Vol. 12 No. 3, April 2007

Human activity - contributions to the anthropological sciences from a perspective of activity theory.

Benny Karpatschof
Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen, Øster Farimagsgade 5, DK-1353 Copenhagen K, Denmark.

Purpose After an investigation of the philosophical foundation of Activity Theory the book undertakes an assessment of the adequacy of this theory as a framework for the anthropological sciences. The thesis is that the perspective of Human Activity is a key to solving basic problems found in epistemology, anthropology, sociology, psychology, semiotics and even in the study of science itself.
Definition Human Activity is defined as a mediated form of activity, and has Tools, Signs, Cooperation and Appropriation as its prime mediators. Each of the six chapters of the book provides a specific perspective on the general subject, Human Activity and on the general theory, Activity Theory.
Outline The first chapter introduces the historical background of Activity Theory including the evolution of the theory from Hegel to Marx and the two Russian psychologists Vygotsky and Leont'ev. Ch. 2 covers the basic problems of ontology and evolution; the ontology assumes an original cosmological object field, from which a biological field emerged, and from the latter an anthropological object field emerged. Ch. 3 analyses the relation between pre-human activity, belonging to the biological object field, and humnn activity, belonging to the anthropological field, the characteristics of which are discussed. In Ch. 4, epistemology is discussed from the perspective of human activity. Ch. 5 attempts to clarify the problem of meaning, and in this connection the leading theories in semiotics and language theory are discussed. Finally, Ch.6 is dedicated to the study of science that is, the discipline of Metascience. Themes treated in this chapter indude: the relation between technological and scientific evolution, the status of the formal sciences and the difference between the natural and the anthropological sciences, in particular, psychology.

More sites can be found at the Activity Theory Page

How to cite this paper
Karpatschof, B. (2000). Human activity - contributions to the anthropological sciences from a perspective of activity theory. Copenhagen: Dansk Psykologisk Forlag. [Available at http://InformationR.net/ir/12-3/Karpatschof/Karp00.html]

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