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RE: [xmca] Lave and McDermott and 'values'


Andy - yes: I meant the dialetic in the sense of Leontiev as I understood him, who (I believe) looked to the action/goal as being in contradiction to the social activity/motive; as I understood he sees this as the source of development of significant, new motives and goals, and so for instance development of the adolescent personality (I usually draw on his example of the student of history within the context of 'schooling-for-exams' who nevertheless may come to find the history as 'interesting in itself' and find this new motive for the study (perhaps even discovering its true social motive). Andy I know you are a keen student of Hegel (with whose work I struggle) and this might be a Leontiev (Marx?) version of 'dialectics' - I think it implies 'movement' of the consciousness (es), of the goals, and of the activity all at once?

Haydi Ive lost your thread but gone an d copy-pasted it to the below, and I think this is still relevant to your line of thought?

... doesn't the 'school-learner' shape their 'goals' (eg of doing maths/history etc) with their valueing of 'schooling' ... this I called a 'projection of the (subjects) values into the goals... (I study the history text because it is on the exam and I 'need' a good grade')  

- and yet potentially find new values (I become interested and 'need' to discover why history is 'interesting'...) through the  new motives for studying?

You push me hard for the relation of 'values' and 'idealised/perceived NEEDS'... I think maybe it goes like this: I give a subjective value to any activity I engage in, maybe distinct values for different activities, ( Leontiev implies this constitutes the 'personality'; shifts in valuations of activities equates to 'development' of personality?)


-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
Sent: 08 November 2011 01:58
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Lave and McDermott and 'values'

Julian, I don't think it is useful to say that this and that are "in 
dialectical relation with" each other or other things. Except explicitly 
as posing a problem to be solved. It leaves the question of exactly 
*what* relation that is. Otherwise, if you just identify this and that, 
and make some claim about their relation, then ipso facto they are *not* 
in dialectical relation to one other. I would say that 
"activity/actions" (or praxis or practice) differ from "behaviour" 
because these concepts are both subjective and objective, that is, the 
concept of action includes the intentions as well as the mechanical 
movement. It contains an internal contradiction, because what we mean is 
not always how we behave. "Behavior is a concept of mechnical movement 
of the body which is abstracted from consciousness and is inclusive of 
autonomous nervous activity as well as (intentional) actions. Likewise 
"goal" and "activity". The goal is an emergent moment of an activity, 
otherwise we have an abstract general (sociological) concept of 
activity, not a dialectical concept at all: we take a goal and an 
activity and then stick them together and claim that they are "in 
dialectical relation with" one another. Likewise again, an activity is 
nothing other than the aggregate of actions. That means internally 
contradictory relations within activity, which are comprehended under 
the notion of "an activity."

Does that make sense?

Julian Williams wrote:
> My use of 'project/ion' (I find I use this quite often, even though I don't know if it's in Vygotsky or Ilyenkov) is meant to imply that consciousness Is not just a reflection of action/activity, but also a source of goals and so of action. (Actually I understand CHAT-Marx to imply that consciousness is in dialectical relation with other moments of activity.)

Dear Julian

Thanks you replied .

--All MY POINTS came from Leontevian Activity Theory . If I was mistaken , I should have been warned .

--Incidentally , No.1 is not ruled out b.c. I didn't take your VALUES for MORAL,ETHICAL,HUMAN values . The pivot of the three articles is MARXIAN exploitation . That was why I ruled out the idea that by VALUES you meant universal ethical ones . I hope you are not among those who say Marxism is inhuman unless it is humanized . 

--Plz see if this time I understand you . You face a REAL TASK AT HAND (treble emphasis) ; you want to resolve it ; you call on the CONSCIOUSNESS ; out of the con. , you choose a VALUE which is for you the same as an IDEAL (spiritual) need ; Then , you project this chosen value onto the object  of your activity . 

a. I think in the context you depict , a REAL TASK AT HAND could equal what we mean by OPERATION ====>CONDITION rather than THE ACTIVITY PROPER . What I can think of is to depict : the capitalist HIERARCHY favours and intrigues the institutes towards a destructive competition . Our supposed institute concentrates on gaining the satisfaction of the parents for more contributions and assistance . ACTIVITY . The goal chosen/reached is the enhancing/doing of the MATH COURSE . 

b. When you say you choose and then project a value onto the object of the activity , does not that mean that your world of VALUES is different and separate from your world of ACTIVITIES ? Then how can activity be a molar non-additive process of life circle ? let alone we read we have three moments NOT including consciousness or six moments (a la Engestrom) ; though I believe Engestrom's Micro-social activities accords more with kind of adaptational and co-existing trend with Capitalism rather than bringing forth a MACRO-SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION of the whole system . It seems as if IN THE PROCESS OF LIVING needs whether material or spiritual , vital or non-vital , arise spontaneously . Are not needs felt but not thought out ? And Davydov pushes it further by the use of DESIRE .  

c. Where
 does CONSCIOUSNESS COME FROM ? How does the PREDISPOSITION OF VALUES take place (dialectics presupposed) ? Thanks Andy for his exegesis of dialectics . 

--Leontiev himself also talks of different intentions and ideas within the heads of the students when he discusses PERSONAL SENSE in detail . This is on the SYMBOLIC side of a social movement . And he emphasizes that we should , in a final count , rely on what passes behind the SYMBOLS . For the hierarchy of Capitalistic society , the GOAL , as long as it is a goal not getting converted into an activity or operation , remains unique : doing math for the satisfaction of the parents for more contributions and assistance (you exemplified Greece today) . The CONCRETE aspect of the movement might take place within the UNIONS OR FACTORIES and these two might , of necessity , get unified . This unification on its SYMBOLIC side must come from the PERSONAL SENSES different learners get in spite of all  efforts the institute makes to drag the mentality of all the learners towards the realization of the SOCIAL MEANING , that is , doing math for the satisfaction and assistance . Leontiev says with grades learners get , the social meaning is A REWARD FOR AN EFFORT which is common to all . In our example , the social meaning is doing math for promotional status or remedial outcome . I want to conclude that if as you say "we cannot presume that a classroom is engaged in collective activity just because a collection of people sit together in one classroom with a teacher" , in the same vein , we cannot say our class is engaged in an activity proper because each of them is perceiving an IDEAL NEED in his head or psyche especially if the feeling of that need leads to the isolation of one or some learners . What matters for us here is the regulation of a micro-socialistic goal and activity which parallels the macro-socialistic (hierarchy) trend of an  capitalistic EXPLOITATION .

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