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I've been curious in a summary in regards to human faculties being a social product or innate. I don't believe this is just an intellectual curiosity but something of significance in regards to education/pedagogy.
I have been particularly startled by the force in which Evald Ilyenkov interprets Marx and the response I've seen summarized by Ilyenkov's Western Popularizer David Bakhurst. The gist I'm trying to get at is what can be argue to be the limits of what is innate to humans and to present the basis on which attempts to place great faith in the possibility of explaining the human mind strictly through processes is misguided.

So for example, in reaction to the attempt to reconcile the two positions of biological versus social which tend to underpin the idea of it being innate to us or something we develop, he takes the strong stance that anything which can be considered human thought is a product of human activity and is innoculated into every person through a social means. Part of his forcefulness is the point that appeals to things merely being natural is an illusion of a pre-dialectical materialism which obscures the matter.
Spoiler: show
https://www.marxists.org/archive/ilyenkov/works/articles/biological-social.pdf
There is therefore always the possibility here of two polar interpretations of any particular or concrete case. Thus, we can regard the biological functions of the organism as a form of the manifestation of the historically determined social functions of the given individual. Or—just the reverse—we can regard social functions as a form of the manifestation of the natural inherited characteristics of the human organism, as merely the external form in which the functions organically built into this organism are revealed.
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The general position of true materialism, as formulated by Marx, Engels, and Lenin, may be characterized briefly as follows:

All that is human in man—that is, all that specifically distinguishes man from the animals—is 100 percent (not 90 percent or even 99 percent) the result of the social development of human society, and any ability of the individual is an individually exercised function of the social and not of the natural organism, although, of course, it is always exercised by the natural, biologically innate organs of the human body—in particular, the brain.

This position seems to many people somewhat extreme, accentuated in an exaggerated fashion. Some comrades are afraid that such a theoretical position may lead in practice to underestimation of the special biological-genetic innate characteristics of individuals, or even to leveling and standardization. These fears, it seems to me, are groundless. It seems to me that, on the contrary, any concession—even the smallest—to the naturalistic illusion in explaining the human mind and human life activity will sooner or later lead the theorist who makes this concession to the surrender of all materialist positions, to complete capitulation to theories of the Koestlerian type.
Here it is a question of: “Remove the claws and the whole bird perishes.” For initial arguments concerning the genetic (i.e., natural) origin of individual variations in one or another human ability always lead to the conclusion that these abilities are themselves natural and innate, and indirectly—through naturalistic explanation of these abilities—to the perpetuation (at first in the imagination, but later also in practice) of the existing, historically shaped and inherited mode of the division of human labor.

This is the result whenever a theorist makes purely physical indicators of the human organism (for instance: height, color of hair, or color of eyes) into a “model” in accordance with which he also starts to understand mental indicators such as degree of intellectual giftedness or of artistic talent.

This logic implacably leads to a view of talent (and of its opposite—idiocy) as a deviation from the norm, a rare exception, and of the “norm” as mediocrity, the lack of any capacity for creativity, an inclination toward uncreative, passive, and often routine work.

And here it seems to me that it is the duty of a Marxist to object categorically to this kind of explanation of mental differences. It seems to me much truer—both in theory and in practice—to assert that the “norm” for man is precisely talent and that by declaring talent a rarity, a deviation from the norm we simply dump onto Mother Nature our own guilt, our own inability to create for each medically normal individual all the external conditions for his development to the highest level of talent.

For this reason it seems to me not only absurd but also harmful to speak of a person’s mental abilities as genetically predetermined. For the practical consequence of this view is always a faulty strategy for establishing the collaboration between pedagogue and physician that is so essential to the task of ensuring the all-around development of each person—that is, to the main task of communist transformation.

For once we dump onto Mother Nature, onto the organics of the human body the blame for the fact that our schools produce quite a large percentage of ungifted people and too few talented people, the task of reconstructing the education system and all the other conditions of human development is automatically replaced by the task of reconstructing organics, the brains and nervous systems of individuals. Hence people start to see the task of medicine and of the physician not in the protection and restoration of the biological norm of the functioning of the human organism, but in the utopian undertaking of reconstructing this norm. Or else the physician will be pushed into the unworthy role of apologist for all the deficiencies in our education system and in the way we bring up our children. First we shall turn the child into a neurotic or even a psychopath, and then we shall send him to a neurologist, who, naturally, will diagnose a neurosis. And we shall end up with a vicious circle, in which it will always be easy to pass off the cause as the consequence.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/comment/vygotsk1.htm
According to Vygotsky, Piaget fails to see the transition from “egocentric speech” (when a child talks aloud to him/herself while alone) to “inner speech”. Piaget believes that egocentric speech simply “fades away” as the child becomes less egocentric and more socialised. Vygotsky on the other hand, hypothesises that egocentric speech turns into inner speech; that it does not fade away but “goes underground”. The analogy with learning to count and add up is very convincing.

In contradiction to Piaget’s conception of development as socialisation, Vygotsky says:

“The earliest speech of the child is ... essentially social. ... At a certain age the social speech of the child is quite sharply divided into egocentric and communicative speech ... Egocentric speech emerges when the child transfers social, collaborative forms of behaviour to the sphere of inner-personal psychic functions ... Egocentric speech, splintered off from general social speech, in time leads to inner speech, which serves both autistic and logical thinking. ... the true direction of the development of thinking is not from the individual to the socialised, but from the social to the individual.” [Thought and Language, Chapter 2]

Human thought develops NOT from the individual to the social, but from the social to the individual! What a stunningly correct and dialectical conception! So much for the subjective idealist prejudice that all human beings begin as individuals, their development consisting of the cancellation of their essential, inner individuality!

https://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/en/jordan2.htm
In the opinion of Marx, it is an error to assume that the primary psychological constitution of the individual can be distinguished from his socially acquired characteristics and that the latter, being a product of social existence, are in a sense artificial and secondary, since they are derivable from the former. The differentiation between what man owes to society and to his primary, true, and unchanging nature, can be disregarded as a pseudo-problem or a mere figment of speculation.



He is also part of a line of Marxist thinkers who tend to reject's Kant's view that concepts are something innate to humans but a socio-historical product of human activity representing it's activity in the world in ideal forms ie concepts/thought. For kant I believe, our concepts have no relation to the actual existing world but are merely perceptions placed over that reality and hence why we can't be about the truth of things in actuality as there is no ability to see things as they are in themselves. A difference in the epistemology here is the idea of man as social or considered as an abstract individual, where the aggregate of human culture is believed to be appropriated in varying degrees by human beings being raised in culture.
Spoiler: show
https://www.marxists.org/archive/pilling/works/capital/pilling2.htm#Pill2
In an effort to vindicate scientific reason in the light of Hume’s rejection of causation and of knowledge of the external world, Kant argued that the mind is an instrument which, by its very construction, always apprehends isolated, individual facts in rational form. Kant realised that without categories, rational thought was impossible; but for him these categories have their basis in our thoughts, thought which is necessarily sundered from the material world. Sensation and the logical moments of knowledge do not on this view have a common basis – there is and can be no transition between the two. (Or as the Althusserian; would put it, ‘Our constructions and our arguments are in theoretical terms and they can only be evaluated in theoretical terms – in terms, that is to say, of their rigour and theoretical coherence. They cannot be refuted by any empiricist recourse to the supposed “facts” of history’ (Hindess and Hirst, 1975, p. 3).) Concepts, according to Kantianism, do not grow up and develop out of the sensed world but are already given before it, in the a priori categories of reasoning. These categories are supposed to grasp the multifarious material given in sensation, but themselves remain fixed and dead. ‘Sensation’ and ‘reason’ were counterposed to each other in thoroughly mechanical manner, with no connection between them. And the same was true of the content of knowledge and its forms. On this last point Rubin is surely absolutely correct when he states:

"One cannot forget that on the question of the relation between content and form, Marx took the standpoint of Hegel and not of Kant. Kant treated form as something external in relation to the content, and as something which adheres to the content from the outside. From the standpoint of Hegel’s philosophy, the content is not in itself something to which form adheres from the outside. Rather, through its development, the content itself gives birth to the form which is already latent in the content. Form necessarily grows from the content itself." (Rubin, 1972, p. 117)
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In this respect there can be no doubt whatsoever that Marx adopted Hegel’s position (against Kant). In stressing the historical and objective nature of concepts, Hegel prepared the way for introducing the role of practice into human thought, even though his conception of this practice remained too narrow. Marx followed Hegel’s lead in insisting that the movement from the ‘sensed’ to the ‘logical’ was a process in which social man penetrated ever more deeply through the appearance of phenomena, deeper and deeper into their essence. It was this social practice that lies at the very heart and foundation of the development of man’s conceptual thinking. The form taken by man’s knowledge, summarised in the concepts of science, represents an index, a resume, of his education and in particular the education of his senses.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/ilyenkov/works/articles/Theses.pdf
Nevertheless, of course, even here there exists a profound, principled difference between materialism and idealism. For materialism, it is characteristic to recognize that all the categories that philosophy (or the philosophical sciences) expresses as universal forms of knowledge of real phenomena of nature and society, existing outside and independently of human beings, are given to us in sensation, contemplation and representation, and therefore, and only therefore, are universal forms of these phenomena themselves.

Idealism characteristically has the opposite understanding. For it, the categories of philosophy are not universal forms of the cognition of phenomena, given to man in sensation, but forms enabling us to grasp “the infinite, universal essence of the world,” which is not the subject of “finite knowledge.”

http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/10867/1/VWills_ETD_2011.pdf
Abstract unqualified objects cannot exist because they cannot affect matter, and thereby cannot bring about the expression of their essences. It is for this reason that Marx says “abstract individuality is freedom from being, not freedom in being” (Doctoral Dissertation on Epicurus, MECW 1:62). Moreover, Marx argued, reasoning based on contemplation of such abstract objects will necessarily lapse into methodological idealism, eschewing material determinations as mere appearances that distract from a proper appreciation of the nature of reality, rather than being the absolute starting place for a proper understanding of reality.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/ilyenkov/works/ideal/ideal.htm
In Hegelian philosophy, however, the problem was stated in a fundamentally different way. The social organism (the “culture” of the given people) is by no means an abstraction expressing the “sameness” that may be discovered in the mentality of every individual, an “abstract” inherent in each individual, the “transcendentally psychological” pattern of individual life activity. The historically built up and developing forms of the “universal spirit” (“the spirit of the people”, the “objective spirit”), although still understood by Hegel as certain stable patterns within whose framework the mental activity of every individual proceeds, are none the less regarded by him not as formal abstractions, not as abstractly universal “attributes” inherent in every individual, taken separately. Hegel (following Rousseau with his distinction between the “general will” and the “universal will”) fully takes into account the obvious fact that in the diverse collisions of differently orientated “individual wills” certain results are born and crystallised which were never contained in any of them separately, and that because of this social consciousness as an “entity” is certainly not built up, as of bricks, from the “sameness” to be found in each of its “parts” (individual selves, individual consciousnesses). And this is where we are shown the path to an understanding of the fact that all the patterns which Kant defined as “transcendentally inborn” forms of operation of the individual mentality, as a priori “internal mechanisms” inherent in every mentality, are actually forms of the self-consciousness of social man assimilated from without by the individual (originally they opposed him as “external” patterns of the movement of culture independent of his will and consciousness), social man being understood as the historically developing “aggregate of all social relations”.

