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By Wellsy
Putting this in Opaque Cogitations as I'm using it as a means to collect the various resources that help me delinate Evald Ilyenkov's notion of ideality.
I'll try to add to this thread with the brief snippets of free time I have and hopefully I'll be able to mull over the material more thoroughly after I've collected some good sources with emphasis on the important parts that stand out to me.

The pivotal paper for which this thread and all writers are based in relation to is:
The Concept of the Ideal - Evald Ilyenkov
And situate it's significance, I rely on an introduction by Peter E Jones
1The ideal in cultural-historical activity theory: issues and perspectivesPeter E JonesIntroduction1The concept of the ideal (as in the terms ideal form or ideal image) is one of the most difficult concepts in Marxist philosophy but also one of the most important for research in the cultural-historical and Activity Theory (henceforth ‘CHAT’ for convenience) traditions. Evald Ilyenkov, the late Soviet philosopher who made the most important contribution to the elucidation of this concept, stressed that ‘the problem of “ideality” in its general form is equally significant for psychology, linguistics, and any socio-historical discipline’ (1977b, p.95). The crux of the problem has to do with the dialectical process through which human productive activity of necessity generates images of itself which are objectified in ideal or symbolic forms and come to have an essential role within that activity This process of idealisation and the function of ideal forms within activity are research problems of enormous interest and importance. In more general terms, the significance to CHAT of the concept of the ideal lies in its offering the possibility of understanding the human mind in its interconnections with activity. Specifically, it orientates research into language acquisition, concept formation, or educational activity, for example, towards an analysis of the relevant forms of symbolic mediation in terms of the logic and developmental dynamic of those activities in which they are generated and function, obliging us, at the same time, to take into account the dialectical interconnections between different social practices within the social process as a whole.2

At present, something that has sparked me curiosity is the possible connection between Ilyenkov's point about ideality existing only in the process of some task and the integrationists view that signs are temporarily means of mediating human activity.
Spoiler: show
At first hand, transformation of the material into the ideal consists in the external fact being expressed in language, which ‘is the immediate actuality of thought’ (Marx). But language of itself is as little ideal as the neuro-physiological structure of the brain. It is only the form of expression of the ideal, its material-objective being. Neopositivists, who identify thought (i.e. the ideal) with language, with a system of terms and expressions, therefore make the same naturalistic mistake as scientists who identify the ideal with the structures and functions of brain tissue. Here, too, the form only of its material expression is taken for the ideal. The material is really ‘transplanted’ into the human head, and not simply into the brain as an organ of the individual’s body, (1) only when it is expressed in immediately, generally significant forms of language (understood in the broadest sense of the word, including the language of drawings, diagrams, models, etc.), and (2) when it is transformed into an active form of man’s activity with a real object (and not simply into a ‘term’ or ‘utterance’ as the material body of language). In other words the object proves to be idealised only when the faculty of actively recreating it has been created, relying on the language of words or drawings; when the faculty of converting words into deeds, and through deeds into things, has been created.

Spinoza understood this beautifully. With good reason he linked adequate ideas, expressed in the words of a language, precisely with ability to reproduce given verbal forms in real space. It was just there that he drew the distinction between a determination expressing the essence of the matter, i.e. the ideal image of the object, and nominal, formal definitions that fixed a more or less accidentally chosen property of the object, its outward sign. A circle, for example, could be defined as a figure in which lines drawn from the centre to the circumference were equal. But such a definition did not quite express the essence of a circle, but only a certain property of it, which property was derivative and secondary. It was another matter when the definition included the proximate cause of the thing. Then a circle should be defined as a figure described by any line one end of which was fixed and the other moved. This definition provided the mode of constructing the thing in real space. Here the nomical definition arose together with the real action of the thinking body along the spatial contour of the object of the idea. In that case man also possessed an adequate idea, i.e. an ideal image, of the thing, and not just signs expressed in words. That is also a materialist conception of the nature of the ideal. The ideal exists there where there is a capacity to recreate the object in space, relying on the word, on language, in combination with a need for the object, plus material provision of the act of creation.

Determination of the ideal is thus especially dialectical. It is that which is not, together with that which is, that which does not exist in the form of an external, sensuously perceived thing but at the same time does exist as an active faculty of man. It is being, which is, however, not-being, or the effective being of the external thing in the phase of its becoming in the activity of the subject, in the form of its inner image, need, urge, and aim; and therefore the ideal being of the thing is distinguished from its real being, and also from the bodily, material structures of the brain and language by which it exists ‘within’ the subject. The ideal image of the object is distinguished from the structure of the brain and language in principle by the fact that it is the form of the external object. It is also distinguished from the external object itself by the fact that it is objectified immediately not in the external matter of nature but in the organic body of man and in the body of language as a subjective image. The ideal is consequently the subjective being of the object, or its ‘otherness’, i.e. the being of one object in and through another, as Hegel expressed this situation.

The ideal, as the form of social man’s activity, exists where the process of the transformation of the body of nature into the object of man’s activity, into the object of labour, and then into the product of labour, takes place. The same thing can be expressed in another way, as follows: the form of the external. thing involved in the labour process is ‘sublated’ in the subjective form of objective activity (action on objects); the latter is objectively registered in the subject in the form of the mechanisms of higher nervous activity; and then there is the reverse sequence of these metamorphoses, namely the verbally expressed idea is transformed into a deed, and through the deed into the form of an external, sensuously perceived thing, into a thing. These two contrary series of metamorphoses form a closed cycle: thing—deed—word—deed—thing. Only in this cyclic movement, constantly renewed, does the ideal, the ideal image of the thing exist.

The ideal is immediately realised in a symbol and through a symbol, i.e. through the external, sensuously perceived, visual or audible body of a word. But this body, while remaining itself, proves at the same time to be the being of another body and as such is its ‘ideal being’, its meaning, which is quite distinct from its bodily form immediately perceived by the ears or eyes. As a sign, as a name, a word has nothing in common with what it is the sign of. What is ‘common’ is only discovered in the act of transforming the word into a deed, and through the deed into a thing (and then again in the reverse process), in practice and the mastering of its results.
First of all, communication generally, including linguistic communication, is viewed as an activity itself, the activity ofsign-making:

‘Signs are not given in advance, but are made. The capacity for making signs, as and when required, is a natural humanability’ (Roy Harris in Love, 2004, p. 531).

But this sign-making in turn is seen as taking place in the course of and in the service of purposeful activities of one kindor another:

‘Signs, for the integrationist, provide an interface between different human activities, sometimes between a variety ofactivities simultaneously. They play a constant and essential role in integrating human behaviour of all kinds’ (Harris, inLove, 2004, p. 531).

From this point of view, it is only in our acting in and on the world that we create signs since signs are ‘links in the chain of action’ taking us from present to future on the basis of experience and circumstance. The semiotic significance or value of the sign itself, therefore, is inherently relational or transitional, i.e., it is relative to the unfolding activity, a transition from this point to the next. It is this fundamentally time-bound character of signs, their being transitions in the unfolding actions of particular individuals, which explains why attempts to model them as fixed elements within some static structure (aka‘structuralism’) are ultimately doomed to failure.

Secondly, in acting, as Harris (1996) claims, we can make signs out of anything that is to hand including, of course, and most basically, our immediate sense experience. While Harris denies that our sensations and perceptions are themselvessigns, one may ‘treat them as signs for purposes of some further activity’ (Harris, 1996, p. 177):

‘There are indeed cases where my sensations become signs. Groping my way through a familiar room in the dark (becausethe lights have fused), what my fingers feel and my feet encounter become signs of chairs, tables, walls, doors, etc. There is nosemiological mystery here. These sensations become signs because – and insofar as – they integrate past memories with acurrent programme of action – i.e. crossing the room in the dark’ (1996, p. 176, my emphasis).

Thus, as I move towards the exit, my very progress through the room has semiological consequences since each step I takechanges the context in which I make sense of what I’m feeling at that particular moment. Right now I can feel a hard woodentable top while a moment ago I could feel the back of a plastic chair, so this means I’m heading in the right direction (givenmy memory of the room layout). What makes these sensuous phenomena into signs, rather than natural physiological pro-cesses, one may ask? The short answer is: I do. They are signs because for me, engaged as I am in leaving the room in thedark, they are a means to an end, an end to which they have, of course, no intrinsic connection: the connection is made byme, made in and through my activity with the objects I make contact with.

