ERIC Number: ED206399
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Dialectical Materialism: Analysis of Mental Actions.
Reese, Hayne W.
In the Soviet theory of cognitive development, originated by Vygotsky and elaborated by Leont'ev, acts occur at three levels of abstraction: activities, actions, and operations. According to this theory, an activity has an associated motive and may function directively as a motive. While many activities are possible, one activity tends to predominate at any particular time and "leads" in the sense of being at the top of a hierarchy of possible activities, which varies across cultures and age levels. Within the framework of this developmental theory, an action can be performed efficiently only if it is uncomplicated or if the component operations are performed in a coordinated way, without conscious effort. The theory refers to motoric as well as to verbal behavior and is reconcilable with the findings of animal behavior studies. The apparent reconcilability of the theory with behaviorism is illusory because, in the Soviet theory, thought refracts as well as reflects reality. According to Soviet philosophers, reflection and refraction are properties of all matter, and their quality depends on the nature of the matter. In the human, reflection and refraction are properties of the brain. In this form, they are called consciousness. Thus, consciousness becomes an extraordinarily potent factor in altering the nature of reality. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Behaviorism; Consciousness; Dialectical Materialism; Dialectical Reasoning; USSR
Note: Paper presented at the Meeting of the Association for Behavior Analyses (Milwaukee, WI, May 1981).