The Concepts of “Tool”, “Psychological Tool”, “Sign” and Their Relationship

1799

Abstract

The article focuses on a number of key concepts for cultural-historical psychology — ‘tool’, ‘psychological tool’, ‘sign’ — and their relationship, both in the past and modern researches. It analyses different approaches to the interpretation of the concept of ‘tool’ and proposes an alternative version of its understanding. Notably, L.S. Vygotsky moved away from the concept of ‘psychological too’ to the concept of ‘sign’, and this transition is discussed in terms of Vygotsky’s understanding of the latter. The paper presents a comparative analysis of tools and signs in their plain, historically original forms. It is suggested that the main difference between tools and signs is that the function of tools is to replace the individual as a participant of collective activity in its various specific operations, while the function of signs is to replace the individual in just one aspect — in the regulation of social interaction in joint activities. Such understanding is consistent with the idea of the social nature of signs as well as with the idea of the possibility of forming self-regulation on this basis.

General Information

Keywords: tool, psychological tool, sign, mediation, cultural-historical psychology

Journal rubric: Discussions and Discourses

Article type: scientific article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/chp.2020160112

For citation: Pavlenko V.N. The Concepts of “Tool”, “Psychological Tool”, “Sign” and Their Relationship. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2020. Vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 122–131. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2020160112. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)

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Information About the Authors

Valentina N. Pavlenko, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Chair of Applied Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Kharkiv, Ukraine, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4947-3995, e-mail: vnp49@ukr.net

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