Thirdly, as the previous example implies, the notion of activity implied by integrationist work is very broad, or loose,compared with the notions generally invoked by non-integrationist approaches. Levinson, for instance, in an influentialand insightful discussion of the role of activity contexts in language production and interpretation, inspired by Wittgensteinas well as the pioneers of Conversation Analysis, defines an ‘activity type’ as ‘any culturally recognized activity, whether or notthat activity is coextensive with a period of speech or indeed whether any talk takes place in it at all’ (Levinson, 1992, p. 69,my emphasis). Furthermore, the ‘focal members’ of this category of phenomena are ‘goal-defined, socially constituted,bounded events’ (Levinson, 1992, p. 69, my emphasis).

And although it is reproduced in greater length in Peter E Jones earlier piece that I quoted the introduction of. I wish to post this shorter summary in criticism of some interpreters of Ilyenkov's ideality that are argued to be mistaken in that they construe it too broadly such that the emphasis on representation and distinction/indepenedence from the material properties of a thing seem contradicted.
"Symbols, Tools, and Ideality in Ilyenkov"
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By Wellsy
I suspect that the possible difference between Peter E Jones adoption of integrationism by Roy Harris might be in tension with his sense of the temporar nature of the 'sign' compared to that of the ideality in Ilyenkov. Which stems from a difference found in Vygotsky, whose work Ilyenkov continues.
As such, I'm quite interested in linguistics and the idea of how one 'internalizes' things such that the social form becomes one's own, something pivotal to Vygotsky's sense of how we learn and even develop self-determination/control.
Lev Vygotsky’s key idea about the construction of consciousness is based on how we learn; learning takes place through the collaboration of the novice with an adult member of the culture using some artefact to allow the novice to complete some operation they need to become a competent member of the society. That artefact may be a sign or any other kind of useful thing provided by society for the achievement of social ends, or a role-model (a symbol, index or icon, in Peirce’s categorisation of signs). The child learns to coordinate their own activity using the artefact, and then gradually internalises that activity so that the use of a objective thing, spoken word, etc., may no longer be necessary, but is taken over by internal functions within their own body.

The essential components of this learning action are the individual child, the artefact and the ‘representative’ of society, who sets tasks for the child and assists them in achieving the tasks using the artefact. As the learning proceeds, the material thing, the artefact, is transformed into a kind of node within the psyche, a ‘psychological tool’. At this point, the learner has acquired the competency of an adult member of the society (skipping over here the long drawn out series of transformations that takes place during the process of internalisation or appropriation) so that the distinction between the material and mental aspects of the element of culture is secondary and relative; the artefact is an ‘ideal’ or ‘universal’. The outcome is not the insertion of the ideal into some kind of mental substance, but rather the restructuring of the nervous system with the individual coordinating their activity by means of the ideal, which remains an element of material culture. When we talk of activity then, we are talking of the coordination of the purposive activity of two or more individuals in some kind of social practice by means of socially constructed signs. This includes the coordination by the individual of their own body so as to act in relation to the entire society and its culture, irrespective of the immediate presence of any other person. In the limiting case of such activity then, the person acts in relation to their own body as a cultural product.

Peter E Jones criticizes Vygotsky's approach as being uncritical to the assumptions of the sources of linguistics which he appropriated for his research.
Such as his view that inner language is simply social language that one has learnt from adults but because its from the position of the subject, it doesn't require certain words already known to the subject. Such that inner language is simply shortened social language.
From ‘external speech’ to ‘inner speech’ in Vygotsky: A critical appraisal and fresh perspectives
I'm not sure how much in tension it is with my readings of Andy Blunden's research on concepts, where the meaning of the same material 'sign' is somewhat relatively stable but not homogeneous and simple. Because the complexity of which is based within certain collaborative projects.

The process of internalization as summarized by vygotsky:
We take two ends of torn tissue and at first stitch it together with thread. Because of this, the two ends of tissue unite and they become spliced.Then the thread, preliminarily introduced, can be withdrawn and instead of an artificial connection, there is a union without a seam
this is the seam that splices the given stimulus and the reaction. Gradually the seam disappears and a direct connection is formed between the stimulus and the reaction ... The operation is converted from a mediated to a direct operation.

Where as Peter E Jones describes the situation where he uses a sheet to practice saxophone and how the sheet is the 'sign' which mediates his activity until the point its no longer the sheet but the sensations of his fingers and ears towards the instrument itself that become the 'sign'.
But he speaks that the 'sign' here disappears rather than gets internalized. A difference is that when I think of Andy Blunden's work in the CHAT tradition, it is emphasis of the individual's activity within some larger social formation, the larger project gives meaning to their actions and motives of those actions.
Where as here Peter E Jones seems focused on the individual learning and emphasizes the meaning or sense they have of a thing as an act of individual creativity to some predicament they face.
What has happened to the significance of the diagram? Where has its sign hood gone? I think we can see that it would not make much sense to say, for instance, that the diagram as a sign has been ‘internalized’, since the signs I create in forming the notes are now wholly tactile rather than visual. If anything it would make more sense to say that the sign hood of the diagram has been ousted, removed.9

Thus, while there would be no particular objection in principle to taking the role of the diagram as a case of ‘semiotic mediation’ of activity in the Vygotskian sense (Wertsch, 1985; Daniels, 2008), my interpretation of that role, and its evolution, is quite different in certain respects. In the account given here, it is, first of all, the saxophone player who is responsible for whatever semiotic value the diagram gains within the fingering action. Secondly, the role played by the diagram is essentially that of providing an initial guide to the desired outcome, while in actually getting to that outcome (with the diagram’shelp) and experiencing that outcome the player creates the haptic and auditory signs necessary for direct engagement with the instrument itself, as well as the growing sensitivity to and facility for such direct sign-forming with and on the instrument. The ‘mediating’ role of the diagram, then, does not persist beyond the initial familiarization with the instrument; it is not ‘internalized’ as a semiotic resource but replaced.

At the same time of course, it would be quite wrong to think of any of the signs I create to integrate my playing activity as‘inner’ or ‘mental’ phenomena. The phenomena that I will endow with significance in my activity are not inside my head but things that I can feel and hear out there as I grapple with the instrument. To play the instrument well I need to be able to read it. But to read it I have to engage with it, relate to it, in very particular, practical ways. The facility, coming with long practice,to play an instrument expertly is not, therefore, an ability to manipulate inner symbolic forms which are then somehow con-verted into movements of the fingers, arms, lips and lungs; on the contrary, it is an ability to make the materials, objects, and processes we engage with speak to us as we engage with them; it is an ability to make these things serve as ‘links in the chain’of our action. But to do so, we must re-make ourselves in the process.

Furthermore, as my fingering and my general handling of the instrument improve I find I’m no longer aware of how I get my fingers in the right position – my playing action is guided by what I hear and how what I feel meshes with what I hear.10 I find I can now recognize notes that I hear and can play them directly and that I can sing the note I read on the stave. The sign-forming activity involved in playing the instrument is progressively reconstructed and reconstituted.
FOOTNOTE: Furthermore, in my account there is certainly no ‘transition of an external operation inward’ but replacement of one sign-making activity by another
This ‘semiotic of activity’, then, is tobe found not in the translation of verbal (or non verbal) meanings into physical actions but in the relationship, a dynamically changing one, between active agents and the things they work with as they act.11

But this seems amicable to the point of Ilyenkov of emphasis on knowledge as not just knowing a symbol, but in being able to reproduce the activity associated with a thing. This shows knowledge of the object rather than of grammar, semantics and so on.
And this is in fact how I imagined Marx's point about developing a human ear or eye, that it's the connection between the physical process of doing a thing in relation to theory ie praxis.
Peter E Jones integrationism seems a particularly Wittgenstein-esque view where the signs are meaningful primarily in their use within some specific activity.
Although I worry that like Wittgenstein this doesn't suffice for the stability of meaning within society at larger perhaps although it does emphasize the nuance and context in which we should be sensitive to in regards to concepts.
The early paragraphs of “Philosophical Investigations” are set in the context of people collaborating in constructing a building, and the interlocutors make sense of each other’s words thanks to the fact that they are engaged in the same activity. In §23 he says:

the term ‘language-game’ is meant to bring into prominence the fact that the speaking of language is part of an activity, or of a form of life (Wittgenstein 1953 §23).

And this is the point. It is these extra-discursive activities which provide the ends towards which word meanings are oriented. Concepts are located within shared activities and forms of life, not just the transitory uses of words. A million disparate actions are required to build a house, but the meaning of all these actions is house building and derivative concepts (in the sense that Kuhn talks of normal science as derivative of a paradigm). Here is the real problem which Wittgenstein does not address.