Because if such schemas are innate, concepts tend to have a mystifying and divine quality of how we have many of the capacities that we do.
Which is the weakness of it, when it comes to the origins, it will necessarily lead to an idealist position I suspect rather than being able to have a naturalist approach. Because it simply posits something without an adequate means to explain it's origins and thus the lacking of understanding then is filled in by idealism traditionally. Descartes simply posited God where as someone like Chomsky engages in referentialism(Mistakenly thinking that a name must refer to an existing entity) that doesn't explain anything with his language acquisition device.
https://www.marxists.org/subject/psychology/works/jones/biology.htm
The content of thought, if not inborn, must, then, be taken from life and must reflect the reality of human relations with the real world and the real relations between people themselves. Without such a coincidence of the mental (or "ideal") and the real, human existence would not be possible for two minutes, let alone two thousand years or two hundred thousand. In addition, as activity and the thinking it generates are social in essence - existing only in and through the concerted effort of the many individuals who make up the collective - neither human activity nor thinking can be a property of an individual considered naturalistically, ie apart from the social nexus. Thus, all ideal forms including language, are seen primarily as a property and product of the life-process of the whole community, and the essence of humanity located not in the individual person, still less the physical constitution of that person, but in "the ensemble of the social relations" (Marx, Theses: 14)

From the Marxist point of view, by cutting the relations between the mind and social activity, Chomsky makes it impossible to account for the content and origins of mental processes.
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One can even accept with Kant and Chomsky that the data of experience are somehow organized prior to their representation to the subject" (Bakhurst, 1991: 196), while yet rejecting the possibility of innate ideas or Chomskyan biological programming. The work of llyenkov (eg 1977a,b), as Bakhurst (op.cit) shows, provides an elegant materialist solution to the problem in showing that "what lends the object of experience structure is not the mind of the individual subjects, but the forms of the activity of the community" (ibid: 197).The Kantian categories and concepts, Chomskyan innate ideas, are not, then, essentially properties of the subject, seen as the contemplating individual, but are "the forms of self-consciousness of social beings (understood as the historically developing 'ensembles of social relations')" which have to be "assimilated by the individual from without (and confronting him from the very beginning as 'external' schemas [patterns] of the movement of culture, independent of his consciousness and will" (ibid: 197). Thus, the individual human being comes to interpret the data of experience - one could even say to "filter it" - through the framework of meanings, categories and norms of the surrounding culture assimilated through joint action. This framework indeed transcends experience because it represents a distillation and summation of the historical experience of the community itself. But for that very reason, because it is not some arbitrary mental scheme imposed adventitiously on the data of sense, it allows the child to relate to the world and to others in a real, tried and tested, meaningful and purposive way. It is this system of social life, and not raw grey matter, which provides the basic socio-cultural and practical "rules" within which the child's creative imagination can take shape and work. Furthermore, the productive activity responsible for the human environment, if we accept the premisses of historical materialism, determines the social structure of the producing community itself. No biologically fixed conceptual scheme could allow us to operate and survive in such an environment. Thus, neither human thought, nor activity guided by thought, nor the social relations through which activity is effected could have a biologically determined character. In short, a human way of life would not be possible if the content and categories of thinking were genetically inherited.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/mikhailov/works/riddle/riddle3b.htm
In man, on the other hand, we encounter a diametrically opposite mode of inheritance. Man inherits part of the “species programme” of life-activity, but the greater part (and precisely the specifically human part) is geared into the “mechanisms” of his life by his mastering the objectified means of culture in intercourse with other people. He even develops his bodily needs and abilities in the process of mastering the historical ways and means of activity and intercourse, such as the need for communication, for prepared food, for “instruments” to consume it with, for objects that provide for the human functioning of his organs, creating the conditions for normal sleep, rest, labour, and so on. And, particularly important, the infinitely diverse and infinitely developing means of realising the inherited “programmes” of life-activity are acquired only in the form of the socially significant instruments of activity and intercourse created by the labour of previous generations.

Academician N. P. Dubinin writes: “The possibilities of human cultural growth are endless. This growth is not imprinted in the genes. It is quite obvious that if the children of contemporary parents were deprived from birth of the conditions of contemporary culture, they would remain at the level of our most remote ancestors who lived tens of thousands of years ago. Whereas the children of such “primitive people” placed in the conditions of contemporary culture would rise to the heights of contemporary man.” [2]

But this means that the very foundations of the life of man and that of the animals are diametrically opposed. In order to survive, the animal must carry in its body both its “programme” and the means of realising it. Man, on the other hand, must possess a human organic body capable of mastering as it goes along any historically developed “programme” and the means of its realisation. And for this reason the genetic fixation of any given mode of activity and intercourse (and biological evolution has no other means of ensuring survival of the species) would spell death for man.

This is why man cannot be assumed to have developed from the biological realm by purely quantitative evolutionary changes in the modes of life of his animal ancestors. The foundation and origin of the new process, the process of non-biological survival excludes biological means and fundamentally changes and subordinates them to itself. Here we are confronted with a clear contradiction between the need to use unprocessed, ready-made objects of nature as the ecological situation demands and the impossibility of genetically fixing the skills thus acquired, a contradiction that can be resolved only by the disappearance of the given species or the birth of a new way of inheriting the habits and skills of life-sustaining activity. And if we could assume that our animal ancestors “found” a way of fixing, preserving and transmitting from generation to generation the skills of “tool-using” action, then we could also assume that man might have appeared on our planet in this way. But, as we have seen, this departure would have been, to put it mildly, extremely unusual for the animal world. It would have to be a way that did not depend on the genetic “code” of the given species, that did not predetermine any link between the animal and one particular instrument or skill, and that was not expressed (objectified) either in the inherited structure of the organism or in any form of “instrument”.

However, such an unusual biological mechanism of heredity does exist. And we, human beings, have it. People inherit the modes of their life-activity by becoming involved in the already existing, fairly stable forms of intercourse and, in doing so, master the objectified means of intercourse (in particular, language).

The point being that we have a social inheritance that is based in the pre-existing relations of society we grow up into.


Ilyenkov follows Marx's epistemology in which the ideal and abstract forms of thought are but a stage in understanding the natural world and it's not the case that there is the sensuous world independent from the essential abstract sort, but that one abstracts the innessential and with the abstract essentials develops the concrete for thought by investigating the natural world through the essential abstract concepts/notions that develop through such study.
https://etd.lib.metu.edu.tr/upload/12613281/index.pdf
It should also be noted from the outset that Marx’s epistemology cannot be handled in traditional epistemological terms. In their article “Marxist Epistemology: The Critique of Economic Determinism”, Stephen A. Resnick and Richard D. Wolff indicate that traditional epistemology operates as if there are two separate realms: “independent subjects seeking knowledge of independent objects” (Resnick and Wolf, 45). In contrast to traditional epistemology, Marx does not see theory and reality as belonging to two distinct spheres. Rather there is a “circular process” in the production of theory where “theory begins and ends with concretes […] the concrete which determines theory is conceptualized as the ‘concrete real’ [the real concrete] and the concrete produced by thought is the ‘thought-concrete’ [concrete for thought]”( Resnick and Wolf, 43).

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1857/grundrisse/ch01.htm#loc3
If I were to begin with the population, this would be a chaotic conception of the whole, and I would then, by means of further determination, move analytically towards ever more simple concepts, from the imagined concrete towards ever thinner abstractions until I had arrived at the simplest determinations. From there the journey would have to be retraced until I had arrived at the population again, but this time not as the chaotic conception of a whole, but as a rich totality of many determinations and relations.


It is in this regard that people unconscious to the origins of their presupposed content end up expressing one sided abstractions in an ideological fashion where the content they presuppose comes from the real world relations which they unconsciously fit into their arbitrary schemas and concepts.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/ch08.htm
This is only giving a new twist to the old favourite ideological method, also known as the a priori method, which consists in ascertaining the properties of an object, by logical deduction from the concept of the object, instead of from the object itself. First the concept of the object is fabricated from the object; then the spit is turned round, and the object is measured by its reflexion, the concept. The object is then to conform to the concept, not the concept to the object. With Herr Dühring the simplest elements, the ultimate abstractions he can reach, do service for the concept, which does not alter matters; these simplest elements are at best of a purely conceptual nature. The philosophy of reality, therefore, proves here again to be pure ideology, the deduction of reality not from itself but from a concept.

And when such an ideologist constructs morality and law from the concept, or the so-called simplest elements of “society”, instead of from the real social relations of the people round him, what material is then available for this construction? Material clearly of two kinds: first, the meagre residue of real content which may possibly survive in the abstractions from which he starts and, secondly, the content which our ideologist once more introduces from his own consciousness. And what does he find in his consciousness? For the most part, moral and juridical notions which are a more or less accurate expression (positive or negative, corroborative or antagonistic) of the social and political relations amidst which he lives; perhaps also ideas drawn from the literature on the subject; and, as a final possibility, some personal idiosyncrasies. Our ideologist may turn and twist as he likes, but the historical reality which he cast out at the door comes in again at the window, and while he thinks he is framing a doctrine of morals and law for all times and for all worlds, he is in fact only fashioning an image of the conservative or revolutionary tendencies of his day — an image which is distorted because it has been torn from its real basis and, like a reflection in a concave mirror, is standing on its head.


But in this emphasis that all that is human is based on the activity of humanity and is socially inoculated in every person raised within society doesn't deny the biological existence of the human being but frames it insufficient in itself to explain the human mind and consciousness although a prerequisite for it's existence and function.
Spoiler: show
http://www.kafu-academic-journal.info/journal/6/163/
Ilyenkov did not deny the significance of physiological factors for the genesis of personality. Not only the structure of the brain, but also such peculiarities of the body, like the form of a nose or the colour of skin, may play a great role in the biography of the individual, Ilyenkov added[8]. These natural prerequisites of a person relate to it insomuch as, say, the land relates to the land rent. Personality is impossible without them, but they can explain not a single feature of this or that person. Dubrovsky’s appeals to some “yet scantily explored” individual features of the “cerebral architectonics” Ilyenkov considers as vaporous conjectures, a certain “neuromancy”.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/ilyenkov/works/abstract/abstra1f.htm
Nature as such creates absolutely nothing ‘human’. Man with all his specifically human features is from beginning to end the result and product of his own labour. Even walking straight, which appears at first sight man’s natural, anatomically innate trait, is in actual fact a result of educating the child within an established society: a child isolated from society à la Mowgli (and such cases are numerous) prefers to run on all fours, and it takes a lot of effort to break him of the habit.

In other words, only those features, properties, and peculiarities of the individual that are ultimately products of social labour, are specifically human. Of course, it is mother nature that provides the anatonomic and physiological prerequisites. However, the specifically human form which they ultimately assume is the product of labour, and it can only be comprehended or deduced from labour. Conversely, all those properties of man that are not a product of labour, do not belong to the features expressing man’s essence (e.g., soft lobes of the ear, although they are a ‘specific feature’ of man and not of any other living being).

An individual awaking to human life activity, that is, a natural biological being becoming a social one, is compelled to assimilate all forms of this activity through education. None of them are inherited biologically. What is inherited is the physiological potential for assimilating them. At first they confront him as something existing outside and independently from him, as something entirely objective, as an object for assimilation and imitation. Through education, these forms of social human activity are transformed into a personal, individual, subjective possession and are even consolidated physiologically: an adult person is no longer able to walk on all fours, even if he wants to do so, and that is not at all because he would be ridiculed; raw meat makes him sick.

In other words, all those features the sum of which makes up the much talked-of essence of man, are results and products (ultimate ones, of course) of socio-human labour activity. Man does not owe them to nature as such, still less to a supernatural force, whether it be called God or by some other name (e.g., the Idea). He owes them only to himself and the labour of previous generations. This is even more true of the more complex forms of human activity, both sensual and objective (material) and spiritual, than of straight walking.

Mankind’s culture accumulated throughout history appears to a modern individual as something primary, determining his individual human activity. From the scientific (materialist) point of view the individual, the human personality should therefore be regarded as a unitary embodiment of universal human culture, both material and spiritual. This culture is naturally realised in the individual in a more or less one-sided and incomplete manner. The extent to which an individual can make the riches of culture into his property does not depend on him alone; to a much greater degree it depends on society and on the mode of division of labour characteristic of society.

Actual assimilation of some area of culture or other, some form of human activity or other, means assimilating it to such an extent as to be able to develop it further in an independent, individual, and creative manner. Nothing can be assimilated through passive contemplation – that is like building castles in the air. Assimilation without active practice yields no results. That is why the form of assimilating universal human culture by the individual is determined by the form of the division of labour. Of course, there is one-sidedness and one-sidedness.

https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/spirkin/works/dialectical-materialism/ch05-s02.html
When discussing biological factors, one should not reduce them to the genetic. More attention should be given to the physiological and ontogenetic aspects of development, and particularly to those that evoke a pathological effect, for it is these that modify the biology of the human being, who is also beginning to perceive even social factors in quite a different way. Dialectics does not simply put the social and the biological factors on an equal footing and attribute the human essence to the formula of biotropic-sociotropic determination favoured by some scientists. It stresses the dominant role of the social factors. Nor does dialectics accept the principles of vulgar sociologism, which ignores the significance of the biological principle in man.

http://www.marxistsfr.org/reference/archive/smith-cyril/works/millenni/smith3.htm
We can be conscious of our own humanity only because, and to the extent that, we act humanly, and that means creating ourselves. We are not some kind of machine, nor are we passive victims of evolutionary history, governed by ‘instincts’ which can never be understood or controlled, subroutines in a universal computer program. What distinguishes humanity from the rest of nature is the conscious, active relationship we have with everything else, with each other and with ourselves.

Of course we have a given biological make-up, resulting from the evolutionary history of our species. This conditions but does not fix what we do, either collectively or individually. What makes us human is our conscious, social, purposively directed activity, and this produces the content of our biological form. Our relationships with nature and with each other are defined by our productive activity: we are what we do.

