By Aleksei Nikolaevich Leontyev
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Additional info for The Development of Mind - Selected Works of Aleksei Nikolaevich Leontyev
But it is that dependence, which expresses the organism’s property that is called capacity for adaptation, that underlies the above-mentioned converse dependence. Since changes of a living body’s structure, state, and processes, and that means also of its activity, are governed by external influences, we can consequently say that 40 THE DEVELOPMENT OF MIND its organisation itself and its activity are a reflection of the environment’s objective properties. e. one that is inseparably linked with the living body’s very existence and that constitutes its most essential and most necessary condition.
Are there, do we observe in man, transitions that convert simple irritability into its form that we call sensitivity? Is it possible for a given agent not usually sensed by man to become an agent that evokes sensation? As extensive, scientifically established facts (almost too numerous to review) indicate, phenomena of this kind are incontrovertibly observed in man. The phenomena fall into two classes. The first class consists of those relating to the rise of sensitivity in man to those affective agents in relation to which there is no specific, adequate receptor organ.
The colour of a substance, for example, can be separated from its food properties. The processes themselves that constitute the content of the first form of animals’ vital activity are also correspondingly differentiable from those constituting the content of its second form. In general, we must note, if one or other of these processes (and the stimuli that give rise to them) can be separated from processes (and stimuli) that directly fulfil a life-support function, then that is a sign that they are connected with phenomena of sensitivity; if, however, such separation is impossible, then that means that the organism’s primary irritability underlies them.
The Development of Mind - Selected Works of Aleksei Nikolaevich Leontyev by Aleksei Nikolaevich Leontyev