Concepts are discursively constructed prior to any given utterance and have relative stability. We could not suppose that an environment (such as a building site) is sufficient for all the interlocutors to understand the activity they are engaged in, so that they are able to construe appropriate meanings to others’ words. That ‘context’ has to be evoked discursively. But everything about constructing a building: the various building elements, the skills and processes, the division of labour, plans and so on, pre-exist any given utterance or any of the actions which contribute to finally constructing a building.

Wittgenstein does not help us understand what it is in those activities and forms of life which create and maintain the concepts which allow language to be meaningful. The uttering of a word is a momentary, transient event, and it is surely only the activity and form of life of which it is a part which confers meaning on words, expressions and gestures?

I think Holzman and Newman had it right when they described “Wittgenstein’s work as therapy – for philosophers, whose obsession with philosophical problems is their pathology” (Newman & Holzman, 2006: 177).

So I am skeptical whether Peter E Jones has properly dealt with the Hegelian tradition in regards to the stability of meanings, the universal. Where with Wittgeinstein it seems he emphasizes the particular or limitedly social.
Each of these three Immediate Concepts are made absolute by certain theories of the concept. Plato for instance believed that Universals exist, although not in a spatio-temporal sense, nevertheless, independently of human activity and the symbols by means of which Universals are represented in activity. The intersubjective theory of Robert R. Williams sees concepts entirely constructed by intersubjective actions, leaving no place for symbols or artefacts of any kind, whilst Franz Brentano allowed that only individual things exist. Although none of the Immediate Concepts have stability or can stand up to scrutiny, each is involved in the process of a concept and the immediate concept will always take one or the other of these forms, according to conditions, until forms of mediation develop. We see this when one theory of concepts is abandoned in favour of another, without attempting to interconnect the different theories in a mediating process.

But at the same time I haven't the knowledge to really criticize Peter E Jones' position and need to focus more on the ideality of Ilyenkov and the concepts of Vygotstky.
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By Wellsy
So a prominent point made by Ilyenkov as a continuation of Marx's sense of value as both ideal but objective is that ideality isn't simply a property of the individual consciousness although this is where it is experienced, as is all of reality. Distinction being between subjectively experiencing things not being equal to what is subjective.
Before discussing the concept itself we must first consider the terms “ideal” and “ideality”, that is to say, we must first define the range of phenomena to which these terms may be applied, without analysing the essence of these phenomena at this point.

Even this is not an easy task because usage in general, and scientific usage in particular, is always something derivative of that very “understanding of the essence of the question” whose exposition our definition is intended to serve. The difficulty is by no means peculiar to the given case. It arises whenever we discuss fairly complex matters regarding which there is no generally accepted interpretation and, consequently, no clear definition of the limits of the object under discussion. In such cases discussion on the point at issue turns into an argument about the “meaning of the term”, the limits of a particular designation and, hence, about the formal attributes of phenomena that have to be taken into consideration in a theoretical examination of the essence of the question.

Returning to the subject of the “ideal”, it must be acknowledged that the word “ideal” is used today mainly as a synonym for “conceivable”, as the name for phenomena that are “immanent in the consciousness”, phenomena that are represented, imagined or thought. If we accept this fairly stable connotation, it follows that there is no point in talking about any “ideality” of phenomena existing outside human consciousness. Given this definition, everything that exists “outside the consciousness” and is perceived as existing outside it is a material and only a material object.

At first sight this use of the term seems to be the only reasonable one. But this is only at first sight.

Of course, it would be absurd and quite inadmissible from the standpoint of any type of materialism to talk about anything “ideal” where no thinking individual (“thinking” in the sense of “mental” or “brain” activity) is involved. “Ideality” is a category inseparably linked with the notion that human culture, human life activity is purposeful and, therefore, includes the activity of the human brain, consciousness and will. This is axiomatic and Marx, when contrasting his position regarding the “ideal” to Hegel’s view, writes that the ideal is “nothing else than the material world reflected by the human mind, and translated into forms of thought”. [Capital, Afterword.]

It does not follow from this, however, that in the language of modern materialism the term “ideal” equals “existing in the consciousness”, that it is the name reserved for phenomena located in the head, in the brain tissue, where, according to the ideas of modern science, “consciousness” is realised.

In Capital Marx defines the form of value in general as “purely ideal” not on the grounds that it exists only “in the consciousness”, only in the head of the commodity-owner, but on quite opposite grounds. The price or the money form of value, like any form of value in general, is IDEAL because it is totally distinct from the palpable, corporeal form of commodity in which it is presented, we read in the chapter on “Money”. [Capital, Vol. I, pp. 98-99.]

In other words, the form of value is IDEAL, although it exists outside human consciousness and independently of it.

This use of the term may perplex the reader who is accustomed to the terminology of popular essays on materialism and the relationship of the material to the “ideal”. The ideal that exists outside people’s heads and consciousness, as something completely objective, a reality of a special kind that is independent of their consciousness and will, invisible, impalpable and sensuously imperceptible, may seem to them something that is only “imagined”, something “suprasensuous”.

The difference arises I suspect on the basis of a fundamentally different ontology where following Hegel, man is considered as a social being rather than as an individual posed against nature.
Although Nature is always the starting point, Hegel has shifted the focus from relations between human individuals and the material world outside of thought and human life, to the relations between human beings, each other and their own culture. Cultural products are constructed from Nature which remains the ultimate source of human needs, but the understanding of human life means making that life the centre of attention. People living as individuals in Nature is an impossible myth and cannot function as the presupposition for philosophy. Our relation to Nature is mediated by a division of labour within the community and means of production. In Hegel’s terminology, what mediates between the individual person and Nature is Geist (Spirit) or in the terminology of this very early work, the Idea, made up of collaborative forms of activity, a constellation of artefacts and human beings themselves.

Epistemology was posed initially in terms of the relation between the consciousness of an individual and Nature outside of and independently of human activity, and presented intractable problems. When posed in terms of the relation of individuals to their own culture, the situation is transformed. Of course people understand how their own culture works. How could they not, for ‘understanding’ is nothing other than formulating an idea in the terms of one’s own culture? The point then becomes the deeper understanding of the dynamics of culture and the relation of individuals to their own culture and that of others.

The point being that we come to know things not only through our individual activity but socially, even in our isolated activities.
Further, Pragmatism, as an American doctrine, is tied to individual experience, and it is here that it parts company most decisively with Marxism, which understands practice above all as socially mediated activity. Even individual practice mobilises the entire available culture in even the simplest practical act, using the available tools, to ends provided by the culture, understood with language provded by the culture with senses trained by a life within society. No practice therefore is genuinely individual. The individualist character of Pragmatism leads to an unduly dismissive attitude to social constructs (ideas, ethics, language, productive forces), and supports a somewhat short-sighted and unprincipled rationale for practice: thus the meaning associated with Pragmatism in day-to-day language.
“But also when I am active scientifically, etc. – an activity which I can seldom perform in direct community with others – then my activity is social, because I perform it as a man. Not only is the material of my activity given to me as a social product (as is even the language in which the thinker is active): my own existence is social activity, and therefore that which I make of myself, I make of myself for society and with the consciousness of myself as a social being.”1

So even though our piano tuner works alone her labor is social because it is part of a much larger social organization of labor extending beyond the piano to encompass all of society. The materials which she uses (wrench, tuning fork) and the material she works on (piano) are all products of other people’s labor. Furthermore, the language she uses (equal-tempered tuning) is a social creation, the product of centuries of development. And the art of piano-tuning itself is an art which has developed over time through the labor of thousands upon thousands of other tuners. Each piano that she tunes supports the labor of piano players and teachers in her city as well as the training of future pianists. To be a piano tuner is to be a part of this much larger development and organization of labor. Thus, her “own existence is a social activity,” and “that which she makes for herself she also makes for society.”

The emphasis here which isn't as emphasized in other schools of thought is that of aretfacts and their significance within inherited activities/projects.
This is where Vygotsky’s Marxist (Cultural-Historical) Psychology and Alexei Leontyev’s Activity Theory depart form Pragmatism. The central thesis of Marxist psychology is that all activity is mediated, generally by artefacts such as words, money, tools, other people or organisations, etc. The central role given to the mediating subject is reflected in Marxists’ concern with the labour process, ownership of the means of production, historical development of the forces of prduction, the state and political leadership in the formation of social consciousness.

This is perhaps partly why Peter E Jones approach seems to take the social as an inherently creative act. which I think holds true to a point as people don't perfectly replicate cultural norms and practices and are faced with tasks they're unprepared for.
The view in which the ideal isn't in a sense already out there in the world established in the material aretfacts that we use for our activities/projects.