The idea of the personality existing within our biology seems to be unclear and easily mistaken as the mistake of treating biological processes as synonymous with mental states/qualia. As if the content of the mind/consciousness is confined within the individual itself.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/mikhailov/works/riddle/riddle2c.htm
Even the most subtle investigators of the physiological substratum and its “mechanics” will never be able to explain the mysteries of the simplest mental act because physiological processes are not equivalent to even an elementary sensation or perception. The physiologist has studied the mechanism of temporary nerve connections, the processes of excitation, inhibition, and so on. He has explained how perception takes place physiologically, but his explanation does not cover the mental phenomenon itself. It does not explain the individual's vision of that which is perceived. The psychologist speaks of perception in quite a different key. For the psychologist perception takes place not “inside,” not in the nervous apparatus, but, strange though it may seem, “outside” it. Marx wrote: “The light from an object is perceived by us not as the subjective excitation of our optic nerve (physiological – F. M.), but as the objective form of something outside the eye itself (mental – F. M.).” [Capital, Vol. I, chap. 1 s. 4.]

https://ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/story-concept.htm
Granted, thought is not a “mysterious abstract entity,” but what is it? If mind is “embodied” then what is it that is embodied? If mind is “part of” our interactions then what part is it? Did someone say that mind is not embodied? Did someone say that mind is not part of our life? Did someone say that mind is a “mysterious abstract entity"? If the problem of the distinction between mind and matter is evaded in this way, with claims like “mind is embodied” or “thought is material” so as to elide the distinction between thought and matter, then no real break from naïve analytical philosophy is possible. It is easy to ridicule and exaggerate the efforts of others, but not so easy to make the distinction oneself. Every adjective you like can be ascribed to thought: embodied, material, connected, bodily or whatever. What you think of is material. What you think with is material. But if you don’t recognise that your thought is fundamentally something different from what you’re thinking and what you’re thinking about, then either you’re crazy or you don’t understand the question.

This issue of trying to reduce the mental/mind to material processes is the result of the insufficiency of traditional materialism which ends up like idealism in language games trying to expand the category ontologically or 'supervene' onto other categories whilst not having found the essential relationship which underpins the distinction that explains both.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/ilyenkov/works/abstract/abstra5c.htm
For instance, the philosophy of dialectical materialism, for the first time in history, was able to formulate and solve the problem of consciousness exactly because it approached this problem with a dialectical conception of contradiction. The old metaphysical materialism ran at this point into an obvious contradiction. On the one hand, the proposition advocated by any kind of materialism asserts that matter (objective reality) is primary, whereas consciousness is a reflection of this reality, that is, it is secondary. But, if one takes abstractly a single isolated fact of man’s goal-directed activity, the relation between consciousness and objectiveness is the reverse. The architect first builds a house in his consciousness and then brings objective reality (with the workers’ hands) in agreement with the ideal plan he has worked out. If one were to express this situation in philosophical categories, it would apparently contradict the general proposition of materialism, be in ‘logical contradiction’ to it. What is primary here is consciousness, the ideal plan of activity, while the sensual objective implementation of this plan is something secondary or derivative.

Materialists of the pre-Marxian epoch in philosophy could not, as we know, cope with this contradiction. As far as theoretical consciousness was concerned, they advocated the point of view of reflection, the proposition that being is primary and consciousness secondary. But, as soon as the debate switched to man’s goal-directed activity, metaphysical materialism was unable to make head or tail of the situation. It is not accidental that all materialists before Marx were pure idealists in the conception of the history of society. Here they accepted the diametrically opposed principle of explanation in no way connected with the principle of reflection. In the theories of the French Enlighteners, two unreconciled antimonic principles of explanation of human cognition and activity coexisted peacefully.

Marx and Engels showed that metaphysical materialism continually lapsed into this contradiction because it failed to see the real mediating link between objective reality and consciousness – it failed to grasp the role of practice. By discovering this mediating link between thing and consciousness, dialectical materialism solved the problem concretely, explaining the subject’s very activity from a single universal principle and thereby fully implementing the principle of materialism in the conception of history. The contradiction was in this way removed, concretely resolved, and explained as necessarily appearing.

This contradiction is eliminated in metaphysical materialism through abstract reduction of definitions of consciousness to definitions of matter. This ‘solution’, however, leaves the real problem untouched. The facts that were not included directly and abstractly into the sphere of application of the proposition on the primacy of matter (facts of man’s conscious activity) were not, of course, thereby eliminated from reality. They were merely eliminated from the consciousness of the materialist. As a result, materialism could not put an end to idealism even within its own theory.

For this reason, metaphysical materialism did not liquidate the real grounds on which, again and again, idealist conceptions of the relationship between matter and spirit emerged. Only the dialectical materialism of Marx, Engels, and Lenin proved capable of solving this contradiction, retaining the basic promise of any materialism but implementing this premise concretely in the understanding of the birth of consciousness from the practical sensual activity changing things. In this way, contradiction was shown to be a necessary expression of a real fact in its origin, rather than eliminated or declared to be false and invented. Idealism was thereby dislodged from its most solid shelter – speculation on facts concerning the subject’s activity in practice and cognition.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/pilling/works/capital/pilling2.htm#Pill2
Empiricism, as a theory of knowledge rests upon the false proposition that perception and sensation constitute the only material and source of knowledge. Marx as a materialist, of course, never denied that the material world, existing prior to and independently of consciousness, is the only source of sensation. But he knew that such a statement, if left at that point, could not provide the basis for a consistent materialism, but at best a mechanical form of materialism, which always left open a loop-hole for idealism. It is true that empiricism lay at the foundation of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century materialism in England and France. But at the same time this very empiricist point of view provided the basis for both the subjective idealism of Berkeley and the agnosticism of Hume.


But from Ilyenkov's western popularizer and a big reason he is even known in the west, David Bakhurst, argues that Ilyenkov's position as argued in regards to the development of blind-deaf children for a subtle thinker as he. Ilyenkov considered blind-deaf children to be without a consciousness or one so reduced that it was an almost pure state of a human being which proved that children's consciousness was socially developed.
http://quote.ucsd.edu/lchcautobio/files/2015/10/Bakhurst-and-Padden-The-Meshcheryakov-Experiment-3-1991.pdf
The only thinker to attempt to argue the first point was Ilyenkov. But the case he develops (in 1970 and 1977a) is weak. Ilyenkov treats the blind-deaf child as a modern day enfant sauvage. He argues that the child’s initial state represents the condition of any human child prior to the influence of society. This shows, he maintains, (a) that the human mind is not a gift of nature, and (b) that our mental capacities do not develop spontaneously according to some biological program. He concludes, therefore, that Meshcheryakov’s work confirms that:

“All the specifically human mental functions without exception are in their genesis and in their essence “internalized” modes and forms of external, sensuous-objective activity of man as a social subject . . [and therefore] that in the composition of man’s higher mental functions neither is there nor can there be absolutely anything innate or genetically inherited, that the human mind in its entirety is the result of up-bringing in the broadest sense of the term - that is, it is passed from generation to generation not by a natural, but by an entirely artificial route.” (Ilyenkov 1970, p. 89, our emphasis)

It should be clear, however, that Meshcheryakov’s work cannot be presented as “experimental proof” of such a position. As Ilyenkov’s opponents immediately pointed out (e.g., Malinovsky, 1970), Meshcheryakov’s achievements are perfectly consistent with nativism about mental development and with empiricism about concept formation. For where Ilyenkov takes the “initial condition” of the blind-deaf child to reveal the biological endowment of the normal human mind, his nativist opponent sees there a paradigm case of abnormality, wherein the mind’s innate faculties are suppressed due to sensory deprivation. To make good Ilyenkov’s case would take a great deal more argument than he provides in his brief writings on Meshcheryakov.

Bahkurst explains his view as to why Ilyenkov would argue from such a weak position is due to the political circumstances surrounding Meshcheryakov's research and his efforts to try and advocate for him. He also elaborates on the position of Ilyenkov's critic.
Consciousness and Revolution in Soviet Philosophy
Let us call Malinovsky's innatism 'bioenvrionmental interactionism." Philosophers who endorse this position will offer an alternative interpretation of the results of Mecsheryakov's "experiment." First, they will propose a different explanation of the blind-deaf child's initial state. They will argue that the child's woeful condition is caused, not because the child "has no mind," but because the child's innate mental capacities cannot spontaneously develop in the absence of the primary senses, the child cannot begin to form concepts. Therefore, the child's mind remains frozen in a primitive condition (a condition no doubt exacerbated by the trauma of his or her isolation). Second, interactionists will redescribe the role of the pedegogue in the child's development. For them, the pedeogue's task is to secure that the necessary interaction between brain and environment take place despite the child's disabilities. This is achieved by establishing alternative ways of presenting the child with the information normally yielded by sight and hearing. To do so, however, is merely ot bring about the fulfillment of certain necessary conditions of mental development, It is not, as Ilyenkov suggests, to literally to "create" the child's mind.

So it seems that his critic also shares the sense that one has to develop it through interaction with people and the world simply through an alternative sensory means having lost two of their senses. But I feel like what needs to get to specifics is exactly what is posited as innate to the mind, it does seem sensible that much of our perception has biological/physical limits in terms of what we can experience through our senses. But in regards to the mind, it's not clear what can be said to be innate, things that are not reducible to sensory limitations.

But to get into what is the nature of the mind in it's lower mental states, it's most primitive we necessarily have to consider the development of consciousness, to establish both continuity with our ancestors that we shared with apes but also the discontinuity that allows us to be essentially human. I think Ilyenkov is correct in emphasizing labour/activity underpins the development of ourselves as human beings but such a potential for consciousness is based on innate faculties but that a potential in itself is insufficient for consciousness to the development we witness today, it is an absolute necessity but it is only the precondition.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/phylogeny.htm
One of the most engaging and original insights that are provided by Donald’s narrative of succeeding types of ‘culture’ – episodic, mimetic, mythic and theoretic – is the implication is has for understanding the structure of human consciousness.

“In essence my hypothesis is that the modern human mind has evolved from the primate mind through a series of adaptations each of which led to the emergence of a new representational system. Each successive new representational system has remained intact within our current mental architecture, so that the modern mind is a mosaic structure of cognitive vestiges from earlier stages of human emergence. Cognitive vestiges invoke the evolutionary principle of conservation of previous gains ... The modern representational structure of the human mind ... encompasses the gains of all our hominid ancestors, as well as those of certain apes. Far from being a diffuse tabula rasa, modern human cognitive architecture is highly differentiated and specialised.” (Donald 1991: 3)

...
Individual human consciousness, on the other hand, poses all sorts of intractable problems which require solution by empirical science, but which nonetheless seem to elude science. Donald is able to demonstrate how each of the developmental stages of hominid culture arises by a slight adaptation on the basis of the earlier culture. This suggests that an appropriate approach to understanding subjectivity within the various branches of science, is to theoretically reconstruct the individual on the assumption that the individual is constructed by the phylogeny Donald describes.

So what is suggested is a layered structure of the mind, as follows:

. an unself-conscious episodic mind able to perceive and remember concrete scenarios, and able to respond more or less appropriately in accordance with a wide variety of ‘scripts’;
. a mimetic mind able to analyse, recombine and reproduce scenarios, voluntarily and independently of context, analytically reflect on scenarios and respond to them appropriately;
. an oral-mythic mind able to relate and understand narratives and form an understanding of the world in terms of words and gestures of various kinds related in narrative;
. a theoretic mind able to use symbols and artefacts generally to structure their own consciousness and invent and produce artefacts to assimilate their mind to the material world;
. a material culture, existing independently of the individual, but providing symbolic resources for symbolic activity.

It is not possible to be precise on this matter; Donald offers a suggestion. Psychology and neuroscience is challenged to answer. If Donald’s narrative is tested out in the investigation of the psyche of modern human beings it may in turn need to be modified. It is based on a relatively restricted mass of palaeontological and archaeological evidence, and further investigation of modern human beings may cause the theory to be modified.

What is clear however, is that any approach to neuroscience or psychology which ignores the discontinuity between human beings and other animals and fails to take account of any defensible theory of human cognitive origins, whether that of Engels, Donald or someone else, is bound to fall into absurdity.

Extended Mind
The key concept which comes out of at the end of Donald’s enquiry is the concept of ‘extended mind’ – the combination of material artefacts and mnemonic and computational devices with the internal cognitive apparatus of human beings who have been raised in the practice of using them. Human physiology, behaviour and consciousness cannot be reproduced by individual human beings alone; we are reliant for our every action on the world of artefacts, with its own intricate inherent system of relations. Theory is the ideal form of the structure of material culture. Every thought, memory, problem solution or communication, is effected by the mobilisation of the internal mind of individuals, and the external mind contained within human culture. Taken together, the internal and external mind is called ‘extended mind’. This is what Hegel called Geist, an entity in which the division between subjectivity and objectivity is relative and not absolute.

Humans are animals which have learnt to build and mobilise an extended mind. This has proved to be a powerful adaption. Individuals in this species stand in quite a different relation to the world around them than the individuals of any other extant species. Understanding of the psyche of the modern individual depends on understanding the process of development of a human being growing up in such a culture, and this will be the topic of the next chapter.
#15013610
SolarCross wrote:You won't get any useful information about the nature of the human mind by reading quack pseudo-scientists like Marx or Chomsky.


:knife: I doubt you've read either, or Pinker for that matter.

Start with Stephen Pinker and work your way up.


