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JOURNAL OF RUSSIAN AND EAST EUROPEAN PSYCHOLOGY

Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, vol. 43, no. 4, JulyAugust 2005, pp. 4857. 2005 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN 10610405/2005 $9.50 + 0.00.

A.N. LEONTIEV

Paper Presented at the All-Union Institute of Experimental Medicine


I The taskto outline the THEORETICAL PREREQUISITES and specific problems of psychological research. There is no need to defend the idea that no study of man can claim to be complete if it ignores the mental. The life of man does not just take a vegetative, animal formthere is also a mental life! Man = res cogitans = a thinking thing. = Thus, in the system of sciences about man, the psychologist . . . will occupy his place and (I would presume to thinka place of honor!) Over the course of development of bourgeois science, psychology has, however, fatefully lost its place, its area, its object. = In this is the crisis of psychology, the roots of which must be sought in

English translation 2005 M.E. Sharpe, Inc., from the Russian text 2003 A.A. Leontiev, D.A. Leontiev, and Smysl. Doklad v VIEMe, in Stanovlenie psikhologii deiatelnosti: rannie raboty, ed. A.A. Leontiev, D.A. Leontiev, and E.E. Sokolova (Moscow: Smysl, 2003), pp. 30815. Published based on handwritten notes in a notebook held in the A.N. Leontiev archive, dated February 16, 1935. Translated by Nora Favorov.
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those social conditions, within whose depths psychology developed and which of necessity had to give rise to a mystified concept of the human psyche and human consciousness, a concept that is fated to decline only in our time and under our conditions! * The classical concept of idealistic descriptive psychology about the psyche as pure immediacy, about the givens of our experience, about the subjective par excellence, about the phenomenal world, had to do only with an imaginary reality. However this concept remained and remains fundamental for all of bourgeois psychology. this assertion is paradoxical? but its truth is revealed as soon as we throw off the multicolored husk of the various theories covering this concept! it is openly asserted by idealistic descriptive psychology. it appears also during an analysis of its opposite explanatory, mechanistic psychology and in the mechanistic orientation within the science of man overall. Taking as a starting point conceptions of the psyche as something subjective, phenomenal, and inactive, these orientations naturally wound up captive to this very metaphysical concept contradicted by them. Such is the general law: that which I metaphysically deny will be my limitation. Such a contradiction/denial has the power to reject, but not to change. And, indeed, what new has been brought to the understanding of the psyche by the most brilliant proponents of this orientation? ?American behaviorism and our reflexology. It is enough to analyze the solution to any fundamental problem using these orientations to become convinced that they only assert the proposition, the concept about the psyche that they take as their starting point. The simplest thingto choose (for this) the problem of the relation between the psychic and the physiological. = What are the solutions here? The first solution amounts to the denial of the psyche. But it can only be denied as an object of science.

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What does this mean? To recognize the psychic as subjective, as an epiphenomenon, as a duplicator that does not atrophy, but develops. = phenomenalism + parallelism. (the same thing, but from a different side! This solution often poses as a monistic one, but, of course, it is parallelistic! . . . The second solution consists in the pragmatic recognition of psychology. This = indecisive; an eclectic solution What does it consist of? What is behind it? 1) Either an ideological break, 2) Or an expression of temporary concession, but then it is the same solution all over again! . . . The third solution consists in the business-like refusal to solve the problem, in shamefully concealing ones own helplessness under the notorious theory of aspects. This false, narrow-minded and idealistic theory amounts to recognizing: 1) that the sciences are distinguished from one another by aspect, 2) that the unification of these aspects provides the complete truth. We must (from the very beginning) clearly set our propositions against the apologists for this businesslike theory: 1) the sciences are distinguished from one another by subjects, by areas, 2) the connection between sciences merely REFLECTS the connection between subjects, their transitions from one to another express objective transitions from one subject to another. Sowe can summarize: 1) that all these orientations rest on positions of psychophysical parallelism (EVEN GESTALT), 2) on one pole of these theories appears the psychic, consciousness as pure experience, consciousness torn away from activity, on the other pole activity, torn away from consciousness and taken independently from the physiological mechanisms by which it is realized.