See this particularly in pragmatism which seems on par with the emphasis of language meaning as use. But as noted earlier, doesn't really give significance to the material culture except as a temporary part of some confined task.
But this can downplay the significance of human artefacts and the continuity/stability of their meaning.
The metaphor of judge-made law cited above, which is a pragmatic rendering of Hegel’s conception of sprit, by disposing of the need for a pre-existing principle governing the development of new propositions, seems to justify the idea that the whole process of cultural and historical development can be rendered as interactions between individuals. But this does not stand up. The process depends essentially on the availability of the precedents, the body of enacted law and all the legal principles which exist in the form of documents. These documents are crucial mediating artefacts which regulate the development of the common law. The idea that the judge is able to make explicit what was merely implicit in the previous decisions is an attractive and eminently Hegelian idea. But it presupposes that these documented decisions act as mediating elements in the development of law, not to mention the entire material culture which supports the way of life in which the decisions are made by judges and enforced by a state.

A proposition appears to be something created and enacted in the moment when two people interact, but neither the language used in the interaction nor the concepts which are embedded in the language are created de novo in that interaction. The words and concepts relied upon in any interaction “are always already there in the always alreadyup-and-running communal linguistic practices into which I enter as a young one” (Brandom 2009: 73). Through the provision of these artefacts, every linguistic interaction is mediated by the concepts of the wider community.
As participants in a shared culture there are concepts which are “always already-up-and-running.” This mediating element is something not created by the interaction (although every interaction maintains and modifies the culture). The mediating structure exists independently of any single interaction and is a ‘larger’ unit, being a property or aspect of the entire community of which the partners to interaction are a part. Concepts belong to this larger unit, and are evoked in the interactions and thinking of individuals as mediating elements. This stands in contradiction to Brandom’s efforts to found his inferentialism and his reading of Hegel exclusively in actions. It is as if actions and interactions (such as uttering a proposition, recognising another individual, committing oneself to a concept, etc.) can exist prior to and independently of the cultural constellations and social formations which mediate individuals’ actions and from which actions draw their meaning.

As such, it can end up looking like a kind of narrow intersubjectivity.
The aim of pragmatism is to do away with recourse to abstractions or universals deemed to have some kind of objective existence independently of the activity of human beings. The distinction between ‘broad’ and ‘narrow’ pragmatism is as follows: —

Narrow pragmatism aims to explain everything solely by means of the solitary use of objects by individuals and essentially unmediated interactions between individuals. This reduces social life and history to a gigantic chain reaction, a discrete series of events without any kind of continuity binding them together other than what is in the individuals themselves. The idea that meaning is renegotiated anew with each interaction between individuals overlooks both the fact that meaning is already vested in culturally inherited artefacts, and that as material things, relations inhering in an artefact transcend the intentions of the individuals using it. This narrow pragmatism corresponds to the spirit of liberalism which was given its canonical expression by Johann Fichte (1796).

Broad pragmatism, on the other hand, understands that all interactions are mediated. Mediation between subjects depends on the prior existence of a material culture which is subject to interpretation and use in common projects or conflicts. Human life is possible thanks to the use of this shared culture, inherited and modified by each generation. It is this role of material culture which is systematically ignored by Robert Williams and by liberalism in general, narrow pragmatism in particular.
To justify these charges, I should first clarify why I see the concept of ‘intersubjectivity’ as problematic. Its current usage in social philosophy is new. Earlier in the twentieth century, Pragmatists such as Mead and Dewey, and epistemologists such as Karl Popper, used ‘intersubjective’ to refer to meaning whose validity falls short of ‘objective’ (which could be taken to imply a standpoint beyond human society), but is nonetheless shared between all relevant ‘subjects’: neither objective nor simply subjective, but intersubjective. For Williams and other proponents of recognition theory, ‘intersubjective’ refers to what is constructed by interactions between individuals alone. That is, its meaning is narrowly pragmatic and directed specifically against notions for which meaning entails some third, mediating element, whether ‘metaphysical’ entities such as spirit, matter or nature, or entities like language, means of production or social context which are simply seen either as derivative or as epiphenomena. The intentions are wise, but the direction taken is misguided.
Implicit in the notion of ‘intersubjectivity’ is that a ‘subject’ is something which is capable of touching or immediately interacting with another subject, essentially without the mediation of material elements such as the body, the sense media, artefacts or processes such as spoken words, gesture, force and so on, not to mention literature, the mass media, legislation and so on. Such a conception is intelligible only if these material elements and processes are not given an essential role in the relation, but either discounted as trivial and relegated to the instrumental status of background, natural resources, or subsumed into the respective subjects.

It brings me back to trying to consider the mediating role of the universal which is typically denied by modern nominalism based in the rise of the capitalist class where there is no recourse to shared meaning/community but only the mediating role of property and individual desire.
Thus, the social bases of liberalism are two-fold: the raising of property to the status of the primary social relation, and the loss of community, the loss of the capacity to appeal to or rely upon shared meaning beyond the satisfaction of individual desire.

MacIntyre uses an analysis of the use of place names in foreign countries to point out the difference between a place name for the inhabitants of an area where the name has multiple shared meanings and connotations, and the use of either same name in the context of a foreign language, or the use of a foreign name. For a foreigner, the place name is nothing but a reference pointing to a spatial location, having lost all the connotations and layers of meaning present when a native-speaker utters the name. He refers to this impoverished kind of meaning as “reference.” Nominalism is thus the characteristic epistemology of liberal society.

To which there are sophisticated forms of nominalism which may stand up against crude arguments.
Methodological nominalism denies that the world contains any other entities but individuals and, consequently, refuses to acknowledge that universal statements have an ‘independent cognitive value’. They are reports in a shorthand notation of what in principle can be fully described by a finite or an infinite conjunction of singular statements. Nominalism is a set of semantical, logical, and methodological rules of describing the world as composed solely of individuals. Properties and relations are inseparable from things to which they belong and are not independent ontological categories. The rules of nominalism do not imply, as some Marxist-Leninists suggested, that a nominalist must abandon the use of general words altogether. For the use of general words does not compel the nominalist to the acceptance of abstract objects whose existence he denies, if he can show that they are in principle expendable, that is, that they are introduced as convenient fictions or abbreviated manners of speaking.

But the denial of universals seems to be based on the lack of mediation by social/particular institutions between the universal and individuals.
As well as the conception of only abstract generals/universals which are arbitrary and indeed don't reflect existing things but really is the assortment of the mind as opposed to a concrete universal/basic unit of analysis/unity of opposites/germ cell.

A viewpoint that follows from Goethe's romantic science as opposed to positivist science, where the simplest idea also corresponds to an empirical entity.
And the world isn't divided between the sensuous and pure reason, for which reason remains dead and sterile unable to provide a logic for the dynamic actuality.
As chronicled in his Italian Journey of 1786-7 (1788/1989), Goethe developed the concept of Urphänomen in letters to Herder. He studied the plants by making botanical sketches of them and sensuously familiarising himself with all the variations of what he took to be the same basic archetype. All plants, he believed, were a realisation, according to conditions, of an underlying form which he called the Urpflanze. Even though the Urpflanze is an image rather than a form of words, it is to be understood as the concept of plant, what it is that makes something a plant rather than something else. Goethe sought to determine this concept by sustained sensory attention to plants in all their variety.

In July 1794, both Goethe (1996) and Schiller had been attending a lecture at the Jena Scientific Society and as the audience filed out, the two poets found themselves embarrassed to be left facing one another. Embarrassed, because much to the frustration of their mutual friends, Goethe had been refusing to speak to Schiller because he felt that since Schiller had “rapturously embraced” the Kantian philosophy, he had been betraying his art, approaching Nature subjectively, “from the standpoint of so many human traits,” rather than “actively observing Nature’s own manner of creating.” Conversation could not be avoided however, and when Schiller remarked that the current “mangled methods of regarding Nature would only repel the lay person who might otherwise take an interest,” Goethe readily agreed, adding that “there might be another way of considering Nature, not piecemeal and isolated but actively at work, as she proceeds from the whole to the parts.”.. And so the pair conversed as they made their way home together. By the time they reached Schiller’s house, Goethe found himself expounding his observations of the metamorphosis of plants, and to illustrate a point made a quick sketch on a piece of paper. “But,” Schiller retorted, “this is not an empirical experience, it is an idea,” drawing upon Kant’s distinction between the faculties of sensation and reason. Goethe fought hard to suppress his rising anger, and politely remarked: “How splendid that I have ideas without knowing it, and can see them before my very eyes.” Thus Goethe drew Schiller’s attention to the unsolved problem in the Kantian philosophy of the objective sources of conceptual knowledge. Then ensued a decade of close friendship and collaboration until Schiller’s death in 1805.