Pinker is a joke, the only people who take him seriously are internet wingnut cranks.
#15013613
If solarcross knew what the fuck he was talking about he'd know both Pinker and Chomsky reject the blank slate nonsense and their primary disagreement is over how well evolutionary psychology can describe and explain human nature. Chomsky says the science is weak and Pinker claims it's robust.
#15013619
I see Pinker shares a conputational theory of mind which has me skeptical of how good his ubderstanding of consciousness is as I think he reflects limitations of the tools used to invesitgate the mind. Summing ip the point of how peoples activity comes to determine the character of their perspective of reality.

https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/Psychology_and_the_Zeitgeist.pdf
A fine series of treatments of the role of tools in the formation of psychology as a science begins with a history of psychological instruments by Horst Grundlach, showing how much the formation and recognition of psychology as a discipline owes to psychological instruments, as objectifications of psychological practices. Giergerenzer and Sturm take this idea further. With an historical investigation, firstly of the use of statistics, and then of computers, as tools in psychology, the authors show how familiarity with a tool in the psychologists’ work leads to the adoption of the tool as a metaphor for the human mind. One of the benefits which flows from this observation is to open up lines of critique of current theories by looking at the limitations of the tool and at the differing strengths and weaknesses as compared to real minds.


And else where I’ve suggested that the philosophical outlook of evo. Psych.’s methodology seems to have the limitations of a crude materialism that tries to explain the ideal character of the mind in correlation to brain processes to such a degree it has already shown itself insufficient at this point and in need of adaption.
https://www.politicsforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=14761958#p14761958
The efforts to prescribe certain functions of the mind to specific parts of the brain has been most successful in expanding the matter due to it’s inadequacy.
I belive part of the issue is that they don’t take consciousness seriously as a philosophpical category and merely try to monopolize the category of mind by describing material processes. This is has a narrow ability to explain the origins and nature of human consciousness, especially in its different qualities/levels.

A most interesting thing Ive seen come out of western philosophers has been that of David Chalmers et al in regards to the extended mind where consciousness isn’t simply what the brain does.
http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/philo/courses/concepts/clark.html
Something which resonates with Marxism pholsophocal outlook and a materialism that acknowledges the sensius world as primary and real but doesn’t crudely try to play language games for its failure to appropriately incorporate the truth of active idealism.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/searle.pdf
But let us make a slight revision to Searle’s assumptions. Let us assume that thinking is not something going on exclusively between the ears, but on the contrary, that other parts of our body and things and people outside of us participate, in however small a way does not matter, in consciousness. Let us assume that the brain is not a closed system. Let us suppose for example that the presence of something in my field of vision (for example my address book), participates in my consciousness (for example, remembering my friend’s phone number). That is, that the change from one state of consciousness to another depends in some measure on something which is not between my ears, and is therefore not subject solely to the biology of the brain.

Which brings us to issue of free will and how consciousness is our relation to the world itself despite generalizations of introspection causing scepticism for some. We aren’t strictly determined by a genetic code we inherited from ancestors. Such a pholosophical materialism is inadequate to explaining mans social being whilst also being a natural being.
https://ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/determinism.pdf
So it appears that the self can at one and the same time exercise free will with “maximum freedom and completely voluntary acts,” and be obedient to the laws of biology. The higher psychological functions cannot be described, nor a causal explanation of the functioning of the formulated, without recourse to the language of voluntary actions, that is, free will. But Vygotsky demands not only an intelligible explanation, but a causal explanation of the life of the higher psychological functions. Is this possible without recourse to thinking causing behavior?
#15013620
Sivad wrote:If solarcross knew what the fuck he was talking about he'd know both Pinker and Chomsky reject the blank slate nonsense and their primary disagreement is over how well evolutionary psychology can describe and explain human nature. Chomsky says the science is weak and Pinker claims it's robust.

No need to cry, just because there is someone out there who isn't under the spell of the Chomsky cult of personality.

Chomsky just makes stuff up for his ideological agenda, whereas Pinker is all about drawing logical conclusions from empirical data.

-----------

Chomsky and Marx are food for thought for people who like eating dogshit.
#15013642
As a person who has raised many babies, some mental behaviours are definitely innate. I say this because all of them have displayed, at one time or another, habitual mental behaviour that we have not taught them.

This makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. Deer are born knowing how to run. Baby monkeys now how to cling. Baby humans would likely be able to use their brains to a limited degree right off the bat.
#15014201
Wellsy wrote::lol:
Well this took an interesting turn into a pile of dogshit

I have five children-----all raised identically. They are vastly different from each other according to heredity.
They look different with regards to physical traits and their personalities are different.
They also have different talents, and degrees of intelligence. They also have a lot in common, but they are not identical.

We inherit eye color, height, looks, etc. We also inherit personality traits, there is nothing strange about that.

Sure, there is a social component, but for example take IQ. A low IQ by birth kid could not be a math major even if he had
all the opportunities to do so while growing up with great parents.
Last edited by Julian658 on 25 Jun 2019 14:00, edited 1 time in total.
#15014206
Absolute fantastic post Wellsy. Great read. :up:

Can't say I know much on this subject or the philosophy behind it, but I would say consciousness is innate. It has to be. No one can teach you how to decode and understand the data that your senses provides you and how you react to what you process. But knowledge within an individuals consciousness is external and a process of neuron transformation. It is a process of innate biological elements transforming into memory and kept in the way the brain functions that is separate from our natural instincts. So like a data stick, the way it works is manufactured but the data stored in it will transform.

So in summary the mind is both innate and will also evolve depending on the individuals surroundings, but depending on what elements of our mind are instinct or taught will depend and are not interwoven in the mind. Or in laymen terms memory (and knowledge) is taught and behaviour is innate.
#15014261
B0ycey wrote:Absolute fantastic post Wellsy. Great read. :up:

Can't say I know much on this subject or the philosophy behind it, but I would say consciousness is innate. It has to be. No one can teach you how to decode and understand the data that your senses provides you and how you react to what you process. But knowledge within an individuals consciousness is external and a process of neuron transformation. It is a process of innate biological elements transforming into memory and kept in the way the brain functions that is separate from our natural instincts. So like a data stick, the way it works is manufactured but the data stored in it will transform.

So in summary the mind is both innate and will also evolve depending on the individuals surroundings, but depending on what elements of our mind are instinct or taught will depend and are not interwoven in the mind. Or in laymen terms memory (and knowledge) is taught and behaviour is innate.

Thank you, it was very rushed as I was mostly trying to put together the pieces I'm trying to draw from but didn't really get to edit it into a more simplified manner.

I think I agree that consciousness (in a very primitive kind) must be innate in order for it's potential to be then developed culturally to higher mental functions through use of artefacts/tools of social significance. The simplest quality of consciousness to be considered here is something Marx wrote briefly in The German Ideology but crossed out, "My relation to my environment is my consciousness." I would also put in regards to human consciousness, the potential for it's cultural development.
With this, it is quite inclusive and not specified to any particular quality of consciousness except it's orientation to the world.
When it comes to the origins of consciousness from it's simplest kinds as present in many animals, I like to refer to this general outline of what behaviour lead to adaptions which precede our potential for language and self-awareness.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/evolution-language.htm
- The behaviour which drives the emergence of a new species and consequently is its characteristic feature must exist in rudimentary form in the predecessor species.
- Behaviour leads biology. If this principle is observed, then certain absurdities in speculation about human origins can be avoided. Anatomical adaptations are not first evolved and then used. Inadequate anatomy is used and anatomy thereby evolves to become adequate.
- It is not language or tool-making which is the original occasion for the development of consciousness, but simply carrying things ? the first break from immediate consumption of Nature, represented in the human hand.
- Carrying things is the germ cell of human development. Carrying things led to the evolution of bipedalism and signed language and thereby to tool-making and speech.
- Behaviour leads conscious awareness and control. Behaviour evolves with a logic of its own; once a form of behaviour becomes established it has the potential to be reflected in the psyche.
- Language must have evolved before the necessary vocal apparatus and conscious control of this apparatus had evolved. Language before speech is necessary premise.
- Collaborative labour provides the basis in behaviour for the consciousness of the motives of others and oneself.

On the other hand, observations of present-day human communicative and cognitive activity tells us very little about the origins of language. Just that whatever capacities we observe in modern human beings must be plausible as outcomes of the phylogenesis of language that we propose. Equally, whatever we find about the origins of language has very little to tell us about modern human behaviour which could not be determined more reliably by observation of that behaviour. Doubtless, we learn more about human behaviour by closely observing how children and young adults acquire language.

But nonetheless, the origins of language remains one of the most fascinating and intractable problems of natural science.

The above, Andy Blunden makes the point that the origins doesn't weigh heavily on understanding modern humans but I think it is useful in pushing back against certain conceptions which have perhaps problematic ideas of human nature implied by their ideas.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/phylogeny.htm
Despite the lack of explicit concern for human origins within the dominant discourses of psychology and human biology, there is nevertheless an unstated and unexamined origins story within them. Every so often these implied narratives are spelt out by the various waves of neo-Darwinism. The usual theme is something of the kind that human beings are basically animals with larger brains, who, as a result of having a larger brain, have cleverly surrounded themselves with cultural products which give them the illusion that they have differentiated themselves from the animal kingdom, but deep down, we are just animals. But there cannot be a theory of how things are, without a theory of how things got this way, either explicit or implicit, refined and well supported, or in the process of formulation.

The above is a sign of the poverty of theoretical thought and as a result end up being more abstract than they should be for science. Because they do not established the particularity of what it is to be human rather than consider humans as slightly more complex animals without real distinction because of their lack of recognition of essential qualitative differences.
It seems appealing to me that the primitive man is no biologically distinguished from modern man except to the extent he lives within less or more complex a society rather than attempting to explain much of the content of human thought and activity.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/1930/man/ch03.htm
First of all, we must note that the process whereby primitive man became transformed into civilized man is inherently different from the process whereby the ape turned into man. Or perhaps we should say that the process of the historical development of human behavior and the process of his biological development do not coincide, and one is not the extension of the other; rather, each of these processes is governed by its own laws.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/1930/psychological-systems.htm
We have no reason to assume that the human brain underwent an essential biological evolution in the course of human history. We have no reason to assume that the brain of primitive man differed from our brain, was an inferior brain, or had a biological structure different from ours. All biological investigations lead us to assume that biologically speaking the most primitive man we know deserves the full title of man. The biological evolution of man was finished before the beginning of his historical development. And it would be a flagrant mixing up of the concepts of biological evolution and historical development to try to explain the difference between our thinking and the thinking of primitive man by claiming that primitive man stands on another level of biological development.

Which is a view which agitates against the attempts to explain the social through biological mechanisms which although making many things possible or potential, do not in themselves explain phenomenon beyond the biological. Just as how examining signs while useful in understanding how communicative is possible, doesn't reveal their meaning.

In regards to innate, I do like the summary Andy Blunden Makes of Merlin Donald about different kinds of 'culture', defined as ‘the shared patterns of behaviour characteristic of a species’.
Where the quality of some seemingly innate kinds of consciousness are actually quite advanced products of being acculturated.
Something that also peaks my thought in this is the tendency to try and rebuild a whole from analytical parts, an issue in regards to consciousness which is more of an integral whole than what may be readily seen from an analytical framework.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/phylogeny.htm
Episodic representation is obviously more than vestigial, as the capacity to perceive and remember events and scenarios is fundamental to all thought and reflection. If we know that primates and other mammals can perceive and remember episodes, as concrete, context-bound atoms of consciousness, then shouldn’t we take this capacity to be a starting point for consciousness? Isn’t this more fruitful than the contrary view which sees episodes as aggregates of objects, movements, spatial arrangements, and so on, to be built up out of separately perceived parts?

Neuroscience already knows that the numerous components of a scenario are processed by distinct neuronal structures which transform various kinds of material interactions and experiences into neuronal form, and has posed for itself the various ‘binding problems’ of how these diverse components of a scenario are ‘put back together’ in a single perception. And yet perception of the whole ‘gestalt’ is evolutionarily prior to the perception of the individual ‘components’ (such as colour, movement, shape, spatial distribution, etc.). In fact, perception of ‘gestalts’ precedes self-consciousness in evolution; animals perceive episodes without those perceptions being ‘brought together’ and presented to any kind of self-consciousness. So even though the posing of the problem as one of binding is intuitively compelling to us self-conscious individuals, it would appear that it is more a problem of differentiation, of how the brain is able to differentiate the various aspects of a scenario from the whole. And of course the explanation for the various processes of differentiation is well-known: the brain has a known variety of specialised structures which make these differentiations possible.


