There has to be a discernment of biological instincts/drive which pre-exist the mediation of cultural artefacts as babies aren't directly masters of language/signs and tools although their propensity for it does seem something innate unless some sort of abnormality disrupts their growth.https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/neuropsychology.htmhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_sign
Although what is unique to humans is also the ability to create new signs rather than just their use.
There is also clearly the biological drives as seen in very simple emotions that are evident from day one.http://lchc.ucsd.edu/MCA/Journal/pdfs/20-1-holodynski.pdf
However, the limits of purely verbal mediation processes become apparent in the analysis of emotional development in early childhood. Young infants are still unable to comprehend speech signs. They comprehend only their intonation that also represents a facet of expression. Therefore, the analysis of expressive reactions can reveal that infants already run through a rapid, culturally conveyed differentiation of their emotions during their first year of life without any speech processes being involved on their side. Five discernible emotions in the neonate (distress, disgust, fright, interest, endogenous pleasure) differentiate into approximately 15 discernible emotion qualities during the first year of life (Holodynski & Friedlmeier, 2006; Sroufe, 1996). Hence, from a culture-psychological perspective, an analysis of expressive reactions can be conducted already at this early age. This idea has been taken up in the work of Demuth (this issue); Kärtner, Holodynski, and Wörmann (this issue); and White (this issue)—all found in this special issue on emotions.
So discerning the appropriate limits of what is biological can be found in physiological studies such as that seen with behaviorism beginning with Pavlov.
Where the mediation of consciousness in any degree isn't needed as there is a direct stimulus-response approach.https://ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/les-treilles-talk.htm
The behaviourists got around this by regarding sentient creatures as input-output devices, the inner workings of which were eliminated in favour of stimuli-response matrices. Not only did this place the entire science on an appallingly unethical foundation, but after almost a century of work, little was learnt about human beings, for whom consciousness is the only avenue to understanding behaviour.
But many of higher and more developed mental functions are the result of changing some of those same functions through the appropriation of cultural artefacts and activity they're involved in.
And so we should remember the biological foundation to the higher forms, which Lev Vygotsky had done substantial work on positing a plausible link in his description of things like self-control
Where he is able to link abstractions from activity that can be properly related to biological/brain functions.
But it remains incomplete.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.
We must discern how the quality of the mind is integrated in a physical being and attempt to avoid cartesian dualisms where we retain distinctions within some whole.https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/Critical%20Appropriation%20of%20Hegel.pdf
The great contribution that Hegel made was that, while not eliminating the subjectiveobjective distinction from his philosophy, he made this distinction secondary and derivative from the more fundamental unity between human beings and the world created by human activity in the world, which was his starting point. This meant that it was possible for Hegel to give us the definition of a concept which did not define concepts as inward subjective thought-forms, nor as objective worldly entities, nor a duality comprised by pairing up something subjective with something objective.
The concept of ‘formations of consciousness’ gave him a primary concept from which objective and subjective aspects could be distinguished. Contrariwise, any approach which begins from entities as either objective or subjective cannot eliminate such a dichotomy because it is built into its foundations. Whether we call it Spirit or Activity is an entirely secondary question, in fact, provided we begin from a foundation which is prior to the rupture between the subject and object of activity.
There are only a limited number of concepts in our culture whose objects are not implicitly either subjective or objective. We may say that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” but 3 “beauty” still designates an attribute of the object