But whilst insisting on the sensuous character of the Urphänomen, Goethe was also adamant that the Urphänomen represented the idea of the genus (1988: 118), not its contingent attributes (1996: 103), and was not arrived at by the abstraction of common attributes, but on the contrary by the discarding of everything accidental (1996: 105). Further, Goethe took the Urphänomen to be the starting point for the scientific understanding of the whole relevant process. The discovery of the Urphänomen is the outcome of a protracted period of reflection; in his ‘delicate empiricism’, Goethe emphasised the importance of sustained contemplation and observation of the object, before discovery of the Urphänomen would be possible. So determination of the Urphänomen marks a nodal point in the development of a science, and a transition from reflection and being-with the object, until a certain aperçu makes possible the leap to an abstract representation of the complex whole in the form of an archetype. After this leap, the development of the science takes the form of an unfolding of what is already implicit in the Urphänomen. For example, Goethe boasted (1788/1989: 256) that he could invent an infinite variety of plants from his Urpflanze.
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By Wellsy
Something Peter E Jones seems strongly positioned for is the emphasis of ideality as a specific phenomenon under investigation rather than ideal as a more general category. Where some concieve of it so broadly as to seemingly make a mistake between use-value of a thing with it's ideal qualities, as in the case of an commodity under capitalist relations, it's exchange value.
The ideal seems to perhaps be akin to some other material thing as represented by another material thing as exemplified in Marx's analysis of the commodity relation.
Spoiler: show
For example, the name “Peter” is in its sensuously perceived bodily form absolutely unlike the real Peter, the person it designates, or the sensuously represented image of Peter which other people have of him. The relationship is the same between the gold coin and the goods that can be bought with it, goods (commodities), whose universal representative is the coin or (later) the banknote. The coin represents not itself but “another” in the very sense in which a diplomat represents not his own person but his country, which has authorised him to do so. The same may be said of the word, the verbal symbol or sign, or any combination of such signs and the syntactical pattern of this combination.

This relationship of representation is a relationship in which one sensuously perceived thing performs the role or function of representative of quite another thing, and, to be even more precise, the universal nature of that other thing, that is, something “other” which in sensuous, bodily terms is quite unlike it, and it was this relationship that in the Hegelian terminological tradition acquired the title of “ideality”.
This is why the form of value or value-form is ideal, that is to say, it is something quite different from the palpable form of the thing in which it is represented, expressed, “embodied”, “alienated”.

What is this “other”, this difference, which is expressed or represented here? People’s consciousness? Their will? By no means. On the contrary, both will and consciousness are determined by this objective ideal form, and the thing that it expresses, “represents” is a definite social relationship between people which in their eyes assumes the fantastic form of a relationship between things.

In other words, what is “represented” here as a thing is the form of people’s activity, the form of life activity which they perform together, which has taken shape “behind the back of consciousness” and is materially established in the form of the relationship between things described above.

This and only this creates the ideality of such a “thing”, its sensuous-supersensuous character.

Here ideal form actually does stand in opposition to individual consciousness and individual will as the form of the external thing (remember Kant’s talers) and is necessarily perceived precisely as the form of the external thing, not its palpable form, but as the form of another equally palpable thing that it represents, expresses, embodies, differing, however, from the palpable corporeality of both things and having nothing in common with their sensuously perceptible physical nature. What is embodied and “represented” here is a definite form of labour, a definite form of human objective activity, that is to say, the transformation of nature by social man.

It is here that we find the answer to the riddle of “ideality”. Ideality, according to Marx, is nothing else but the form of social human activity represented in the thing. Or, conversely, the form of human activity represented as a thing, as an object.

“Ideality” is a kind of stamp impressed on the substance of nature by social human life activity, a form of the functioning of the physical thing in the process of this activity. So all the things involved in the social process acquire a new “form of existence” that is not included in their physical nature and differs from it completely – their ideal form.
Consequently, it is impossible to equate ‘ideality’ - what Bakhurst elsewhere refers to as ‘non-material properties’ (op.cit: 175) - directly with the socio-historically formed functioning of useful artifacts, tools, instruments of labour etc which consists of setting their ‘mechanical, physical and chemical properties’ to work, something a natural-scientific account could, indeed, capture. In short, ‘ideality’ does not mean use or function in general.

Thirdly, there is a problem with Bakhurst’s interpretation of Ilyenkov’s ‘representation’. Artifacts do not as a general rule represent the activity to which they owe their existence and in which they function: the mechanical digger, or the power station do not ‘represent’ the digging process or the process of generation of electricity; they do not ‘stand for’ anything else in that process but are simply used (and, indeed, used up) as instruments without any kind of ‘representative’ function at all. This does not preclude the possibility that such artefacts may have an additional symbolic function: there may be some symbols or an insignia on the digger, or some aspect of its design may serve to represent the company that manufactured it etc. In that case a number of functions intersect simultaneously in the body of the artifact. But these functions are logically, and philosophically distinct: when the digger digs it does so by virtue of its mechanical and physical, ie purely material, action on the object; when it represents the company it does so by virtue of a purely conventionally established, ‘ideal’ relationship between it and the company, a relationship in which it has, materially, nothing in common with what it represents. Consequently, while Bakhurst’s exposition draws on essential features of Ilyenkov’s concept of the ideal - the idea of function within human aim-oriented life-activity and the concept of ‘representation’ - it ends up, I submit, by over-extending the concept to artifacts in general.

But ideality isn't synonymous with language although it is a material means of it as are all sorts of other signs/symbols and as such examination of language does not suffice to explain ideality when in isolation.
Ideality is not the whole of culture but ‘an aspect of culture, one of its dimensions, determining factors, properties’ (Ilyenkov, 1977b, p. 96) although the concept extends to a much broader class of phenomena than language:

"the image is objectivised not only in words, and may enter into the system of socially evolved knowledge not only in its verbal expression. The image is objectivised just as well (and even more directly) in sculptural, graphic and plastic forms and in the form of the routine-ritual ways of dealing with things and people, so that it is expressed not only in words, in speech and language, but also in drawings, models and such symbolic objects as coats of arms, banners, dress, utensils, or as money, including gold coins and paper money, IOUs, bonds or credit notes" (1977b: 79).

However, it would be wrong to simply and directly equate ideality as a phenomenon with words or other symbolic objects, since their ideality is due entirely to those forms of practical social activity with which they are indissolubly connected and integrated (albeit in highly mediated fashion).21 The ideal is not in the word or in connections between words (in ‘discourse’) for ‘language of itself is as little ideal as the neuro-physiological structure of the brain. It is only the form of expression of the ideal, its material-objective being’ (Ilyenkov, 1974/1977a, pp 262-263). A person who ‘operates with symbols or with tokens and not with objects, relying on symbols and tokens’, he emphasises, ‘does not act on the ideal plane but only on the verbal plane’ (1974/1977a, p.274). Indeed, ‘it very often happens’, he argues, that ‘instead of discovering the real essence of things by means of terms, the individual sees only the terms themselves with their traditional meanings, sees only the symbol and its sensuously perceived body’, in which case ‘the linguistic symbol is transformed from an instrument of real activity into a fetish, blocking off with its body the reality that it represents’ (p. 274). Ideality, then, is not a thing but an aspect of activity, to be found not in words but in the use of words in the actual doing of something.

But I also wonder about this ideal 'image' in the mind as somehow based being the motive need of an activity.
Production, then, is also immediately consumption, consumption is also immediately production. Each is immediately its opposite. But at the same time a mediating movement takes place between the two. Production mediates consumption; it creates the latter’s material; without it, consumption would lack an object. But consumption also mediates production, in that it alone creates for the products the subject for whom they are products. The product only obtains its last finish in consumption. A railway on which no trains run, hence which is not used up, not consumed, is a railway only δυνάμει, [13] and not in reality. Without production, no consumption; but also, without consumption, no production; since production would then be purposeless. Consumption produces production in a double way, (1) because a product becomes a real product only by being consumed. For example, a garment becomes a real garment only in the act of being worn; a house where no one lives is in fact not a real house; thus the product, unlike a mere natural object, proves itself to be, becomes, a product only through consumption. Only by decomposing the product does consumption give the product the finishing touch; for the product is production not as [14] objectified activity, but rather only as object for the active subject; (2) because consumption creates the need for new production, that is it creates the ideal, internally impelling cause for production, which is its presupposition. Consumption creates the motive for production; it also creates the object which is active in production as its determinant aim. If it is clear that production offers consumption its external object, it is therefore equally clear that consumption ideally posits the object of production as an internal image, as a need, as drive and as purpose. It creates the objects of production in a still subjective form. No production without a need. But consumption reproduces the need.
needWe must study how and why it is that in the course of the social production of objects to satisfy their needs, people also produce a whole world of special objects, termed ideal. These have a unique mediating function within that system of productive activity, consisting in their embodying directly, in their representing, the intrinsic course, purpose and logic primarily of productive activity and ultimately of all aspects of social life. Consequently, the ideal ‘has a purely social nature and origin’ (Ilyenkov, 1977b, p. 87) since it is ‘the form of social man’s activity’ (1974/1977a, p. 265) grounded essentially in the labour process itself. Ideality thus forms a dialectically differentiated moment within human social productive activity seen as a whole.

