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Use of tools in animals and humans

Higher processes in genetic, functional, and structural terms represent, as research shows, such a significant variety that they should be allocated to a special class, but the distinction between higher and lower functions does not coincide with the separation of the two types of activities discussed above. The highest form of behavior is everywhere where there is a mastery of the processes of one's own behavior, and first of all its reactive functions. A man, subordinating his own process to the process of his own response, thereby enters into a fundamentally new relationship with the external environment, comes to a new functional use of the elements of the external environment as stimulus signs, with which he, guided by external means, directs and regulates his own behavior, it takes control of itself from outside, forcing stimulus-signs to act on it and cause the reactions desirable for it. Internal regulation of expedient activity arises initially from external regulation. The reactive action caused and organized by the person himself ceases to be reactive and becomes focused.

In this sense, the phylogenetic history of human practical intelligence is closely connected not only with the mastery of nature, but also with mastery of oneself. The history of labor and the history of speech can hardly be understood one without the other. Man created not only the tools with which he subordinated the forces of nature to his power, but also incentives that stimulate and regulate his own behavior, subordinate his own forces to his power. This is noticeable already at the earliest stages of human development.

In Borneo and Celebes, says C. Buhler, special digging sticks were found with small sticks attached to the upper end. When the soil is loosened with rice with a stick, the small stick makes a sound. This sound is a kind of labor exclamation or command, the purpose of which is the rhythmic regulation of work. The sound of a projectile attached to a digging stick replaces a human voice or performs a function similar to it.

The inner interlacing of the sign and the tool, which found material symbolic expression in the primitive stick for digging, indicates how early the sign (and then its highest form, word) begins to participate in the operation of using tools in humans and to perform an incomparable, original functional role in the overall structure of these operations, standing at the very beginning of the development of human labor. This stick is fundamentally different from the stick of monkeys, although genetically, of course, is associated with it. If we ask ourselves what is the fundamental psychological difference between a human tool and an animal tool, we will have to answer our question with another question posed by Buhler in connection with a discussion of chimpanzee actions aimed at the future and guided by the idea of ​​external conditions that should occur in the near or in the distant future: to which limitation of chimpanzee's abilities should one attribute the fact that they do not reveal the slightest beginnings of cultural development, despite the fact that a number of facts are encountered x usually only in civilizations, even the most primitive ones, can be undoubtedly stated in these animals?

The most primitive man, Köhler further develops the same idea, makes a digging stick even when he is not going to start digging immediately, when the objective conditions for using the gun are not yet realized in any sensible way. The fact that he stockpiled a tool in advance is in clear connection with the beginning of culture.

A human action that arose in the process of cultural and historical development of behavior is a free action, that is, independent of a directly acting need and a directly perceived situation, an action aimed at the future.
Monkeys, according to Koehler's remark made elsewhere, to a much greater extent than adults, are slaves of the visual field. All this must have its own foundation, and it is easy to see that such a foundation is at the same time the most reliable criterion for the genetic, functional and structural differentiation of the two types of activities that we talked about above. But instead of the metaphysical basis for this distinction, we put forward, prompted by our research, historical, which is fully consistent with the facts established by Koehler regarding the behavior of chimpanzees. So, the two types of activity that a psychologist should fundamentally distinguish are the behavior of an animal and the behavior of a person; activity that is a product of biological evolution, and activity that arose in the process of historical development of man.

Life in time, cultural development, labor - everything that distinguishes a person from the animal in the psychological sphere is closely connected with the fact that in parallel with the mastery of the external nature, the process of historical development of man was the mastery of himself, his own behavior. The stick that Buhler talks about is a stick for the future. This is already a tool. In the beautiful expression of F. Engels, “labor created man himself” (K. Marx, F. Engels. Soch., Vol. 20, p. 486), that is, he created higher mental functions that distinguish a person as a person. A primitive person using a stick masters with the help of a sign, from the outside, the processes of his own behavior and subordinates his actions to that goal, which he forces the external objects of his activity to serve - a tool, soil, rice.

In this sense, we can again return to the remark of K. Koffka, which we mentioned in passing above. Does it make sense, he asks, to call chimpanzee actions in Koehler’s experiments volitional? From the point of view of the old psychology, these actions, as actions not instinctive, not automated and, moreover, reasonable, should undoubtedly be assigned to the class of volitional actions. But the new psychology with good reason gives a negative answer to this question. In this sense, Koffka is certainly right. Only the action of man, subordinate to his power, is a volitional action.

K. Levin, in an excellent analysis of the psychology of intentional actions, clearly identifies free and volitional intention as a product of historical cultural development of behavior and a distinctive feature of human psychology. Amazing in itself, he says, the fact that a person has extraordinary freedom in the formation of any, even meaningless, intentions. This freedom is characteristic of a person of culture. It is peculiar to an incomparably lesser degree to a child and, apparently, also a primitive person, probably distinguishes a person from the animals closest to him to a greater extent than his more developed intellect. This distinction coincides with the problem of mastery.

The development of freedom of action, as we sought to show above, is in direct functional dependence on the use of signs. A peculiar attitude: the word - the action that we have been studying all the time, occupies a central place in the ontogenesis of human practical intelligence, despite the fact that in the field of higher functions ontogenesis is even less than in the field of elementary functions, it repeats phylogenesis. Those who follow from this point of view the development of the child’s free action will agree with Buhler’s statement that the history of the development of children's will has not yet been written. To begin this story, it is first of all necessary to find out the relation of the word to action at the beginning of the formation of children's will. Along with this, the first, but decisive step will be taken towards clarifying the problem of the two types of human activity, which we spoke about above.
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Use of tools in animals and humans

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