And this process of differentiation is more intuitive to me in that I think of primitive state of consciousness like that of being, simple immediacy in which one is given a sensuous whole without distinction. The breaking down of the subject/object relation based in our alienation from reality via language (the symbolic reflection of reality).
https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/hegel/txt/being1.htm
The philosophy of Being is first of all "awareness". In this century it is the point of view expressed by, for example, Krishnamurti, and is strongly present in the martial arts; among the popular applied psychologists "active listening" closely expresses the standpoint of Being. It is also called seriality - "one damn thing after another". Pure Being is the world an instant before you see it, it is the world through the eyes of a new born baby. Like the Zen teaching that demands of the devotee absolute awareness, absolute "thoughtlessness", it is, for consciousness, an unattainable moment - even though it is equally the beginning of all consciousness!

An example of this given in Sartre's Nausea I believe in which Kant's categoriesof understanding breakdown and there is just the empirical content.

So from the first article briefly summarizing behavior leading biology, the emphasis is that our behavior had to lead to changes in our biology/physical form as a precondition to the possibility of cultural development like speech/language. But what I get curious to tend is the point in which the primitive man is already essentially the same as a modern person but is simply primitive on mind for the lack of historical development.

But from Merlin Donald, a strong case for the innate would likely be the consciousness of our closest animal relatives, apes which are very concrete and immediate in their consciousness (episodic).
I guess trying to consider child development in regards to Merlin Donald's classification of 'cultures' would be required.
Individual human consciousness, on the other hand, poses all sorts of intractable problems which require solution by empirical science, but which nonetheless seem to elude science. Donald is able to demonstrate how each of the developmental stages of hominid culture arises by a slight adaptation on the basis of the earlier culture. This suggests that an appropriate approach to understanding subjectivity within the various branches of science, is to theoretically reconstruct the individual on the assumption that the individual is constructed by the phylogeny Donald describes.
...
It is not possible to be precise on this matter; Donald offers a suggestion. Psychology and neuroscience is challenged to answer. If Donald’s narrative is tested out in the investigation of the psyche of modern human beings it may in turn need to be modified. It is based on a relatively restricted mass of palaeontological and archaeological evidence, and further investigation of modern human beings may cause the theory to be modified.

What is clear however, is that any approach to neuroscience or psychology which ignores the discontinuity between human beings and other animals and fails to take account of any defensible theory of human cognitive origins, whether that of Engels, Donald or someone else, is bound to fall into absurdity.

What would also be interesting the focus on the Cultural Historical Activity Theory sense of aretfacts and culture in development in regards to specific functions like memory even which seems a given. Where it is most clearly the case that one requires a functioning brain for such an ability, again the biology is the material basis for functions such as memory, without it is of course impossible, but by itself, it is insufficient.

Hence the emphasis given to human activity and it's relation to an already humanized world, a world filled with meaning which we are made to be accustom to in the simplest of tasks such as using a spoon to eat.
The biological drives to eat, have sex and so on which necessarily take on a social form and cannot be otherwise. The fact that all human beings need to eat doesn't by itself explain the manner in which they go about it.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/zetkin/1920/lenin/zetkin1.htm
But will the normal person in normal circumstances lie down in the gutter and drink out of a puddle, or out of a glass with a rim greasy from many lips? But the social aspect is most important of all.

So when you write "No one can teach you how to decode and understand the data that your senses provides you and how you react to what you process.", this must be referring to the lower mental functions like how to remember something and how to differentiate one object from another. Which I think has the strongest grounds on which to suggest develop within ourselves as its difficult to imagine how it is otherwise for the modern person, but I do want to push it and wonder whether specific qualities of things like memory are indebted to things that we now take for granted because we grow up as a modern person rather than someone on the cusp of developing what seem now simple abilities.

Considering the view that the mind isn't merely about what goes on in the brain but heavily indebted to the socialized world around it.
The key concept which comes out of at the end of Donald’s enquiry is the concept of ‘extended mind’ – the combination of material artefacts and mnemonic and computational devices with the internal cognitive apparatus of human beings who have been raised in the practice of using them. Human physiology, behaviour and consciousness cannot be reproduced by individual human beings alone; we are reliant for our every action on the world of artefacts, with its own intricate inherent system of relations. Theory is the ideal form of the structure of material culture. Every thought, memory, problem solution or communication, is effected by the mobilisation of the internal mind of individuals, and the external mind contained within human culture. Taken together, the internal and external mind is called ‘extended mind’. This is what Hegel called Geist, an entity in which the division between subjectivity and objectivity is relative and not absolute.
#15014273
This thread in itself asks an interesting question Wellsy, but from reading the quotes and your analysis as well, it seems when I consider the question with thought, it would pretty much align with the sources you provided.

Having said that, just to play devils advocate and to encourage debate there are a few quotes I will address.

Wellsy wrote:When it comes to the origins of consciousness from it's simplest kinds as present in many animals, I like to refer to this general outline of what behaviour lead to adaptions which precede our potential for language and self-awareness.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/evolution-language.htm


I would suggest that language is something that is learnt and as such cannot be innate. Like any evolution adaptation, if their was an advantage to produce sufficient language this would carry on in the gene pool. However to execute language would be something you learnt by experience and not something that is inherent. Therefore I disagree with Blunden that it is behaviour which leads to biology. It is environment and external conditions that dictate biological changes and our behaviour adapts to its surroundings.

As for biological adaptations and evolution possesses, it is likely that biological changes occurred to become more adapt however any adaption in biology is a slow process so some form of biological autonomy that gave a living creature an natural advantage must of occurred first. So in terms of humans and language, the ability to make sounds must of occurred first before the ability to create language could have happened and not the other way round.

Which is a view which agitates against the attempts to explain the social through biological mechanisms which although making many things possible or potential, do not in themselves explain phenomenon beyond the biological. Just as how examining signs while useful in understanding how communicative is possible, doesn't reveal their meaning.


In terms of living man and primitive man, I would suggest that behaviours are different to each other due to the different conditions that we find man in today when compared to yesteryear. Although consciousness is a biological process so the ability to create our perceptions are the same. Also humans today still have primitive instincts that have no advantage within an artificial environment but would have been advantageous in yesteryear. These instincts and urges would suggest a biological influence in what it is to be human that cannot be explained by environment or learning alone.

As for your example of understand signs, it is true to understand meaning must be learnt. For example I do not understand Spanish although I am familiar with the alphabet. But to have the ability to distinguish signs and how to understand them must be innate. When born you are not taught to understand your surrounds but even an infant behaves in a manner so it survives.

So when you write "No one can teach you how to decode and understand the data that your senses provides you and how you react to what you process.", this must be referring to the lower mental functions like how to remember something and how to differentiate one object from another. Which I think has the strongest grounds on which to suggest develop within ourselves as its difficult to imagine how it is otherwise for the modern person, but I do want to push it and wonder whether specific qualities of things like memory are indebted to things that we now take for granted because we grow up as a modern person rather than someone on the cusp of developing what seem now simple abilities.


You must understand that this question you ask is not something I have thought much of until today. My opinions on the subject are merely observation and not from philosophical thought or education. But when I say there are things that cannot be taught or are inherent, yes I believe it is a lower mental function (or more accurately a mental function), but it isn't memory but genetic instinct that can be found within neuron processes that are found away from memory function. Behaviour would also be part of that mental process although I believe behaviour adapts to its surroundings to maintain the best advantage to the host. Memory on the other hand is part of the brain that allows learning and as such is important in how individuals perceive their consciousness and will evolve that perception in order to enhance their consciousness. Therefore the mind is both innate and self taught and by default so must consciousness.
#15014476
B0ycey wrote:This thread in itself asks an interesting question Wellsy, but from reading the quotes and your analysis as well, it seems when I consider the question with thought, it would pretty much align with the sources you provided.

Having said that, just to play devils advocate and to encourage debate there are a few quotes I will address.

Cool beans, I think in the end I've come to what I summarized in the last post that there needs to be empirical work investigated of the particular individual with the more general outline of human origins and nature to inform the research and see if it fits in with modern child development.
As such, I guess this is something that can't be solved in advanced despite what some idealists tend towards, as we do have to wait for new knowledge.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/criterion-truth.htm
The thing is, I think, that for Marx, with his proto-Activity Theory presented in the Theses, the truth is itself a property of Activity. That is not the same as saying that activity proves the truth of a proposition, as if you can have a theory, and then try it out, and be proved wrong or right. Marx waited till the Paris Commune before he clarified a number of questions which were left open in the Communist Manifesto. Marx did not try to reason this out in his head. He did not make a proposal and see if it worked, but rather followed the movement of the working class and tried to give voice to it. The section of “Method of Political Economy” in the Grundrisse most clearly explains this difficult point contra Hegel.

Although we should beware those that put faith in the progress of scientific discovery where the lacking can be conceptual.
http://www.kafu-academic-journal.info/journal/6/163/
Dubrovsky’s appeals to some “yet scantily explored” individual features of the “cerebral architectonics” Ilyenkov considers as vaporous conjectures, a certain “neuromancy”.

As this can be the endless description of particulars but no real effort to develop the essence/universals of the matter.


I would suggest that language is something that is learnt and as such cannot be innate. Like any evolution adaptation, if their was an advantage to produce sufficient language this would carry on in the gene pool. However to execute language would be something you learnt by experience and not something that is inherent. Therefore I disagree with Blunden that it is behaviour which leads to biology. It is environment and external conditions that dictate biological changes and our behaviour adapts to its surroundings.

As for biological adaptations and evolution possesses, it is likely that biological changes occurred to become more adapt however any adaption in biology is a slow process so some form of biological autonomy that gave a living creature an natural advantage must of occurred first. So in terms of humans and language, the ability to make sounds must of occurred first before the ability to create language could have happened and not the other way round.

It seems you're on par with Blunden in that he recognizes that behaviours changed due to environmental pressures as I'm not sure he abstracts away external pressures and to make sense of a behaviour one would necessarily mention those pressures or at least speculate that they existed
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/evolution-language.htm
The biology of the species evolves under selection pressures determined by the relationship between the organism’s behaviour and its environment. The behaviour of the species co-evolves with its environment, within the constraints of its biological make-up – constraints which very gradually evolve. Natural selection determines that the biology of the species will evolve so as to enhance the fitness of the species for a relevant behaviour in the given environment ? the relation of the species to its environment.
...
We don’t know what rudimentary bipedal behaviours and environmental pressures led to this departure. No-one knows, but like everyone else I will speculate:

Bipedalism enhanced the pre-existing behaviour of carrying things.

So the difference I could best make is that you go: Environment Pressures -> Biology -> Behaviour
Where as Blunden seems to be more: Environmental Pressures -> Behaviour -> Biology.
As Vygotsky (1930) pointed out, a behaviour which provides the motive force for the formation of a new species, must be present in rudimentary form in the predecessor species. If a given behaviour is entirely absent in a species, its development cannot be what drives the transition to a new species. Either the relevant behaviour existed in rudimentary form or the capacity for the rudimentary behaviour arises by exaptation as a result of adaptation from the behaviour which is driving the transition.

He see's behaviour as being changed by the pressures and it is the behaviour that then furthers the biological development.
The idea being that behaviour/activity helps refine the biological make up of humans that then can become a means of some function.
Similar to how tools themselves begin as crude before they actually become refined.
Spoiler: show
http://www.sacred-texts.com/phi/spinoza/under/tiu08.htm
Now that we know what kind of knowledge is necessary for us, we must indicate the way and the method whereby we may gain the said knowledge concerning the things needful to be known. (2) In order to accomplish this, we must first take care not to commit ourselves to a search, going back to infinity—that is, in order to discover the best method of finding truth, there is no need of another method to discover such method; nor of a third method for discovering the second, and so on to infinity. (3) By such proceedings, we should never arrive at the knowledge of the truth, or, indeed, at any knowledge at all. (30:4) The matter stands on the same footing as the making of material tools, which might be argued about in a similar way. (5) For, in order to work iron, a hammer is needed, and the hammer cannot be forthcoming unless it has been made; but, in order to make it, there was need of another hammer and other tools, and so on to infinity. (6) We might thus vainly endeavor to prove that men have no power of working iron.

[31] (1) But as men at first made use of the instruments supplied by nature to accomplish very easy pieces of workmanship, laboriously and imperfectly, and then, when these were finished, wrought other things more difficult with less labour and greater perfection; and so gradually mounted from the simplest operations to the making of tools, and from the making of tools to the making of more complex tools, and fresh feats of workmanship, till they arrived at making, complicated mechanisms which they now possess. (31:2)

https://www.marxists.org/archive/ilyenkov/works/abstract/abstra1f.htm
Nature as such creates absolutely nothing ‘human’. Man with all his specifically human features is from beginning to end the result and product of his own labour. Even walking straight, which appears at first sight man’s natural, anatomically innate trait, is in actual fact a result of educating the child within an established society: a child isolated from society à la Mowgli (and such cases are numerous) prefers to run on all fours, and it takes a lot of effort to break him of the habit.