Later on Jones discusses how the architects plans for a house is the ideal form of a house and is but a moment in the process of realizing this subjective need. But the idea is a true idea even if the house itself isn't built because the house could be built to the plans themselves. Ideas which only arbitrarily touch on parts of an object but don't capture the means of their realization aren't as true as the latter, true ideas relate to activity, the means to objectify it. Otherwise it is indeed the whims of the imagination but such desires do become objectified parts of society in the realization of it's needs. And so the process of labour to satisfy ourselves has become more complex and elaborate as we have developed more elaborate and complex needs.

The above example of the architect plans sounds like it's reduced to the function and use of say the plans, but the significance of it, the ideality is not a physical property.
It is important to note that everything that is ideal is also material; conversely, almost every material thing we know has ideal properties – material and ideal are not opposites in that sense. Nonetheless, one and the same material object may have ideal properties (the value of a coin, the meaning of a word, the scale of a map) and material properties (the weight of the coin, the sound of the word, the size of the map). But the ideal properties are independent of the material properties which determined by natural processes, while the ideal properties are determined by social practices and norms of human social life. If we were to look for an opposite to ‘ideal’ it would be ‘natural’. ‘Natural’ means not a product of human activity, whereas ‘ideal’ refers only to properties produced by human activity.

Just as we distinguish between sign and signified, because the word itself as a material thing has nothing within itself of what it is used to convey in conversation. Which has me wonder if Andy Blunden's research on Concepts by appropriating Hegel and Vygotsky might have some relation to ideality in that our concepts are rather complex and not just products of the mind but capture the relativity of the subject object relation like how the archietects idealization of the house in his plans are true to the real existing house that can be built and used/consumed from it.
As concepts aren't simply images, but seem to be some sort of solution to past predicaments that become fossilized having lost sight of their origins and the process of their development.
The British empiricists were a sort to have a very impoverished view of concepts and were uncritical to them for which they were mocked by Hegel as thinking of ideas as some type of image of the sensuous world for which a dog could be said to have a concept of a dog when they perceive one.
Hardly the mind of a developed adult human.
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By Wellsy
To continue my gripe with the emphasis on language in terms of it's use and this not resolving the issue of the stability and continuity of culture itself which pre-exists any particular individual and may well outlast them.
But language-use cannot constitute an activity by itself. Speech, including written speech, if it is to be meaningful, must be directed towards the realisation of some volitional task, which in turn can only be meaningful only to the extent to which it furthers some project or resolves some problem arising in social practice, ultimately beyond language-use.
Thus, the processes connecting thought and words are extremely complex and dynamic. Equally, the relation between actual word-use in the course of social interaction, and the concepts for which the words are signs, is extremely complex and dynamic. But concepts are activities which transcend the immediate context in which words are used, just as the actions by means of which any project is realised are meaningful only in the light of the project being realised. A house is built by a bewildering variety of disparate actions and interactions, which nonetheless make sense as part of the completion of the house. The relation between any activity and the component actions through which it is realised is complex, and so is the relation between word meaning and concept. A concept is only really understood when we can identify its source, and the relation of all the actions by means of which it is realised will make sense.

We can observe the development of word meaning, a unit of thinking, and “psychologically, the development of concepts and the development of word meaning are one and the same process” (LSVCW v.1: 180), remembering that “thought is always something whole” (LSVCW v.1: 281), we can surmise that concepts are units of thought. The relation between a word meaning and a concept is the same as that between an action and an activity.

The unit (or aggregate of units that comprise the content of the thinking during the transitional age), the simplest action with which the intellect of the adolescent operates, is, of course, not a representation, but a concept (LSVCW v.5: 50).
By means of finite interactions with people and artefacts which are part of a definite cultural-historical society, the child gradually learns the ways of this society and very soon develops their own will, their own life-goals, and goes on to become a full and equal member of the society. The key insight to be taken from this is that interaction between two individuals is not in itself sufficient to reconstruct the social life of the community, that is, to appropriate true concepts. True concepts can be acquired through a person collaborating with another person only thanks to the collaborative use of an artefact, usually, but by no means only, words.

The fact that archaeologists are able to reconstruct in their minds almost the entire life-world of a long-dead ancient society by the study of artefacts recovered from the soil, is evidence enough of the fact that artefacts and not just words are bearers of concepts. The activities which characterise almost any institution depend on the use of artefacts provided through an elaborate division of labour. Such activities cannot exist without these artefacts, and in turn leave their mark on the artefacts.
The artefact bears the stamp of the whole social organism which had given birth to it and at the same time enables and constrains the actions for which it can be used, according to the expectations and practices of the source culture.
At the same time, Vygotsky has shown how our concepts are shaped by participation in the life of a real community, in whose words, material culture and social practices, the resolution of all the contradictions which have arisen in the evolution of the life of that community are sublated. Thus Vygotsky has shown us what it is which is represented by a concept, namely situations which have arisen in social practice and found their resolution in the further development of that social practice, and transmitted via words and their meanings.

It does seem that the Wittgenstein position takes note of the existing context and activity in order to make sense of language use.
But they seem to be strongly concerned with language itself, but de-emphasize the role of aretfacts, of which symbols are but one of many, as the material culture in which a way of life is constituted.
Such that the needs of an individual is always in relation to the social world, and is never strictly emergent from the individual.
I may have the same desire as primitive man to eat, but the social form in which I satisfy my hunger is quite different.
Where I work for money in order to exchange that money for food products or services (takeway) and proceed to eat it with utensils at my home.
My needs are more socially developed because I live in a world that is more developed by man than by primitive man.
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By Wellsy
An emphasis to remind myself of is that ideality is about the ideal forms which play a role in human activity as opposed to any ideal thought.
Marxist philosophy makes it possible, on the one hand, to show the active role of the subject in the ideal reproduction of the object, the part played in this process by ideal constructions, the devising of patterns, models, abstract objects, etc., and, on the other hand, to understand theory itself as a pattern of potential means of operating With the object. This is not to say that any theoretical operation may be interpreted as a possible form of practical activity because the majority of theoretical operations have no immediate practical significance (their objects-ideal, abstract, etc.-can be presented only in symbolic form). Theory provides possible means of practical activity to the extent to which the ideal operations used in creating it can be linked with direct practical operations, such as operations of experimentation and measurement,
which are particularly important for the theories of natural science and endow theoretical concepts with concrete meaning. These practical operations are a special form of practice, a special way of testing and understanding theoretical scientific hypotheses. For modern works on the methodology of the natural sciences it is axiomatic that the evaluation of theoretical concepts presupposes the establishing of certain empirical dependencies by means of situations reproduced by practical experiment and also by the empirically established results of these situations (this was expressed, although in a distorted, subjectivistic form, by operationalism).

This seems to help to keep such examination of ideal forms grounded in a specific case rather than losing focus in abstract thought without qualification between fantasy and what has reality.
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By Wellsy
Adding to the emphasis on signs and such helping to organize human activities, is the point of how the ideal of the mind is something directed to an end which is not yet existent.
Aristotle, who is considered the father of psychology, wrote that “soul is an actuality or formulable essence of something that possesses a potentiality of being besouled.” In the light of that idea, the paradox of search consists in that it combines the possible and the real. Foresight as the basis of planning is the identification of the possible. In his real actions man who possesses a “soul” carries out what is capable of being carried out in reality. The construction of a possible future to predict the real activity of the subject is precisely what cannot be described or explained by the methods used in the natural sciences. It is not that they are weak in themselves – they are very powerful in their own sphere based on the type of determinism that explains phenomena and events by tracing the links between cause and effect. Due to these links, the state of an object in the past determines its present state. But man bases his actions on what may happen in the future – a future that doesn’t yet exist! In this case, the goal – an ideal image of the future, an image of what must be – determines the present and actual behaviour and state of the subject.
One must stress the great contribution to the development of that method made by the humanities which grapple with the key problems of the personality, in particular, the problem of choice. Choice exists only where there are possibilities. And it is only when there is choice that one can talk about will. Without will, there is no subject, and it is only the subject that possesses “soul” and consciousness. In the absence of this approach to reality and in the absence of these categories, one cannot get at the foundations of human activity, consciousness or personality.

