The basis for the introduction of the concept of "activity" - General psychology

Foundations for introducing the concept of "activity"

The main reason for referring to the concept of "activity" seems to have been the increasingly conscious need to get away from the concept of "behavior" that carried in itself the burden of worldly representations and the reactive direct response introduced into the science by R. Descartes and erected by behaviorists and IP Pavlov to the rank of infallible truth. The behavior of animals in the wild did not fit into the "reactive" representation and even less fit in them social behavior of a person. The transforming activity of a human being as a social being contradicted the dominant "reactive" concepts of behavior early XX century. The philosophical basis for rejecting reactive concepts was the development of German classical philosophy about the active nature of human behavior (activity).

The next reason for the appeal of psychology to the concept of "activity" there was a situation in psychology itself. At the beginning of the XX century. it became clear that the psyche of man and animals is related to their way of life. The Dutch anthropologist, psychologist and physiologist F. Boitendijk (1887-1974) described the connection between the activity of behavior and the degree of development of the nervous system and psyche in animals: at the lower stages of the development of the psyche are stationary and inactive animals; on the higher - gregarious animals, especially predators, and animals using locomotions for the extraction and processing of food.

H. Freud and his followers showed that the content of the human psyche is determined by the peculiarities of his life. It required a concept that would be psychological, but would contain the basic characteristics of life, in particular, would represent the interaction of a living being with the world.

A. N. Leontiev, in search of an answer to the question of the causes of the development of the psyche of man and animals, also rested on the facts of the dependence of the psyche on the mode of life of the subject. But life could not become a concept of psychology. A concept was needed that contained the facts of behavior, but occupied the position of a piece of life. These two grounds (philosophical constructions and facts of dependence of the psyche on the life of the subject) served as the reason for introducing the concept of "activity" into psychology. as units of the "life of the corporeal material subject".

At the present time this concept is being filled in psychology, sociology and philosophy with different content.

First, such a term is used as a methodological category (principle), which underlies the activity approach in psychology. Development of this approach was the work of AN Leontief on the semantic analysis of activity, where the latter is a means of analyzing human activity.

Secondly, this term is used by some authors as a designation of specifically human social transforming (most often labor) activity of man and society as a whole. The existence of activity in animals is denied, but the person's behavior, along with activity, is postulated. Technological analysis most often implicitly comes from this understanding of activity, when this concept denotes the real activity of living beings, which is subject to description, analysis and explanation.

There is also AN Leontief's approach, for which the activity is the "unit of life" living beings who are actively adapting to the conditions of their ecological niche, including those who create the necessary conditions for themselves. This understanding requires consideration of the development of activity in the process of evolution: from simple, in many respects fixed its forms, served by the sensory mind, to activities realized in various ways (operations), and then to the peak of activity and reflection in animals - intellectual activity and psyche, when the animal acquires the ability to solve two-phase problems and reflect not only individual items, but also the relationships between them (situations). The social transforming and creative activity of man, according to AN Leontiev, is the highest stage of development of activity, to which a conscious form (or level) of reflection corresponds.

Naturally, this raises the question of the causes of the development of activity in phylogeny and ontogeny. The question is important, but it is part of the question of the causes of the development of the living, which probably has a program for the development of living creatures of all ecological niches on the Earth, which is possible only with an increase in the number of different species of living beings, from the simplest to the most complex. Life of complex beings can not be simple, and therefore their activity can not be simple.

We see how the objective content of the activity becomes more complex, as the complexity of achieving the objects of the need complicates the structure of activity, which also implies the complication of reflection. A separate issue here is the emergence and development of the social transformative and creative activity of man and the new form (level) of reflection-consciousness. On this particular issue, we will consider it further.

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