In other words, only those features, properties, and peculiarities of the individual that are ultimately products of social labour, are specifically human. Of course, it is mother nature that provides the anatonomic and physiological prerequisites. However, the specifically human form which they ultimately assume is the product of labour, and it can only be comprehended or deduced from labour. Conversely, all those properties of man that are not a product of labour, do not belong to the features expressing man’s essence (e.g., soft lobes of the ear, although they are a ‘specific feature’ of man and not of any other living being).


To which the emphasis is given that there was language prior to speech in the form of physical gestures and actions which contribute to speech as a mode of communication.
I learn from Corballis (2002) that the dropping of the larynx, one of the anatomical preconditions for articulate speech, may have also arisen by exaptation from bipedalism. But while being necessary for articulate speech, the descended larynx was far from being a sufficient precondition for speech. Other anatomical changes are required around the tongue and lips as well as voluntary control of the larynx, which is absent in our evolutionary predecessors.
...
It has been widely suggested that the behaviour which drove the transition to our species was speech. However, all the predecessors to homo sapiens lacked voluntary control over their vocalisation, so it cannot be said that speech existed in even rudimentary form among earlier hominids. Primate vocalisations are immediate, involuntary emotional response to situations and are not intended to communicate, even if they do generate appropriate responses in other creatures. On the other hand, carrying things is a behaviour which exists in rudimentary form in our surviving ancestor species.
...
The point is that:

Language must have evolved before the anatomical prerequisites for speech were in place.

Child-talk, creoles and home-signing aside, there is no such thing as a ‘primitive language’ in existence anywhere in the world today. There is no reason to suppose that the language used by the first homo sapiens sapiens was not already fully developed in the immediately preceding species, having arisen from a language based on gesture which had many hundreds of thousands of years of cultural development behind it.

Phonological analysis of the world’s languages has identified uniform tendencies corresponding to the most recent wave of homo sapiens migration from Africa, and suggests an origin time for spoken language coincident with the origins of homo sapiens 100,000-170,000 years ago (Corballis 2002, p. 133). Speech is therefore relatively recent on the evolutionary time-scale, as evidenced by this phonological analysis, but language itself must be relatively ancient, because comparative analysis of the brain cavity does not indicate significant development of language ability over this time span. The reason the language ability shows no signs of progressive development, while the phonology of language shows distinct patterns of development marking the spread of homo sapiens across the globe, is that speech began after language was already fully developed in the mediums of signs, gesture, facial expression an mime. Phonology is new, but language is ancient and was complete at the time homo sapiens evolved.

The alternative proposition that a sophisticated anatomical and psychological apparatus enabling voluntary, articulate speech evolved but without being used, and then one day humans discovered they could speak is absurd! It takes hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years for such anatomical changes to evolve, during which time creatures have ample opportunity to explore their capabilities. Behaviour leads biology.

The ancestors of the homo species were already using language. Effective, controlled use of vocalisation gradually expanded while the gestural components gradually receded, even though gestures still continue as part of our normal speech to this day. This would be an instance of selection pressures based in behaviour driving the evolution of physiology and anatomy.

Again, I do not place any weight on the argument that speech ‘freed up’ the hands for labour, but it could feasibly have been a contributing factor in the gradual transition from signed language to spoken language. This change of behaviour unfolded in the context of collaborative social life, where selection pressure forced the biological change to better subject the vocal apparatus to conscious control, as gestures were already.

So here he asserts language exists prior to speech and that the ability to make sounds were likely without communicative significance until such means of language had already developed over a long time.


In terms of living man and primitive man, I would suggest that behaviours are different to each other due to the different conditions that we find man in today when compared to yesteryear. Although consciousness is a biological process so the ability to create our perceptions are the same. Also humans today still have primitive instincts that have no advantage within an artificial environment but would have been advantageous in yesteryear. These instincts and urges would suggest a biological influence in what it is to be human that cannot be explained by environment or learning alone.

As for your example of understand signs, it is true to understand meaning must be learnt. For example I do not understand Spanish although I am familiar with the alphabet. But to have the ability to distinguish signs and how to understand them must be innate. When born you are not taught to understand your surrounds but even an infant behaves in a manner so it survives.

Agreed to the bolded, to which I tend to emphasize the essentially biological drives are incredibly basic and so biological explanations of things are confined to very primary functions and drives.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/fromm/works/1961/man/ch04.htm
He no longer used the term "essence" later on, as being abstract and unhistorical, but he clearly retained the notion of this essence in a more historical version, in the differentiation between "human nature in general" and "human nature as modified" with each historical period. In line with this distinction between a general human nature and the specific expression of human nature in each culture, Marx distinguishes, as we have already mentioned above, two types of human drives and appetites: the constant or fixed ones, such as hunger and the sexual urge, which are an integral part of human nature, and which can be changed only in their form and the direction they take in various cultures, and the "relative" appetites, which are not an integral part of human nature but which "owe their origin to certain social structures and certain conditions of production and communication." [24]

https://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/1930/psychological-systems.htm
We have no reason to assume that the human brain underwent an essential biological evolution in the course of human history. We have no reason to assume that the brain of primitive man differed from our brain, was an inferior brain, or had a biological structure different from ours. All biological investigations lead us to assume that biologically speaking the most primitive man we know deserves the full title of man. The biological evolution of man was finished before the beginning of his historical development. And it would be a flagrant mixing up of the concepts of biological evolution and historical development to try to explain the difference between our thinking and the thinking of primitive man by claiming that primitive man stands on another level of biological development. The laws of dreaming are the same everywhere, but the role which the dream fulfills is completely different and we will see that such a difference not only exists between, let us say, the Kaffir and us. The Roman believed in dreams as well, although he would not say in a difficult situation “I will dream about it,” – because he stood on another level of human development and would solve the matter, in the words of Tacitus, “with arms and reason and not like a woman through a dream.” The dream was a sign for him, an omen. The Roman did not begin something when he had had a bad dream about it. In the Roman, the dream had another structural connection with other functions.

Even if you turn to the Freudian neurotic, you again get a new relation to dreams. Extremely interesting is the remark of one of Freud’s critics that Freud’s discovery of the relation between the dream and sexual wishes, characteristic of the neurotic, is characteristic of the neurotic exactly “here and now.” For the neurotic the dream serves his sexual wishes, but this is no general law. It is a problem that is open to further investigation.

When you carry this still further, you see that dreams enter into completely new relations with a number of functions. This can also be observed with respect to quite a number of other processes. We see that thinking is at first, in the words of Spinoza [1677/1955, p. 187], the servant of the passions, but that man who has reason is the master of his passions.

This is why I make the distinction of certain biological drives remaining historically invariant but taking on different social forms. Their existence is what is invariant, their form is social however. So that it is both the same thing but changes across time also within certain limits.


You must understand that this question you ask is not something I have thought much of until today. My opinions on the subject are merely observation and not from philosophical thought or education. But when I say there are things that cannot be taught or are inherent, yes I believe it is a lower mental function (or more accurately a mental function), but it isn't memory but genetic instinct that can be found within neuron processes that are found away from memory function. Behaviour would also be part of that mental process although I believe behaviour adapts to its surroundings to maintain the best advantage to the host. Memory on the other hand is part of the brain that allows learning and as such is important in how individuals perceive their consciousness and will evolve that perception in order to enhance their consciousness. Therefore the mind is both innate and self taught and by default so must consciousness.

Well the distinction of lower and higher mental functions as classified by Lev Vygotsky seems to be at this distinction between what is innate within us and that which is developed by culture. The idea being that our higher levels of conscious complexity is a development upon the same grounds as that of the primitive man, we have developed in our social evolution faster than we have in any significant biological kind.
[url][/url]
A Higher Mental Function (HMF), or Higher Psychological Function, is a psychological function organised by social cultural mediation.
...
The topological significance of “higher” in the term “higher mental function” denotes the genesis of psychological functions that come to reorganise pre-existing functions on the basis of social cultural mediation. “Higher” also denotes the cultural significance of these functions analogous to “high art” and “high church” (Vygotsky 1997, p. 97): The analysis and structure of higher mental processes lead us directly to disclosing the basic problem of the whole history of the cultural development of the child, to elucidating the genesis of higher forms of behavior, that is, the origin and development of the mental forms that are the subject of our study.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/1931/higher-mental-functions.htm
Thus we see that with the development of the higher centers, the lower centers are preserved as subordinate levels and that the development of the brain proceeds according to laws of stratification and superstructure of new stories over the old. The old stage does not die when the new appears, but is displaced by the new, is dialectically negated by it, making a transition into it and existing in it. Precisely in this way, instinct is not abolished but is displaced into a conditioned reflex as a function of the ancient brain among the functions of the new. Precisely in this way, the conditioned reflex is displaced in an intellectual act simultaneously existing and not existing in it. Two completely equally tenable problems confront science: disclosing the lower in the higher and disclosing the development of the higher from the lower.

This is also compatible with the point made by Merlin Donald.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/phylogeny.htm
As Donald notes, each new adaptation pushed the earlier representational strategy into the background, and took over the role of leading development, but it by no means eliminated it. Evolution invariably preserves those adaptations which cause no harm in the newly adapted species.

By implication then we must expect to see vestiges of the three earlier forms of representation in present day consciousness.

This perhaps reflects a truth of structural things in which the more complex form is in constant relation to lower forms, a reciprocal relation but changed when the higher form has been introduced.
https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/spirkin/works/dialectical-materialism/ch02-s07.html
In rejecting the so-called summative approach, which mechanistically reduces the whole to the sum of its parts, we should not make a fetish of wholeness and regard it as something with mystical power. The whole does owe its origin to the synthesis of the parts that compose it. At the same time it is the whole that provides the basis for modification of existing parts and the formation and development of new ones, which, having changed the whole, help to develop it. So, in reality, we have a complex interaction between the whole and its parts.


If we're able to do this, we can effectively resist idealism's hold over the sense of consciousness as a magical emergent property randomly out of material processes or the idealist sense of the soul. Such was Vygotsky's aim to develop a science of the self.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/determinism.htm
Vygotsky’s chapter “Self-Control” is indeed a brilliant solution to the puzzle posed by the existence of free will in a material organism constrained by knowable laws of biology. In his work on child development, Vygotsky shows how an infant comes to acquire self-control and exercise free will at the level of the individual organism. In doing so Vygotsky completes the quest begun by Spinoza to transcend the causal psychology of the lower psychological functions and the descriptive psychology of the higher psychological functions, by sketching the basis for an explanatory psychology of the higher psychological functions. But it must be recognized that what he has produced is a kind of link. A full-blown scientific theory of psychology cannot be limited to the study of assemblies of conditioned reflexes any more than evolutionary biology could be limited to the study of genetic mutations and give up explanation of evolutionary events in terms of ecological niches, food chains, genetic diversity, adaptation, etc., or historians could eschew reference to historical events and confine themselves to discussing written and archaeological records.

Vygotsky has provided this link without recourse to any conception of an extramundane ‘spirit’ acting on the body from outside the material world. It has to be said though that no trend in modern science postulates any such spiritualistic theory. Other currents either avoid the mind-body problem altogether, concerning themselves only with neurological phenomena for which thinking is merely taken as a symptom of organic (mal)functioning, or conversely describe the neurological activity accompanying thinking with only pseudoscientific explanatory force, or alternatively, like Spinoza, ascribe to theories of mind-matter parallelism, or the supervention of thought on material processes or see consciousness as an epiphenomenon of nervous processes. Making one’s protagonist ‘spiritualism’ and one’s solution causal determinism is misconceived.

In doing so, we may well begin to properly resolve the issue of a materialist free will and human freedom.
So my thought is that some cognitive functions must exist in a simple form before they can then become culturally mediated ie higher mental functions.
Memory must exist innately before it can be developed into a more elaborate process. Bit like the process of self-control (material free will) which is the conscious mastery of a natural process, where at first we're merely subject to the process, but next we can redirect it at will.

Yeah I understand haven't had much time to reflect on this mass of thoughts, I've been chewing on some of this for sometime and trying to tie some of it together haphazardly. I think in the end, I need empirical research in this vein of thought which hints I really need to just study Lev Vygotsky, he would be the pivotal figure in all this even though his work was largely unfinished. Fortunately in the school of CHAT, there has been much contributed to understanding humans in an integrated way. But his work on child development seems most pivotal and informative.
#15014501
Wellsy wrote:It seems you're on par with Blunden in that he recognizes that behaviours changed due to environmental pressures as I'm not sure he abstracts away external pressures and to make sense of a behaviour one would necessarily mention those pressures or at least speculate that they existed
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/evolution-language.htm

So the difference I could best make is that you go: Environment Pressures -> Biology -> Behaviour
Where as Blunden seems to be more: Environmental Pressures -> Behaviour -> Biology.


I am on par with Blunden on many of his points although he does seem to imply that evolution it determined by behaviour when behaviour will alter radically but adaption within genetic changes is comparably very slow. Although really my opinion is more;

Biology => environmental pressures => adaptation to pressures (behaviour) => best adapted pasts on their genes => evolution and new biology.