This is something noted in Marx and I think relates to the ideality which Ilyenkov was theorizing.
A spider conducts operations that resemble those of a weaver, and a bee puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells. But what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is this, that the architect raises his structure in imagination before he erects it in reality. At the end of every labour-process, we get a result that already existed in the imagination of the labourer at its commencement.

And what is interesting here is the particular human quality of such actions, in which we experience ourselves as subjects against the objective world rather than in immediacy with it. Such self-consciousness seems to come in grades beginning from when we are young but much more developed as an adult.
But what is distinct here is how human beings coordinate their actions with the support of auxiliary stimuli such as signs/words, where as we use tools to master nature's properties to our desired ends, signs are the means of mastering ourselves.
This is part of the beginning of planning rather than spontateous movement and arbitrary selection of what to do based on immediate stimuli, we change ourselves fundamentally in being guided by signs (our perception changes).
We requested four- and five-year-old children to press one of five keys on a keyboard as they identified each one of a series of picture stimuli assigned to each key. Because this task exceeds the capabilities of the children, it causes serious difficulties and more intensive efforts to solve the problem. Perhaps the most remarkable result is that the entire process of selection by the child is external, and concentrated in the motor sphere, thus allowing the experimenter to observe the very nature of the choice process itself in the child’s movements. The child does her selecting while carrying out whatever movements the choice requires.

The structure of the child’s decision does not in the least resemble the adult process. Adults make a preliminary decision internally and subsequently carry out the choice in the form of a single movement that executes the plan. The child’s choice resembles a somewhat delayed selection among his own movements. Vascillations in perception are directly reflected in the structure of movement. The child’s movements are replete with diffuse gropings that interrupt and succeed one another. A mere glance at the chart tracing the child’s movements is sufficient to convince one of the basic motor nature of the process.

The main difference between the choice processes in the child and in the adult is that for the child the series of tentative movements constitute the selection process. The child does not choose the stimulus (the necessary key) as the starting point for the consequent movement but rather selects the movement, using the instruction as a guide to check the results.
Subsequent to the experiment described above we attempted to simplify the task of selection by marking each key with a corresponding sign to serve as an additional stimulus that could direct and organize the choice process. The child was asked, upon the appearance of a target stimulus, to press the key marked with the corresponding sign. As early as age five or six the child is able to fulfill this task easily. The addition of this new ingredient radically changes the structure of the choice process. The elementary, “natural” operation is replaced by a new and more complicated one. The simpler task evokes a more complexly structured response. When the child attends to the auxiliary sign in order to find the key corresponding to the given stimulus, he no longer exhibits those motor impulses that arise directly from perception. There are no uncertain groping movements in the air such as we observed in the earlier choice reaction when auxiliary aids were not used.

The use of auxiliary signs breaks up the fusion of the sensory field and the motor system and thus makes new kinds of behavior possible. A “functional barrier” is created between the initial and final moments of the choice response; the direct impulse to move is shunted by preliminary circuits. The child who formerly solved the problem impulsively now solves it through an internally established connection between the stimulus and the corresponding auxiliary sign. The movement that previously had been the choice now serves only to fulfill the prepared operation. The system of signs restructures the whole psychological process and enables the child to master her movement. It reconstructs the choice process on a totally new basis.

Movement detaches itself from direct perception and comes under the control of sign functions included in the choice response. This development represents a fundamental break with the natural history of behavior and initiates the transition from the primitive behavior of animals to the higher intellectual activities of humans.

So the beginning of the child's self directed behaviour comes in part from it learning to organize and manage its actions through language. It no longer is governed by the immediacy of what is empirical and within one's present visual perception but is able to organize their activity in relation to signs.
This also emphasizes a concept in activity theory in distinguishing between a single action and the series of actions which help make up an activity. Where one does many individual things in order to achieve the motive of the activity and speaks to the human ability to plan to do many things to a distant end.
He not only effects a change of form in the material on which he works, but he also realises a purpose of his own that gives the law to his modus operandi, and to which he must subordinate his will. And this subordination is no mere momentary act. Besides the exertion of the bodily organs, the process demands that, during the whole operation, the workman’s will be steadily in consonance with his purpose.

The use of signs also helps guide attention so that its not directly dictated by external stimuli in a passive manner but the child can determine what has a greater 'force of gravity' to their task. Focusing on certain things over others, perhaps the beginning of the process of abstraction really. Whilst it takes us away from the immediacy of being, language plays an important role in being able to analytically distinguish reality so that we don't try and hold all of reality in our mind but can direct ourselves to particular ends unencumbered by everything irrelevant.
The role of language in perception is striking because of the opposing tendencies implicit in the nature of visual perception and language. The independent elements in a visual field are simultaneously perceived; in this sense, visual perception is integral. Speech, on the other hand, requires sequential processing. Each element is separately labeled and then connected in a sentence structure, making speech essentially analytical.

But it what is interesting is that we must be practiced/trained in an activity before we can then become conscious in directing ourselves within that practice.
According to Vygotsky, understanding the will as a higher psychological function is fundamental to describe the essence of consciousness, because it operates in a systemic interrelationship with the other psychological functions in its constitution. This occurs because the volitional act depends on a historical experience that enables a social experience, giving man the illusion that he thinks about doing something and that is the cause of doing so, thus characterizing the conscious aspect of the expression of the will that causes an action (Vygotsky, 1925/1999). Because it is a higher psychological function, the will can only be completely unveiled by the historical scientific method, since its expression will reflect the overcoming of rudimentary aspects of the human psyche. Thus, in order to understand the will, it is necessary to understand the socio-cultural determinants of the integral expression of the human behavior, including the manifestations of the consciousness, and to identify the ways in which signs work as auxiliary means of human activities (Vygotsky, 1995a).”

More and more I'm seeing the importance of Vygotsky's work on self-direction/control in regards to the will and how auxiliary stimuli/motives become a force to manipulate ourselves to particular ends.
It seems important to the ideality Ilyenkov is conceptualizing, although on the individual scale but the individual in CHAT is always in relation to some coherent sociological view also. As man is not an abstract individual but grows within social relations and it's artefacts/meaningful tools and ways of living.
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By Wellsy
I now more specifically see how Ilyenkovs concept of ideality is a continuity of Vygotskys emphasis on signs as a means of mastering ourselves/self control and participate in coordinating activity. Much of Vygotskys work emphasize the change in activity and inferences on development of biological reflexes into actively constructed and mediated or conditioned reflexes of humans who integrate thought with language.

And continuing on Peter Jones criticism of internalization, I suspect there are defenses which account and incorporate his criticism for the active creation of signs in a personal sense by a person but are appropriated from conventionalized and normative meanings.

There have been several criticisms of Vygotsky’s principle of internalization claiming that it cannot fulfill its assigned purpose of bridging the gap between either social and individual processes or bodily and mental processes (see Lave & Wenger, 1991; Lawrence & Valsiner, 1993; Still & Costall, 1991; Wertsch, 1993). Critics have accordingly rejected its use for conceptualizing the transformation from commu- nicative speech, across private speech, to inner speech. If the principle of internalization is to be applied to another psychological function, in this case, emotions, it is necessary to address these criticisms (see Arievitch & van der Veer, 1995; Hildebrand-Nilshon & Kim, 2002) and their consequences for the development of emotions.

The main criticism is that the principle of internalization suggests a simplistic transfer of societal into personal meaning. It contains an oversimplistic idea on how the use of signs and the meanings assigned to these signs are handed down culturally (see González-Rey, 2012; Toomela, 2000). The principle of internalization is interpreted as if, on one side, there is one person within the social interaction who is seen as culturally more advanced and competent (the expert) and who introduces the culturally “correct” use of conventionalized signs and their societal meanings to a person, on the other side, who is still learning (the novice) and who adopts the use of signs and their meanings as demonstrated by the expert. This is then taken to be the way in which the use of signs is passed on from generation to generation. This appropriation of personal meanings is a transfer not necessarily of the full set of societal meanings but of a larger or smaller subset of them.

It is certainly correct to say that some approaches based on an activity approach apply such a transmissive and unidirectional interpretation of enculturing children. However, by accentuating the difference between the concept of societal meaning and personal sense, both Vygotsky and Leont’ev showed that a unidirectional transfer of meaning from one person to the other simply does not exist. What happens is a transformation of societal meanings into the personal sense of those involved. The personal sense that an individual assigns to interactions, facts, and experi- ences through the use of signs can be conceptualized not as a subset of societal meanings but as a particular sphere of mind that is constituted by two psychological factors in particular (a) the relation to the motives of the person, and (b) the relation to the situated and sensorially mediated experiences of the individual within the process of internalization.