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Thusand this is 3) Both consciousness and this activity wind up torn away from their object, from their product. At both of these poles an impassible gulf formed between activity and object, between subject and object. The most important thing was lost: the mutual permeation of activity and object, the transition of subject and object. Finally, the fourth: similar to how the relationship between the psychological and the physiological appear distorted, the relationship between the sciencespsychology and physiologyalso appears distorted. THE FALSE RELATIONSHIP of their competition. *** What are our definite paths? What are our true theoretical premises of psychological research? The first of them consists in confirming the unique features of the subject of psychology as a special reality, subject to scientific research. The secondin recognizing as a fundamental theoretical objective the objective of overcoming the rift between consciousness and activity mentioned above, but not at the cost of bringing them together mechanistically (the physiological + the subjective-psychological, synthesis). It is necessary to understand consciousness itself in a new way as activity, it is necessary to understand activity itself in a new way, to understand that human activity is mediated in ideal representation of its object in consciousness (essentially realized in the word). The third premise consists in: Understanding the true interrelation between the psychological and the physiological, = between psychology and physiology. And here first of all it is necessary to understand: Concretization is not given, BUT IS SET . Only correctly organized cooperation between physiological and psychological research, not acting as substitutes for one another and not competing with one another, BUT TRANSITIONING into one another, can lead to a solution of this majestic problem. But how should the work be conducted? What do we have to work with now?

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A conditional, working, heuristic CRITERION: It can thus be formulated: Physiology answers the question HOW (according to what laws of the organism) the realization of a given activity takes place. Psychology answers the question, WHAT is subject to realization, how and in accordance with what laws this reality emerges. Sherrington: Now I understand the joy with which the Christian martyrs went to the stake. This is not precise: how COULD THEY . . . ASCEND! To understand how such a psychological situation could have come about, one must approach it PSYCHOLOGICALLY. To understand, that means understanding how this situation acquired the corresponding meaning for me. Thus: The situation itselfthe sociohistorical fact, its meaning for methe psychological fact, the mechanism for realizing the meaningthe physiological fact. Our criterion is reliable as it relies on facts. However long we might continue physiological research, it will always remain within the question posed by us. The physiologist always begins, always starts out from psychological reality, sometimes without noticing this himself! From what did Pavlov begin his brilliant, truly physiological explanation for hysteriafrom the fact of the emergence of the affectogenic image, that is, from psychological reality! We see: IF FOR PSYCHOLOGY, KNOWLEDGE OF THE PHYSIOLOGICAL MECHANISM IS DECIDEDLY ESSENTIAL, for physiology, psychological research, which must scientifically study the subject of physiological realization, is just as essential. Is this psychological reality sufficiently rich? Especially if it can essentially go unnoticed by a physiologist? I will attempt to answer this question in the second part of my talk, in which I will also try to make concrete other propositions that I have heretofore addressed in the abstract. So, let us move on to the question of the problem at hand. II We have chosen as our problem the problem of speech = THE SPECIAL PROBLEM OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF SPEECH.

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WHAT IS THIS CHOICE DETERMINED BY? 1) In making the choice (not the criteria known/not known), but the decisive element. 2) When choosing, we were not planning to work in a new place: but specifically the problem of speech was the most developed in the studies on which we primarily relyon the studies of L.S. Vygotsky. What is speecha word? A word appears to have an objective meaning, = like an ideological system, = like an object of linguistics = the history of speech. Labordiseasesuffering. Bogatstvo [wealth]bog [god]. Ger. Reichstate, kingdom. It is necessary to bring a semantic analysis to the depths of an ideological analysis. The morphology itself must be understood from the glottogonic process. second: the word appears out of the process of its realization. This process = the subject of physiology. And third, it appears as the subject of psychology. What is comprised in the word psychologically? 1. Speech, as a psychological function, does not stand with other functions, but it has central significance. The word is internally tied to thought (unity). The word is internally tied to consciousness. the word is true consciousness development of the word is the development of consciousness! Damage to speech = damage to thought and consciousness. 2. Speech is polyfunctional by nature. The word has communicative, indicative, and significative functions. 3. The word turns out to be polymorphic: loud directed speech, egocentric speechPiaget, internal speech, (+ graphic written speech)

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Behind meaning = generalization (unit of thought)

= Finally, the word 1) appears as a sign from its external phasic side. 2) the word has objective reference (MOST CHARACTERISTIC). AND MOST IMPORTANT: THE WORD HAS MEANING.