He see's behaviour as being changed by the pressures and it is the behaviour that then furthers the biological development.
The idea being that behaviour/activity helps refine the biological make up of humans that then can become a means of some function.
Similar to how tools themselves begin as crude before they actually become refined.
[spoiler]http://www.sacred-texts.com/phi/spinoza/under/tiu08.htm


I wouldn't dispute this on analysis but more on reasoning. To suggest that behaviour can alter genetic composition ignores development and even implies that DNA interacts with mental processes. Perhaps behaviour will dictate what genetic factors are more desirable in accordance to environmental challenges. But really we must also accept that adaptation of genetic form must exist first. In terms of language, without a mouth and a form of vocal cords and the ability to exhale and inhale air, language could not happen regardless whether environmental conditions exist for it to be beneficial. For example, humans would benefit if they could fly. But we are not designed to ever fly. And how humans have evolved is down to the conditions we faced with the genetic makeup we had at the time to the best to how we could have adapted in an enviroment which will result in change over time.

To which the emphasis is given that there was language prior to speech in the form of physical gestures and actions which contribute to speech as a mode of communication.

So here he asserts language exists prior to speech and that the ability to make sounds were likely without communicative significance until such means of language had already developed over a long time.


And he has a point. But we still have circular reasoning. Communication in terms of visual cues may have existed before vocal communication but adaptation (biology) ultimately dictates change before environment changes. If humans communicated by hands then that is because it was more beneficial than using their vocal genetic makeup at that time and in that environment. Once a human developed sufficient vocal cummunication in terms of genetic adaptation, if the environment was beneficial to have that ability, those humans would pass on their genetic makeup and as such humans would then over time begin to communicate vocally. At no point would behaviour change genetic makeup but it would decide what genetic makeup was more desirable in a mate.

Well the distinction of lower and higher mental functions as classified by Lev Vygotsky seems to be at this distinction between what is innate within us and that which is developed by culture. The idea being that our higher levels of conscious complexity is a development upon the same grounds as that of the primitive man, we have developed in our social evolution faster than we have in any significant biological kind.


I am aware of Vygotsky but my knowledge of his work really stems to what information you publish on PoFo. Although on this I seem to agree with much of his analysis even if he distinguishes different mental capacity into levels to me.

In doing so, we may well begin to properly resolve the issue of a materialist free will and human freedom.
So my thought is that some cognitive functions must exist in a simple form before they can then become culturally mediated ie higher mental functions.
Memory must exist innately before it can be developed into a more elaborate process. Bit like the process of self-control (material free will) which is the conscious mastery of a natural process, where at first we're merely subject to the process, but next we can redirect it at will.


I tend to agree with this thought. All animals have cognitive functions. Although memory ability differs depending on the animal. Those with bigger brains usually have better memory function and also seem to learn new things which in turns dictates new behaviour. Although all animals behave in a manner in which to survive and can be quite predictable. Without knowing the answer, my instinct believes that memory creates awareness and language creates development. As humans excel in both, humans are more independent and less instinct driven in their behaviour and as such develops their environment to suit their strengths away from their instinct and this will reflect in their consciousness. And in laymen terms that is saying animals in general will use lower mental function to exist and operate and humans will use their higher mental function and develop greater cognitive understanding of their surrounds.

Yeah I understand haven't had much time to reflect on this mass of thoughts, I've been chewing on some of this for sometime and trying to tie some of it together haphazardly. I think in the end, I need empirical research in this vein of thought which hints I really need to just study Lev Vygotsky, he would be the pivotal figure in all this even though his work was largely unfinished. Fortunately in the school of CHAT, there has been much contributed to understanding humans in an integrated way. But his work on child development seems most pivotal and informative.


Vygotsky seems to have a better understanding for this question. Although I do think researching child development is the answer in understanding different mental capacities and how they will dictate human behaviour as they are primitive in mental development, uneducated in learning yet still have behaviour in order to survive that has not been taught to them.
#15023659
B0ycey wrote:I am on par with Blunden on many of his points although he does seem to imply that evolution it determined by behaviour when behaviour will alter radically but adaption within genetic changes is comparably very slow. Although really my opinion is more;

Biology => environmental pressures => adaptation to pressures (behaviour) => best adapted pasts on their genes => evolution and new biology.

Well not strictly determined by biology as he likely has a nuanced view of causality as he is somewhat of a Hegelian with some criticisms of Hegel, who tends to emphasize that causality doesn't get to the crux of understanding as one inevtiably ends up at a point where things are the cause and effect of each other.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/determinism.htm
Hegel showed that causality is extremely limited in its explanatory capacity, because the invocation of causation leads to an infinite regress. Efficient causes are always of interest, but a phenomenon is only understood when it is grasped as a cause of itself (a causa sui), that is, the relevant process is seen to create and recreate the conditions for its own existence. But even then, explanation often takes the form of Reciprocityof cause and effect. Hegel (1831) grants that “to make the manners of the Spartans the cause of their constitution and their constitution conversely the cause of their manners, may no doubt be in a way correct,” but still explains nothing. But Reciprocity is as far as Causality can go. The understanding of a process as a cause sui means grasping it as a concept and usually incorporates an investigation of its origins and development. Vygotsky has pioneered such an approach to Psychology.


But in your reiteration of the causal chain, I think is amicable to what Blunden is stating in that there is already a pre-existing biology which has to be changed slowly through generations.
I mean, what you say, sounds on par with what he states:
The biology of the species evolves under selection pressures determined by the relationship between the organism’s behaviour and its environment. The behaviour of the species co-evolves with its environment, within the constraints of its biological make-up – constraints which very gradually evolve.

But it is a crucial part of changes to an organism as there isn't so direct a relation between environment and biology.
And it's not entirely out of place to emphasize the variability of behaviour as significant to evolution.
Evolution ‘on purpose’: how behaviour has shaped the evolutionary process
I wonder if it's also to emphasize something integral to what Marx states about man changing himself by changing nature. Although in the earliest stages of human development it's more complicated than how we think of humans already in a humanized society.


I wouldn't dispute this on analysis but more on reasoning. To suggest that behaviour can alter genetic composition ignores development and even implies that DNA interacts with mental processes. Perhaps behaviour will dictate what genetic factors are more desirable in accordance to environmental challenges. But really we must also accept that adaptation of genetic form must exist first. In terms of language, without a mouth and a form of vocal cords and the ability to exhale and inhale air, language could not happen regardless whether environmental conditions exist for it to be beneficial. For example, humans would benefit if they could fly. But we are not designed to ever fly. And how humans have evolved is down to the conditions we faced with the genetic makeup we had at the time to the best to how we could have adapted in an enviroment which will result in change over time.

Indeed, things have to change from the biology that we already have and it is a slow process but his emphasis on behaviour is to avoid the absurd emphasis of anatomical adaptions preceding a new behaviour (ie speech) but emphasizing how behavioural changes precede certain anatomical functions and exist ina rudimentary form before they end up as something as complex as basic speech communication.
So Blunden would agree that without the preceding anatomical changes then certian behaviours are impossible but for those changes anatomically to occur and eventually the new behaviour, there must be a behaviour based in the existing biological limitations that precede the more elaborate kind.
Biology isn't erased here, one naturally presumes certain biological limitations which are then stretched by adaptive behaviour to envrionmental pressures.
I learn from Corballis (2002) that the dropping of the larynx, one of the anatomical preconditions for articulate speech, may have also arisen by exaptation from bipedalism. But while being necessary for articulate speech, the descended larynx was far from being a sufficient precondition for speech. Other anatomical changes are required around the tongue and lips as well as voluntary control of the larynx, which is absent in our evolutionary predecessors.

But in bipedalism having to precede the anatomical change of a descended larynx required for speech, the idea then is well what lead to bipedalism.
Why would one's offspring show a tendency for bipedalism? What precedes it? Well the speculation he makes is that humans must've had some need to carry things.
As Vygotsky (1930) pointed out, a behaviour which provides the motive force for the formation of a new species, must be present in rudimentary form in the predecessor species. If a given behaviour is entirely absent in a species, its development cannot be what drives the transition to a new species. Either the relevant behaviour existed in rudimentary form or the capacity for the rudimentary behaviour arises by exaptation as a result of adaptation from the behaviour which is driving the transition.

If we were to look for the essential characteristic of being human in some attribute which humans possessed by our evolutionary predecessors did not, then we would have to conclude that human beings are primates with ear lobes. This is obviously unsatisfactory. We must look not for what distinguishes us from chimps, but what we have in common with chimps, but which they have only in rudimentary form but which we humans have mastered.

Consequently, it is reasonable to deduce that carrying things was the behaviour which drove the move to bipedalism. Everything flowed from carrying things.

The point about carrying as co-occuring with increased bipedalism is reasonable.
Spoiler: show
Chimpanzee carrying behaviour and the origins of human bipedality
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/9bab/6bd68e243521486b3c9920caa462687dc4d1.pdf
The emergence of habitual bipedalism strongly correlates with generally cooler and dryer global conditions, and an associated increase in more open grassland habitats (Van Couvering 2000). Predominantly forested environments were gradually replaced by more mosaic environments made up of different degrees of open grassland, bushland, and open woodland (Reed 1997). To cope with these environmental changes there is no doubt that hominins had to adapt a series of new behavioral strategies. Change in habitat composition would have resulted in a shift in food availability and thus necessitated a shift in food acquisition behaviors (Rose 1991; Foley and Elton 1998). Hominins either had to range further to find food or develop strategies to procure new and different types of food. It is therefore very likely that hominins would have had to have engaged in more terrestrial travel over more open habitats, and it is in this change in activity patterns that we are likely to find the reasons for the emergence of bipedality

There are a number of more recent theories strongly associated with these selection pressures that warrant discussion. Lovejoy (1981) argues that food carrying and procurement by males was the driving selection pressure. This would tie in with some interpretations of the fossil material from Hadar that suggests that there was a degree of locomotor sexual dimorphism in A. afarensis (Stern and Susman 1983). Recent experimental work also supports Lovejoy’s (1980) theory in showing that introducing widely distributed ‘‘food piles’’ leads to an increase in chimpanzee and bonobo locomotor bipedality, mainly associated with food carrying (Videan and McGrew 2002). Such a situation could be analogous to the more spread‐out concentrations of food sources available to hominins in a more open grassland environment. Increased bipedalism in such a setting would greatly increase the ability to carry food to desired locations. Other theories argue for terrestrial food gathering (Jolly 1970; Wrangham 1980), or even hunting (Carrier 1984; Shipman 1986; Sinclair et al. 1986). Jolly’s (1970) model uses the open‐savannah geldada baboon as a modern‐ day analogue to suggest that early hominin bipedalism was linked to rapid seed‐collecting behavior. Hunt (1990, 1994, 1996) has argued that chimpanzee postural behaviors may provide the key to our understanding of this issue. Over 80% of chimpanzee bipedalism is related to postural feeding. Using this as a behavioral analogue, Hunt argues that early hominin postcranial adaptations in Australopithecus were related to similar postural feeding behaviors and that true bipedal locomotion emerged with the advent of Homo (Wood 1993). It is certainly possible that bipedal postural behavior may have preceded bipedal locomotion, but posture alone is likely to be too weak a selection pressure to have resulted in the significant anatomical remodeling seen in the A. afarensis and A. africanus pelvis and lower‐limb structures (Lovejoy 1981; Rose 1991). It has also been recently suggested that bipedal threat displays may have been an important selective precursor to bipedal locomotion (Jablonski and Chaplin 1993).

One of the most interesting and widely accepted explanations of why hominins became bipedal is the thermoregulatory hypothesis suggested by Wheeler (1984, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1994). This argument rests on strong physiological explanations related to the reduction of thermal stress, and directly relates to the more open habitats that hominins would have been exposed to during the Early to Middle Pliocene. On the open savannah, quadrupedal animals expose considerably more of their body’s surface area to the sun. Wheeler calculated that a hominin standing upright would absorb 60% less heat at midday. Furthermore, being upright exposes the subject to any potential breeze, which would have a further cooling effect. These factors would greatly reduce the rate at which hominins would have overheated on open ground, meaning that they could have ranged further without having to have increased water intake. In a more open environment, where food sources were likely to have been more spread out, such an advantage would have greatly enhanced the ability of hominins to successfully collect food. One other physiological explanation for the development of bipedalism warrants comment. Rodman and McHenry (1980) have argued that there is a considerable energetic advantage to become bipedal. However, it has been shown that Pan and Gorilla locomotion is not any less efficient physiologically than that of modern humans (Steudel 1994).

Perhaps the most interesting point relating to all the above theories is that made by Robinson (1972), who states that there is unlikely to have been one specific reason why bipedalism was selected for. It was more likely a combination of several selective factors strongly relating to feeding strategies and reproductive behavior that provided the impetus for this shift in the hominin locomotor repertoire. Furthermore, bipedalism would have not only provided the ability to range further for food and other resources but also have exposed hominins to novel parts of the surrounding landscape, different types of predators, and new food sources. This in turn would have led to new hominin behavioral strategies to cope with such changes. It has also been argued that on the basis of increasingly variable environmental conditions during the Late Miocene and Pliocene, associated behavioral versatility would have been a critical selective factor for early hominins (Potts 1998). In this context, there is little doubt that selection for bipedality would have considerably facilitated such behavioral versatility.

