Hell, Andy, I know nothing, so to speak of Hegel. But after Michael
helps us focus
in on what he finds valuable in Heidegger, we will be better educated.
"triangles within triangles"
You have to consider the expanded triangle, "genetically" in terms of
and as a mutually constituted whole. Sounds a lot like your
On Sun, Mar 7, 2010 at 4:23 PM, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org
Although many others played a role, it was Hegel who taught us how
to finally overcome dichotomies and conceive things as a whole. In
his anatomy of Mind, Hegel has two cross-cutting triangles, not just
the usual series of triangles-within-triangles that are more widely
(1) Hegel makes the concept the unit of a social formation, not the
individual person, and expends a lot of heat and lots of
triads-within-triads tracing how the forms of practice and their
representation emerge, independently of the will and awareness of
individuals. First create your concept, then people can think it.
(2) The subject itself (still not an individual mind) has three
"moments" Individual, Universal and Particular. The Universal is
what we call "artefact" (well not necessarily a token, but what it
is that makes the artefact what it is, the whole class of things).
The Particular are the social practices (forms of practice,
institutions and their instantiation) in which the Universal is (as
Michael says) *constituted*. The Individual is an actual existent
thing or person which implements the actvity. As CEOs like to say
"an organisation is only as good as it people."
Hegel knew, like everyone else knows, that only individual human
beings, with skulls, think. There is no such thing (except
metaphorically) as "collective consciousness" - only shared
artefacts and social practices/activities and a lot of individuals
thinking and acting in concert.
So I make no apology for talking about individuals, or asserting
that without individual people and material tokens of artefacts and
practices, there would be no mind.
PS. I know nothing of Heidegger.
Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
the issue I want to highlight is the mutual constitution. It
makes no sense to talk about tools as if they could be isolated
and talked about independent of the concrete practical
object/motive oriented activity. You cannot talk about
subjectivity/identity independent of activity, and yet people do
it all of the time. Take, for example, all those scholars who
use interviews to get at "identity," and do not make thematic
the fact that the interview is the activity, and its
object/motive is the production of the interview/text. Whether
the text has anything to do with the activity of a teacher at
school, or a student at school, never (hardly every) is asked.
The same, we observe scholars who are looking for and writing
about the tools, as if the nature of the tool could be
identified independent of the activity---
This is precisely the point Heidegger makes, and – sorry Andy,
you are NOT right on this point in your commentary – Heidegger
says precisely in many instances what Leont'ev also says, and
Heidegger did it a few years before Leont'ev.
((And again, sorry Andy, Heidegger works out precisely the issue
of consciousness in activity, and the relation of the subject to
the tool, which is at the heart of Leont'ev))
Mike, what we are getting to, then, is cognition separate from
life, cognition that makes no sense because it is not connected
to the senses in sensual practical activity.
Precisely when we substantialize the things that are part of the
activity --- for Leont'ev, only those things are relevant that
are relevant to the subject, and this point is brought out by
Klaus Holzkamp ---- not the kind of stuff outside researchers
bring to the situation when they take the triangle as the grid
through which they look at situations, at activities. For the
subject it is totally irrelevant what the researcher sees and
thinks, and this is another form of breaking things out of an
integrated and dynamic whole.
On 2010-03-07, at 8:28 AM, mike cole wrote:
Thanks Andy, and Michael for the section ref to Leontiev.
Could I repeat a second part of my question which appears to
lost in the multiple threads?
Michael wrote: "you have been breaking out individual
of activity and treated them as elements, much like others take
triangle and then break out the object, the subject, the
division of labor,
I asked about how one talks about how one breaks out "moments of
(that is how I phrase the matter when I am thoughtful enough to
do so), and,
having highlighted them, given the impression that they are
elements in a static sense. What sort of language does one use
to be able,
for example, to talk about a particular division of labor,
without at least
deep backgrounding, say, the tools being used or the web of
that are recruited in this instance?
Even to say that "everything is connected to everything else"
notion of "things/processes" that are connected. How to avoid
misunderstanding and distinguish it from disagreement?
On Sun, Mar 7, 2010 at 2:50 AM, Andy Blunden <email@example.com
If anyone is interested in exploring the German Idealists,
and the roots of
Activity Theory and Cultural Psychology in their writings, I
together a page :
where you can browse as you wish ...
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Andy Blunden http://www.erythrospress.com/
Classics in Activity Theory: Hegel, Leontyev, Meshcheryakov,
Ilyenkov $20 ea
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