in the process itself rather
>>> than
>>>>>>>>>> in the
>>>>>>>>>> result of the action. For a child playing with wooden bricks, for
>>>>>>>>>> example, the
>>>>>>>>>> motive for the play does not lie in building a structure, but in
>>> the
>>>>>>>>>> doing,
>>>>>>>>>> i.e. in the content of the action. That is true not only of the
>>>>>>>>>> preschool
>>>>>>>>>> child's play but also of any real game in general. 'Not to win but
>>> to
>>>>>>>>>> play' is the general formula of the motivation of play. In adult's
>>>>>>>>>> games, therefore in which winning rather than playing becomes the
>>>>>>>>>> inner motive,
>>>>>>>>>> the game as such ceased to be play."
>>>>>>>>>>> Contrast that with LSV's observation in Chapter Seven that
>>> children
>>>>>>>>>> do NOT like running around without any rules or goal, and in games
>>>>>>>>>> the meaning
>>>>>>>>>> of the game is entirely to win. Of course, we might be talking
>>> about
>>>>>>>>>> different
>>>>>>>>>> children: Leontiev might be talking about pre- schoolers, and LSV
>>> is
>>>>>>>>>> certainly
>>>>>>>>>> talking about school-age kids. But the gap is remarkable;
>>> something
>>>>>>>>>> rather
>>>>>>>>>> important is getting lept over.
>>>>>>>>>>> OK—so then ANL says that in play there is a mismatch between
>>>>>>>>>>> operation
>>>>>>>>>> and action, in that the operation is performed with the meaning of
>>>>>>>>>> the stick
>>>>>>>>>> and the action is performed with its sense. He says that this
>>> split
>>>>>>>>>> is not
>>>>>>>>>> given in advance but only arises in play action and that children
>>> do
>>>>>>>>>> not
>>>>>>>>>> imagine play without actually playing. If this were true, of
>>> course,
>>>>>>>>>> it would
>>>>>>>>>> be very hard to see how children are able to plan play, read about
>>>>>>>>>> it, or
>>>>>>>>>> reflect upon it, much less day-dream or indulge in language play.
>>>>>>>>>>> No, this isn't going to work. And it gets worse. Look at this,
>>> from
>>>>>>>>>> p. 381:
>>>>>>>>>>> "Games 'with rules' i.e. like hide and seek, table games,
>>>>>>>>>> etc. differ sharply from such 'role' games as playing doctor,
>>> polar
>>>>>>>>>> explorer, etc. They do not seem to be related to one another by
>>> any
>>>>>>>>>> genetic succession and seem to constitute different lines in the
>>> devleopment
>>>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>>>> children's play, but in fact the one form develops from other
>>> (sic)
>>>>>>>>>> by virtue
>>>>>>>>>> of a need inherent in the child's play activity itself (?),
>>> whereby
>>>>>>>>>> games
>>>>>>>>>> 'with rules' arise at a later stage."
>>>>>>>>>>> So ANL explicitly denies that whole discussion (in Vygotsky's
>>>>>>>>>> Leningrad lecture) about the intrinsic link between games with
>>> roles
>>>>>>>>>> and games
>>>>>>>>>> with rules. (There's a pretty good account of this lecture, which
>>> I
>>>>>>>>>> have
>>>>>>>>>> always seen as the starting point for his elaboration of the zone
>>> of
>>>>>>>>>> proximal
>>>>>>>>>> development, in Chapter Seven, but it's well worth reading the
>>>>>>>>>> original
>>>>>>>>>> lecture, which is at
>>>>>>>>>>> ANL then has to explain why there appears to be a developmental
>>>>>>>>>>> sequence
>>>>>>>>>> linking role based play and rule-based games. For LSV this is no
>>>>>>>>>> problem: they
>>>>>>>>>> ARE genetically linked and in fact the child creates rule based
>>> games
>>>>>>>>>> iteratively, by varying the roles in systematic ways. But for ANL,
>>>>>>>>>> who denies
>>>>>>>>>> the genetic link, this is rather harder to explain:
>>>>>>>>>>> "Why do games with rules only arise at a certain stage of
>>>>>>>>>>> development,
>>>>>>>>>> and not simultaneously with the genesis of the first role games?
>>> It
>>>>>>>>>> depends on
>>>>>>>>>> the difference in their motivation. Initially the first play
>>> actions
>>>>>>>>>> arise on
>>>>>>>>>> the basis of the child's growing need to master the world of human
>>>>>>>>>> objects.