The first psychological factor deals with the personal sense of sign-use and its relation to the motives of a person. An individual’s psychological sphere is determined by his or her motives and the emotions that signal them (Leont’ev, 1978). Vygotsky (1934/1987) wrote that thought

is not born of other thoughts. Thought has its origins in the motivating sphere of consciousness, a sphere that includes our inclinations and needs, our interests and impulses, and our affect and emotion. . . . A true and complex understanding of another’s thought becomes possible only when we discover its real, affective-volitional basis. (p. 282)

People do not appropriate the use of signs and their meanings during social interactions in an impartial way. They interpret and use them in the light of their actually elicited motives along with the motives they assign to the interaction partner (see González-Rey, 2012). The societal meaning of the used signs does not have to match the individually assigned personal sense. For example, an outsider may well interpret a public fit of rage by a low-ranking bank employee toward his superior as an inexcusable violation of social etiquette. However, for the menial employee, it may well be a reassertion of self-esteem in response to a humiliating directive.

The second psychological factor deals with the situatedness of sign-use. The personal sense of sign-use is also determined by the situatedness and sensory mediation of the previous encounters in which the use of signs is (or was) embedded. Societal meanings are coded primarily not by propositional phrases (e.g., “a dog is a mammal” or “wide-open eyes signal fear”) but through their ties to sensorially mediated and situated perceptions—as complex as these interrelations may be (Leont’ev, 1978). For example, two persons can use propositional phrases to agree on the same definition of the term “dog” or “fear.” These terms, however, will be situated very differently and enriched with other sensory perceptions when one person grew up with a very likeable family dog and the other person experienced a highly dramatic episode with an overpoweringly large and aggressive dog. Research on “grounded cognition” (Barsalou, 2008) and developmental studies on the appropriation of goal-directed actions (Hommel & Elsner, 2009) and of speech (Bruner, 1983; Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, & Moll, 2005) have also corroborated this sensorially anchored use of signs.

Thus, conventionalized signs and the meanings assigned to them are subject to an interpersonal process of interpretation and coordination that more or less successfully supports the embodiment and expression of personal sense. People do not have a private “speech” at their disposal that they can construct and use on their own (Wittgenstein). Therefore, they depend on the appropri- ation and use of conventionalized signs when they want to communicate successfully and satisfy their motives in social interactions (Gebauer, 2012). From this perspective, it is the principle of internalization in particular that offers concepts that help us to conceptualize the particular status of the mind as a coconstruction of the social and material world by means of conventionalized signs that are anchored in sensory perceptions related to the motives of a person.

Badically the personal sense, the spontaneous concept of a thing isn’t perfectly aligned or identical with a conventional meaning. And the meaning of a sign is very complexly situated to his context. One only sees an over riding dominance of conventional meaning when language is made independent of social life. But comprehension of motive and meaning would become impossible in many interactions where one person is unaware of the situation.

This is a point made by Peter E Jones and is congruent with Vygotsky. But wasn’t apparent in some interpretations of Vygotsky.
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By Wellsy
Trying to think about how planning/intentions/goals are pivotal to this concept of ideality. ... 1/ch07.htm

“We pre-suppose labour in a form that stamps it as exclusively human. A spider conducts operations that resemble those of a weaver, and a bee puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells. But what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is this, that the architect raises his structure in imagination before he erects it in reality. At the end of every labour-process, we get a result that already existed in the imagination of the labourer at its commencement.” ... xt&tlng=en
“Vygotsky (1925/1999) states that any movement/gesture is performed, initially, unconsciously; the will generates a movement, an act, actions, words; then it causes a secondary reaction, that is, the meaning given to the movement performed becomes the basis of the consciousness. In this sense, the historical and social experience precedes the consciousness. It is important to note that in talking about the unconscious actualization of a movement/gesture based on the historical and social foundations of the human being, Vygotsky makes no reference to a possible “coded language” of psychological processes as proposed by psychoanalysis. The proposition of an unconscious movement in Vygotsky translates into an action that has not yet been signified in the historical, cultural and relational context of the individual, but which is actualized in correspondence with the human universality (Santos & Leão, 2014).

According to Vygotsky, understanding the will as a higher psychological function is fundamental to describe the essence of consciousness, because it operates in a systemic interrelationship with the other psychological functions in its constitution. This occurs because the volitional act depends on a historical experience that enables a social experience, giving man the illusion that he thinks about doing something and that is the cause of doing so, thus characterizing the conscious aspect of the expression of the will that causes an action (Vygotsky, 1925/1999).” ... _of_Action

“"If, in voluntary action properly so-called, the act must be foreseen, it follows that no creature not endowed with divinatory power can perform an act voluntarily for the first time". There is quite a bit of information that William James (1890, p. 487) wanted to communicate to the reader with this sentence. First, he incidentally introduces the probably most common definition of voluntary action by equating it with goal-directed movement. Second, he emphasizes the role of anticipation in action control, that is, the selective and directing function of predictions of action outcomes. Third, he points out that action control relies on knowledge about relationships between movements and outcomes which, fourth, implies and presupposes the previous experience of movement-outcome relationships.” ... l#ch03-s01

“While rejecting the idealist explanation of consciousness as the individual's immanent activity arising from the depths of his spirit, science at the same time explodes the concept of metaphysical materialism, which treats consciousness as contemplation divorced from practice. When we speak of the activeness of consciousness, we mean its selectivity, its ability to set itself a goal, its generation of new ideas, acts of creative imagination, its guidance of practical activity. The point of departure for any relationship to the real world is goal-setting activity. The main reason for and historical necessity of the emergence and development of consciousness, which enables man to get an accurate picture of the surrounding world, to foresee the future and on this basis transform the world by his practical activity, is its goal-setting creative activity aimed at changing the world in the interests of man and society. A person's consciousness is not merely a contemplative reflection of objective reality; it creates it. When reality does not satisfy a person, he sets out to change it by means of his labour and various forms of social activity.” ... 5-s06.html

“A goal is the intended result of activity, an ideal model of a desired future. Through his anticipatory thinking a person creates a certain plan of the expected results of his activity. If the activity coincides with this plan, it is culminated and ceases, if it does not coincide, the information again circulates and the search for a solution continues. Every action presupposes two closely interconnected processes: anticipation, foreseeing of the future, and programming, planning of the ways of its achievement. Thus activity obeys a force moving from the individual's past experience towards the future, and the goal-setting force that moves from the future to the present. From being the ideal form of the goal the future is transformed into the reality of the present. A goal determines the means for changing a thing, and an effort of will makes it possible to achieve the goal through action. While thought takes the world as it is, will, on the contrary, aims at making the world into something that it should be. It is the will that enables us to objectify the force of knowledge. The effectiveness of activity depends to a great extent on our ability to see the connection between the goal and the means of its achievement.” ... nality.pdf

“Aristotle, who is considered the father of psychology, wrote that “soul is an actuality or formulable essence of something that possesses a potentiality of being besouled.” In the light of that idea, the paradox of search consists in that it combines the possible and the real. Foresight as the basis of planning is the identification of the possible. In his real actions man who possesses a “soul” carries out what is capable of being carried out in reality. The construction of a possible future to predict the real activity of the subject is precisely what cannot be described or explained by the methods used in the natural sciences. It is not that they are weak in themselves – they are very powerful in their own sphere based on the type of determinism that explains phenomena and events by tracing the links between cause and effect. Due to these links, the state of an object in the past determines its present state. But man bases his actions on what may happen in the future – a future that doesn’t yet exist! In this case, the goal – an ideal image of the future, an image of what must be – determines the present and actual behaviour and state of the subject.”
“Unlike the ape, which Koehler tells us is “the slave of its own visual field, children acquire an independence with respect to their concrete surroundings; they cease to act in the immediately given and evident space. Once children learn how to use the planning function of their language effectively, their psychological field changes radically. A view of the future is now an integral part of their approaches to their surroundings.

To summarize what has been said thus far in this section: The specifically human capacity for language enables children to provide for auxiliary tools in the solution of difficult tasks, to overcome impulsive action, to plan a solution to a problem prior to its execution, and to master their own behavior.

The structure of the child’s decision does not in the least resemble the adult process. Adults make a preliminary decision internally and subsequently carry out the choice in the form of a single movement that executes the plan. The child’s choice resembles a somewhat delayed selection among his own movements. Vascillations in perception are directly reflected in the structure of movement. The child’s movements are replete with diffuse gropings that interrupt and succeed one another. A mere glance at the chart tracing the child’s movements is sufficient to convince one of the basic motor nature of the process.”
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