The development of speech (and its decline) encompasses all of these functions, aspects and connections of the word. The development of speech a practical increase in the quantity of words, an increase in associations. This is a qualitative process, that is tiedas experimental studies showto the development of thought and to change in the relationship of thought to the word, and that is tied to the development of consciousness (L.S. Vygotsky), with an alteration of its structure! in this process develops (changes) the function of the word the form of the word (addressed, egocentric, internal) And what is most important, the meaning of the word changes (not the objective reference, but the meaning!) = generalization, the manner of reflection (Object) The works of Vygotsky and his colleagues, on which we rely and which we take as our point of departure, also have as their primary content the study of the meaning of a word and its relationship to thought and other activities of consciousness. The richest data gathered in these experiments (they cannot be presented!), made it possible to establish the primary stages in the development of speech, thought and consciousness, that is, THE DISTINCT STAGES OF GENERALIZATION AND THE DISTINCT RELATIONSHIP TO REALITYMEDIATION! and to point to the process that moves through this development the process of communication = in the process of his development, the child masters meanings, which appear as ideal forms, truly interacting, truly cooperating with adults (and mastering social experience) (not a monologue, but a dialogue!) Here is where our problem opens up It consists in answering the question: what is behind communication, what is behind cooperation? = what drives development?

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= how, according to what laws, does their movement take place from one stage to another, from one meaning to another? We again stand before the question of how the word, meaning develops, and at the same time before the question: psychologically, what is the word? In order to understand the acuteness of this problem: let us imagine the process of mastering a new meaning: two solutions: experience (but this is impossible), the word itself is like a demiurge. Now, on the other hand: if communication = the process, in which development is realized, we will understand as a process of realization that: the historical nature of development is preserved, but history itself takes the shape of the history of social consciousness. if this = the process in which development is realized, then our question arises. And we again stand before the secret of the development of speech. The wordthat complex thingagain remains a mysterious thing. This is the most difficultthe problem becomes more complex and the fact that we have to understand the development of the word not as movement, caused by something external, but as something self-developing, i.e., it is necessary to find the form in which outside factors penetrate the word, generating its development. *** In attempting to develop our problem, we naturally arrive at our hypothesis. To make the question clearer, allow us to formulate it in phylogenetic terms. 1) What is behind the emergence of a word? That is, from a word, how does a living, human word emerge? the word of the animalnot objective, expressive (signal). Gardner. Yerkes and Learned, Furness. the word of manobjective. How does a word become objective? Communication does not explain! Circle. The word of the animal 1) is expressive 2) it is a signal. [but not] signifying! [it is not] a sign! Emotion is expressed.

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behind emotionthe relationship toward an object. The word expresses RELATIONSHIP, and not the object. this is firmly established. This very relationship is instinctive immediate not objective, it does not exist for consciousness, correspondingly, it is not signified. Over the course of development (objective, sociohistorical), the relationship changes (LABOR), it is material (tool) and socially mediated. The word does not change, what is behind the word changes! It is from here that the word changes! But that is given in the word, and the word develops! The communication, which becomes human, also changes. Consequently: communication does not come from a word, a word does not come from communication. = Is this the way it is only for genesis, or for development, too? From examination of the material, however, it follows: behind the word (and behind communication) lies activity. This conclusion coincides with what we make out of ontogenetic material and that, from my point of view, is contained in the works of Vygotsky! What lies behind a word, behind meaning? 1) generalized reality. 2) the structure of connections and the system of mediation, that is, crystallized activity. These are not the same. These are different and contradictory things! Meaning is the unity of these contradictory things. This contradiction is the internal driving force of a word. If the activity lying behind a word changes, the word changes. (This activity in ontogenesis is organized socially!) this is the first proposition. but: Change of an activity is change of a word as a sign. this is the second proposition. = but the word appears to be unchanged? and in this question is the peculiarity of ontogenesis. Example: [IllegibleEds.] Our hypothesis has the significance that: communication is not the demiurge of development; antinomythe social versus the individual, the antimony of

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French materialism, it turns out to be only apparent. that the social nature and historicism of the child psyche are not in that he communicates (French sociologism, Jean Piaget), but that activity is objective and socially mediated. Thus: objectives: the study of the development of speech and ontogenesis, the theoretical premise: not logos, not eidos, but praxis. Concluding with this, I cannot fail to return to the initial thought: A wordit turns outis a most complex thing. It appears as a mysterious thing. Where does this mystery lie? Inside? in the organism, that is, in physiology. To look for it there is like looking for the secret of a piece of merchandise in itself. Behind the merchandise are social relations, a process of exchange. Behind a word is activity, defined by an object and achieved in a product and only realized through physiology. (Thispsychologicalactivity is the result of physiological activity. Its own result is an object, an ideal object, an image of reality!) = Our study will be complete when it moves on to the physiological, delves to the depth of the physiological, but this transition is not a superimposition: but a transition to something qualitatively different! It seems to me, both for the physiology of higher nervous activity, especially for optimistic physiology, psychological research has a prominent significance. Otherwise, what can be said of the physiology that haughtily turns away from the very reality, the laws of whose realization it should be studying.

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