Re: [xmca] Helena on Negotiating Knowledge

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at>
Date: Thu Dec 18 2008 - 23:32:44 PST


I will not think of responding to the questions about
Helena's paper, but just briefly in relation to "need." I
just saw for the first time, ANL's footnote to AC&P:

"Such restricted understanding of motive as that object
(material or ideal) that evokes and directs activity toward
itself differs from the generally accepted understanding;
but this is not the place to enter into polemics on the

Yes, of course. I have tended to try to interpret the
"object" as a state of affairs or the resolution of a
problem. All of which is fine, but I still think it is

I presume that Leontyev's ideas can be traced back to Marx's
comments about human needs, as in the 1844 Manuscripts
particularly, though the observations that you quote as
well. Also, Engstrom did resolve some of the difficulties in
ANL's thinking that I am criticising. What I want to do
though is to appropriate Hegel more directly for Activity


Paul Dillon wrote:
> Andy,
> Could you explain to me the difference between "producing knowledge" as
> the object of an activity system, and "learning" as the transformation
> of an activity system (Engestrom's interp. as I understand it). I have
> been trying figure that out in relation to Helena's paper.
> This is also related to the following: What is the difference between
> Fig. 2 and Fig. 3? Where are the contradictions in the activity
> system, i.e., lev 1 or 2 in terms of Engestrom's model that produce the
> "need", generate the double bindf, etc.? I've laid them out side by
> side and can't find them.
> This goes to the motive/project discussion about "need". As I
> understand it, a need is the awareness of a problem that "needs to be
> resolved" with respect to some activity. Marx's discussion of
> photography (writing in 1860) as the generator of new needs or how
> thieves are productive workers because they generate a need for locks,
> cops, etc. are important.
> Paul
> Paul
> --- On *Thu, 12/18/08, Andy Blunden /<>/* wrote:
> From: Andy Blunden <>
> Subject: [xmca] Helena on Negotiating Knowledge
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
> Date: Thursday, December 18, 2008, 8:51 PM
> I think we can't delay any longer bringing into our discussions Helena
> Worthen's article on using activity theory to study the development and use
> of Negotiating Knowledge in the world of
> work.
> So I have just scanned my copy of the article and it is attached for you all.
> Steve, with all your time in the labor movement, you'll like this one!! as
> I'm sure others
> will.
> Andy
> -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Andy Blunden +61 3 9380 9435 Skype andy.blunden
> Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden:
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Andy Blunden +61 3 9380 9435 
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Received on Thu Dec 18 23:33:56 2008

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