>>>>>>>>>> The motive contained in this action itself is fixed in a thing,
>>>>>>>>>> directly in its
>>>>>>>>>> object content. The action here is the path for the child that
>>> leads
>>>>>>>>>> it first
>>>>>>>>>> of all to the discovery of objective reality; the human still
>>> emerges
>>>>>>>>>> for the
>>>>>>>>>> child in its objectified form. The role of the horseman, the play
>>>>>>>>>> action of
>>>>>>>>>> riding, is playing at horses, the action with a block of wood that
>>>>>>>>>> the child
>>>>>>>>>> 'drives' from one chair to another is playing cars.
>>>>>>>>>>> And MORE:
>>>>>>>>>>> "But during the development of these games the human relation
>>>>>>>>>> included in their object content itself comes out ever more clearly
>>>>>>>>>> in them.
>>>>>>>>>> The tram driver not only 'acts with a tram' but is obliged at the
>>>>>>>>>> same
>>>>>>>>>> time to enter into certain relations with other people— with the
>>>>>>>>>> conductor,
>>>>>>>>>> the passengers, and so on. Therefore, at relatively early stages
>>> of
>>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>>> development of play activity, a child finds not only man's
>>> relation
>>>>>>>>>> to it
>>>>>>>>>> in the object but also people's relations with one another. Group
>>>>>>>>>> games
>>>>>>>>>> become possible not only alongside one another but also together.
>>>>>>>>>> Social
>>>>>>>>>> relations already come out in these games in overt form, in the
>>> form
>>>>>>>>>> of the
>>>>>>>>>> players' relations with one another. At the same time the play
>>> 'role'
>>>>>>>>>> is also altered. Its content now determines not only the child's
>>>>>>>>>> actions in regard to the object but also its actions in regard to
>>> the other
>>>>>>>>>> players in the
>>>>>>>>>> game. The latter also become content of the play activity, for
>>> which
>>>>>>>>>> its motive
>>>>>>>>>> is
>>>>>>>>>>> fixed. Games are distinguished in which actions in regard to other
>>>>>>>>>> people become the main thing."
>>>>>>>>>>> OK--so the reason why there is no genetic link is that the child
>>> goes
>>>>>>>>>> from focussing on material objects in role play to focussing on
>>> human
>>>>>>>>>> relations
>>>>>>>>>> in rule play? No, that's not right either, because:
>>>>>>>>>>> p. 372: "We already know how play arises in the preschool child.
>>> It
>>>>>>>>>> arises from its need to act in relation not only to the object
>>> world
>>>>>>>>>> directly
>>>>>>>>>> accessible to itself but also to the wider world of adults."
>>>>>>>>>>> Mike--it looks like we're not the only ones befuddled by
>>>>>>>>>> Leontiev's "motive" applied to children; he appears to have
>>>>>>>>>> thoroughly befuddled himself. Leontiev's "motive" applied to
>>>>>>>>>> children is a little like the clocks that keep going off in
>>>>>>>>>> Shakespeare's
>>>>>>>>>> Julius Caesar, a thousand years before they were invented.
>>>>>>>>>>> This is yet another reason for prefering Andy's term
>>>>>>>>>> "project" in describing play: unlike "activity" or
>>>>>>>>>> "motive", it's a real Gestalt, in that a "project" can
>>>>>>>>>> be, for the child, action/meaning, and for the adult,
>>> meaning/action,
>>>>>>>>>> whence
>>>>>>>>>> the possiblity of transforming, outside in, the one into the
>>> other!
>>>>>>>>>>> David Kellogg
>>>>>>>>>>> Seoul Natoinal University of Education
>>>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>>>>>>> --
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>>>>> Andy Blunden<>
>>> <>+61 3 9380 9435 Skype andy.blunden
>>>>>>>>>> Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden:
>>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>>>>> --
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>>>> Andy Blunden<>
>>> <>+61 3 9380 9435 Skype andy.blunden
>>>>>>>>> Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden:
>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>>> --
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>> Andy Blunden<><
>>>>+61 3 9380 9435 Skype andy.blunden
>>>>>>> Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden:
>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>> --
>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>> Andy Blunden<><
>>>>+61 3 9380 9435 Skype andy.blunden
>>>>> Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden:
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> xmca mailing list
>>> --
>>> Geoffrey Binder
>>> BA (SS) La Trobe, BArch (Hons) RMIT
>>> PhD Candidate
>>> Global Studies, Social Sciences and Planning RMIT
>>> Ph B. 9925 9951
>>> M. 0422 968 567
>> _______________________________________________
>> xmca mailing list

Andy Blunden +61 3 9380 9435 
Skype andy.blunden
Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden:
xmca mailing list
Received on Thu Dec 18 18:35:04 2008

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