So the ability to carry in some crude form within one's biological limitations and pressured by a competitive and more scarce food environment encouraged carrying things which then gives greater success tot hose that are more adapted to bipedalism.
The inclusion of the behaviour as a successful adaption to environmental pressures and opening new avenues of behaviour that made them successful reproductively as preceding changes in future offspring and their tendency towards bipedalism seems significant.

And he has a point. But we still have circular reasoning. Communication in terms of visual cues may have existed before vocal communication but adaptation (biology) ultimately dictates change before environment changes. If humans communicated by hands then that is because it was more beneficial than using their vocal genetic makeup at that time and in that environment. Once a human developed sufficient vocal cummunication in terms of genetic adaptation, if the environment was beneficial to have that ability, those humans would pass on their genetic makeup and as such humans would then over time begin to communicate vocally. At no point would behaviour change genetic makeup but it would decide what genetic makeup was more desirable in a mate.

My impression is that I'm emphasizing behaviour as a mediating role between the environment and a species biology. But in your emphasis on biology as the aspect of adaption, it seems to take the role of behavioural changes required to adapt to one's environment and makes me confused as to how biology is meant to be changing. It sets limitations on behaviour but without explaining changes in behaviour it sounds almost as magic.

Indeed it was beneficial for people to gesture communicate, but I'm not sure your point here as you stated earlier that the environment can be beneficial but that doesn't suddenly create the physiological/biological adaptions required for it.
In terms of language, without a mouth and a form of vocal cords and the ability to exhale and inhale air, language could not happen regardless whether environmental conditions exist for it to be beneficial.

Which is why he emphasizes other changes that have to precede the possibility of other biological and eventually behavioural adaptions. And while I tend to emphasize the biological in terms of simple animal behaviour, they aren't indifferent to creative behavioural adaptions within their biological limits.
Of which apes being one of the more social species, could readily proliferate a kind of adaptive behaviour more readily than other species. Evolution ‘on purpose’: how behaviour has shaped the evolutionary process
Not surprisingly, the most potent cognitive skills have been found in social mammals, especially the great apes. They display intentional behaviour, planning, social coordination, understanding of cause and effect, anticipation, generalization, and even deception. Primatologists Richard Byrne and Andrew Whiten, in their two important edited volumes on the subject, refer to it as ‘Machiavellian intelligence’ (Byrne & Whiten, 1988; Gibson & Ingold, 1993; Whiten & Byrne, 1997). Social learning provides a powerful means (which humankind has greatly enhanced) for accumulating, diffusing and perpetuating novel adaptations without waiting for sloweracting genetic changes to occur
...
Finally, it is important to take note of the role of ‘culture’ and cultural transmission in evolutionary change. The debate about culture in other species, such as chimpanzees, may still be unresolved, although there can be no doubt that behavioural and cultural evolution played an important role in human evolution (Wills, 1993; Foley, 1995; Diamond, 1997; Klein, 1999; Wolpoff, 1999; Wrangham, 1999, 2001; Ehrlich, 2000; Klein & Edgar, 2002; Corning, 2003, 2012; Boyd & Richerson, 2005, 2009; Richerson & Boyd, 2005, 2010; Richerson, Boyd & Henrich, 2010; Foley & Gamble, 2011; Laland, Odling-Smee & Myles, 2011). As biologist Jonathan Kingdon (1993) summed up in the title of his insightful book on this subject, we are the Self-Made Man.

Biologist Lynn Margulis and co-author Dorion Sagan (Margulis & Sagan, 1995), in their book What is Life?, characterized evolution as the ‘sentient symphony’. What is most significant about the behaviour of living organisms, they claimed, is their ability to make choices. (For the record, Waddington mounted a very similar argument back in the 1950s, along with Lloyd Morgan in his 1896 book.) Margulis and Sagan, allowing themselves a bit of poetic license, wrote: ‘At even the most primordial level, living seems to entail sensation, choosing, mind’ (Margulis & Sagan, 1995: 180).

This view is convincingly supported in microbiologist James Shapiro’s (2012) book, Evolution: A View from the 21st Century. He notes that we are currently in the midst of ‘a deep rethinking of basic evolutionary concepts’ (Shapiro, 2012: xvii). There is a paradigm shift underway from an atomistic, reductionist, gene-centred, mechanical model to a systems perspective in which ‘purposeful’ actions and informational processes are recognized as fundamental properties of living systems at all levels. These properties play an important role in what Shapiro refers to as ‘natural genetic engineering’. As he emphasizes, ‘The capacity of living organisms to alter their own heredity is undeniable. Our current ideas about evolution have to incorporate this basic fact of life’ (Shapiro, 2012: 2).5

In the above, I like that it also emphasizes our behavioural intervention upon nature, we're not simply passive reactors to the world but have needs we satisfy through it. At our most primitive it is more strictly deteremined by necessity of course as we weren't as self determining through culture and our tools. But there is clearly the case for animals to radically change their behaviour and what might for some be considered a primitive 'culture'.
I'm curious to the intensity the above author goes as I am myself skeptical to what degree but I am also one who asserts that one concieves of things nature by the limits of the methods in which they investigate them.
Such that one might conclude free will and consciousness is an illusion on the basis that the only methods one's accepts on investigating our nature reduces us to chemical processes and leads to conclusions such that social problems can all be solved at the chemical level (sounds absurd but is the logical conclusion of many mechanical materialists).

I am aware of Vygotsky but my knowledge of his work really stems to what information you publish on PoFo. Although on this I seem to agree with much of his analysis even if he distinguishes different mental capacity into levels to me.

In regards to the higher mental functions, they're meant to still incorporate the lower mental functions, there isn't such a separation from them in the same way our biological nature isn't separate from our cultural/social but integrated.
https://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/chat/index.htm
A Higher Mental Function (HMF), or Higher Psychological Function, is a psychological function organised by social cultural mediation.
...
The topological significance of “higher” in the term “higher mental function” denotes the genesis of psychological functions that come to reorganise pre-existing functions on the basis of social cultural mediation.

The emphasis on social mediation is that the same basic instincts/drives take on a social form that isn't independent of them once established/developed.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/1930/psychological-systems.htm
We have no reason to assume that the human brain underwent an essential biological evolution in the course of human history. We have no reason to assume that the brain of primitive man differed from our brain, was an inferior brain, or had a biological structure different from ours. All biological investigations lead us to assume that biologically speaking the most primitive man we know deserves the full title of man. The biological evolution of man was finished before the beginning of his historical development. And it would be a flagrant mixing up of the concepts of biological evolution and historical development to try to explain the difference between our thinking and the thinking of primitive man by claiming that primitive man stands on another level of biological development.

The laws of dreaming are the same everywhere, but the role which the dream fulfills is completely different and we will see that such a difference not only exists between, let us say, the Kaffir and us. The Roman believed in dreams as well, although he would not say in a difficult situation “I will dream about it,” – because he stood on another level of human development and would solve the matter, in the words of Tacitus, “with arms and reason and not like a woman through a dream.” The dream was a sign for him, an omen. The Roman did not begin something when he had had a bad dream about it. In the Roman, the dream had another structural connection with other functions.

Even if you turn to the Freudian neurotic, you again get a new relation to dreams. Extremely interesting is the remark of one of Freud’s critics that Freud’s discovery of the relation between the dream and sexual wishes, characteristic of the neurotic, is characteristic of the neurotic exactly “here and now.” For the neurotic the dream serves his sexual wishes, but this is no general law. It is a problem that is open to further investigation.

When you carry this still further, you see that dreams enter into completely new relations with a number of functions. This can also be observed with respect to quite a number of other processes. We see that thinking is at first, in the words of Spinoza [1677/1955, p. 187], the servant of the passions, but that man who has reason is the master of his passions.

The example of the dream of the Kaffir is much more than just a case of a dream. It is applicable to the formation of integral complex psychological systems.

To which even some of the developments of the mind seem to in a sense be not just adaptions of the limits of the brain's function but also heavily based in a kind of culture according to Merlin Donald.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/phylogeny.htm
I tend to agree with this thought. All animals have cognitive functions. Although memory ability differs depending on the animal. Those with bigger brains usually have better memory function and also seem to learn new things which in turns dictates new behaviour. Although all animals behave in a manner in which to survive and can be quite predictable. Without knowing the answer, my instinct believes that memory creates awareness and language creates development. As humans excel in both, humans are more independent and less instinct driven in their behaviour and as such develops their environment to suit their strengths away from their instinct and this will reflect in their consciousness. And in laymen terms that is saying animals in general will use lower mental function to exist and operate and humans will use their higher mental function and develop greater cognitive understanding of their surrounds.

The speculative but interesting take is one of Hegel's where move from habituation which gives us distance from our own feelings, and how this underpins the emergence of sensation, the feeling of something existing in the external world.
Check out Andy Blunden's summary on pg. 5 under the heading Consciousness. https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/Hegels_Psychology.pdf
One wouldn't expect Hegel's speculation to entirely correspond to a step by step empirical process exactly but it seems rationally comprehensive and possibly a good guide in regards to examining consciousness some.
Blunden obviously has more specific speculation of behaviours relating to the development of consciousness with his emphasis of carrying things to bipedalism to delayed gratification and interestingly then the emergence of a practical abstraction based in habit which is better than an earlier view I took from Feliks Mikhailov about latter kind of abstractions of humans routine behaviour abstracting things from their real world content as the activity of some became primarily of symbols representative of physical properties and not imbued with the empirical object.
Of which memory is important for practical abstraction as one has to internalize the routine behaviours to have a sort of distance from them that one can more consciously engage in it.


Vygotsky seems to have a better understanding for this question. Although I do think researching child development is the answer in understanding different mental capacities and how they will dictate human behaviour as they are primitive in mental development, uneducated in learning yet still have behaviour in order to survive that has not been taught to them.

Well for Vygotsky the child reared apart from society is abnormal and not insightful to the nature of humans because for so long our evolution has been primarily a social ones based in the changes we make to the natural world to meet our growing and ever emerging needs.
And his works emphasize ways in which he tries to zero in on learning through such social relations.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/the-individual.htm
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.

One would not learn of the nature of a modern human being to take them away from that setting, which is part of the problem with the validity of some experiments that don't abstract the essential parts of human life and create only alien circumstances in which to analyze human behaviour.
#15023664
Wellsy wrote:The simplest quality of consciousness to be considered here is something Marx wrote briefly in The German Ideology but crossed out, "My relation to my environment is my consciousness."



"The Extended Mind" by Andy Clark and David Chalmers (1998)[1] is a seminal work in the field of extended cognition. In this paper, Clark and Chalmers present the idea of active externalism (similar to semantic or "content" externalism), in which objects within the environment function as a part of the mind. They argue that it is arbitrary to say that the mind is contained only within the boundaries of the skull. The separation between the mind, the body, and the environment is seen as an unprincipled distinction. Because external objects play a significant role in aiding cognitive processes, the mind and the environment act as a "coupled system". This coupled system can be seen as a complete cognitive system of its own. In this manner, the mind is extended into the external world. The main criterion that Clark and Chalmers list for classifying the use of external objects during cognitive tasks as a part of an extended cognitive system is that the external objects must function with the same purpose as the internal processes.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Extended_Mind
#15023669
Sivad wrote:"The Extended Mind" by Andy Clark and David Chalmers (1998)[1] is a seminal work in the field of extended cognition. In this paper, Clark and Chalmers present the idea of active externalism (similar to semantic or "content" externalism), in which objects within the environment function as a part of the mind. They argue that it is arbitrary to say that the mind is contained only within the boundaries of the skull. The separation between the mind, the body, and the environment is seen as an unprincipled distinction. Because external objects play a significant role in aiding cognitive processes, the mind and the environment act as a "coupled system". This coupled system can be seen as a complete cognitive system of its own. In this manner, the mind is extended into the external world. The main criterion that Clark and Chalmers list for classifying the use of external objects during cognitive tasks as a part of an extended cognitive system is that the external objects must function with the same purpose as the internal processes.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Extended_Mind

Thank you for mentioning, I have sometimes mentioned their work as a defense against those who think any conclusion associated or shared with Marxists or those who sympathize with Marxism is some how wrong by showing pivotal thinkers within the 'analytical' tradition arriving at similar conclusions.
I hope their work gains greater attention and makes some headway and comes to the view that artefactsare significant to the development and reproduction of human lives.
They will hopefully break the confusion between the the ontological distinction between mind and matter and epistemology based on the subject-object relation which is not an individual against the world but a socialized individual within a culture which at the very least gets beyond certain limitations of the former and leads to creative avenues based on how human beings actually exist.

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