Heidegger does so in Being and Time, in the section on the tool, and in the section on the way signs function. In these pages, Heidegger also points out that for the person using tools and producing something, the ultimate product and its use are important mediating moments in the awareness/consciousness of the producer. This is precisely what we later find in Leont'ev, and in the right-hand part of Yrjö's triangle, where you go from obect --> outcome, and the latter is going to be taken up again in this or another activity system. So perhaps Heidegger goes even further in not limiting himself to the orientation toward the outcome but goes right to the way in which future users incorporate this material thing (which could also be a written text) in their activity.
What matters to Heidegger is not how a tool, object. . . whatever looks to the detached theoretician, including a Hegelian, but to someone caught up in praxis, coping (this is H. Dreyfus' word in his reading of Being and Time, at least, he read the first half). For many on this list who find Heidegger hard to read, H. Dreyfus' reading /Being-in-the-World: A Commentary on Heidegger's Being and Time/ is probably a very good introduction. Phil Agre in his early work at least bases a lot on his reading of Heidegger (via Dreyfus, I believe) (Agre, /Computation and Human Experience/) And I think David Chapman, too, was doing "Heideggerian AI"
On 2010-03-07, at 5:48 PM, mike cole wrote:
Right, mutual constitution. But the problem of saying everything about everything remains. Its kind of like Kenneth Burke who has a pentad as a basic unit of analysis for human activity (approximately), but carries out his analyses in terms of various
Can you give us references to the parts of Heidegger and Holtzkamp in English so that us non-German readers can get connected with what have written? The Leontiev reference was very helpful. There is so much to read!!
On Sun, Mar 7, 2010 at 9:57 AM, Wolff-Michael Roth <email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>> 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 have gotten
lost in the multiple threads?
Michael wrote: "you have been breaking out individual (constitutive)
of activity and treated them as elements, much like others take the YE
triangle and then break out the object, the subject, the division of
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
having highlighted them, given the impression that they are
elements in a static sense. What sort of language does one use to be
for example, to talk about a particular division of labor, without
deep backgrounding, say, the tools being used or the web of social rules
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 have put
> together a page :
> where you can browse as you wish ...
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