An interdisciplinary theory of activity by Andy Blunden

By Andy Blunden

Andy Blunden offers an immanent critique of Cultural-Historical job conception, the present of psychology originating from Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934). Tracing the roots of this idea from Goethe, Hegel and Marx, the writer attracts out the foundations with which Vygotsky built a idea of the brain during which the person and their social scenario shape a unmarried Gestalt, transcending the issues of mind-body  Read more...

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1998. 28 chapter three Rather than the explanatory principle being some imperceptible force or energy, causing phenomena from behind, so to speak, the Urphänomen was itself a phenomenon, but it had to be the most easily understood, simplest, or archetypal form of the thing, a form which allowed the nature of the whole phenomenon to be understood. Despite a misunderstanding encouraged by Darwin himself, the Urphänomen is not to be confused with the first in time, the beginning of a Darwinian line; the Urphänomen is conceptually rather than genetically primitive.

At best the concept could be useful in characterization of an ancient city state or of an isolated community perhaps, or to explain particular aspects of the character of different nations. Nonetheless, the problem of Volksgeist asks a legitimate question, and it was a first step towards understanding the nature of modern social life and its relation to the psychology of the individuals who constitute a society, and a radical break from trying to understand the problem of freedom through foundation myths, social contracts or the faculty of Reason.

Sociology is located in one department of the university, whilst psychology is in another, and the conceptual apparatus we need to understand human beings is split into at least two incommensurable sets of concepts. But it is the same individual human beings when they act as members of an institution, or as an economic agent making market decisions, or when acting out social roles such as their family or community responsibilities. Hegel’s concept of spirit gives us a powerful set of concepts, all interconnected with one another in his Logic, to deal with this problem: “Spirit is the nature of human beings en masse,” said Hegel (1952), and the study of spirit is nothing other than the study of the activity of human beings en masse.

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