"A work of enormous breadth, likely to pleasantly surprise both general readers and experts."—New York Times Book Review This revolutionary book provides fresh answers to long-standing questions of human origins and consciousness. Drawing on his breakthrough research in comparative neuroscience, Terrence Deacon offers a wealth of insights into the significance of symbolic thinking: from the co-evolutionary exchange between language and brains over two million years of hominid evolution to the ethical repercussions that followed man's newfound access to other people's thoughts and emotions. Informing these insights is a new understanding of how Darwinian processes underlie the brain's development and function as well as its evolution. In contrast to much contemporary neuroscience that treats the brain as no more or less than a computer, Deacon provides a new clarity of vision into the mechanism of mind. It injects a renewed sense of adventure into the experience of being human.
This anthology is a compilation of the best contributions from Symbolic Species Conferences I, II (which took place in 2006, 2007). In 1997 the American anthropologist Terrence Deacon published The Symbolic Species: The Coevolution of Language and the Brain. The book is widely considered a seminal work in the subject of evolutionary cognition. However, Deacons book was the first step – further steps have had to be taken. The proposed anthology is such an important associate. The contributions are written by a wide variety of scholars each with a unique view on evolutionary cognition and the questions raised by Terrence Deacon - emergence in evolution, the origin of language, the semiotic 'missing link', Peirce's semiotics in evolution and biology, biosemiotics, evolutionary cognition, Baldwinian evolution, the neuroscience of linguistic capacities as well as phylogeny of the homo species, primatology, embodied cognition and knowledge types.
In Landscape of the Mind, John F. Hoffecker explores the origin and growth of the human mind, drawing on archaeology, history, and the fossil record. He suggests that, as an indirect result of bipedal locomotion, early humans developed a feedback relationship among their hands, brains, and tools that evolved into the capacity to externalize thoughts in the form of shaped stone objects. When anatomically modern humans evolved a parallel capacity to externalize thoughts as symbolic language, individual brains within social groups became integrated into a "neocortical Internet," or super-brain, giving birth to the mind. Noting that archaeological traces of symbolism coincide with evidence of the ability to generate novel technology, Hoffecker contends that human creativity, as well as higher order consciousness, is a product of the superbrain. He equates the subsequent growth of the mind with human history, which began in Africa more than 50,000 years ago. As anatomically modern humans spread across the globe, adapting to a variety of climates and habitats, they redesigned themselves technologically and created alternative realities through tools, language, and art. Hoffecker connects the rise of civilization to a hierarchical reorganization of the super-brain, triggered by explosive population growth. Subsequent human history reflects to varying degrees the suppression of the mind's creative powers by the rigid hierarchies of nationstates and empires, constraining the further accumulation of knowledge. The modern world emerged after 1200 from the fragments of the Roman Empire, whose collapse had eliminated a central authority that could thwart innovation. Hoffecker concludes with speculation about the possibility of artificial intelligence and the consequences of a mind liberated from its organic antecedents to exist in an independent, nonbiological form.
This is a revised and extended version of the Great Mosaic Eye originally published in 2001. There have been major changes in neuroscience and in language research since then. Apparently disparate segments of research have started to come together and it is necessary to recast both the structure and the content of the book. The extended title of the book with the addition of the word Society reflects this. Another important change is that the book as originally published fell into two halves, part 1 being the text of the book and part 2 an inserted CD which included a great deal of additional material that made possible important graphical and video content not easily presented in text form. This new edition attempts to integrate all the material contained in the earlier edition but relying on links to the Internet for material in place of that contained in the inserted CD. This new book, as indeed was the case for the earlier version, was intended to bring together a mass of material which had been published separately over more than 40 years under the titles The Physical Foundation of Language (first published 1973 and recently reprinted), The Motor Theory of Language (1989), The Natural Origin of Language: The Structural Inter-relation of Language Vision and Action, The Child and the World: How the child acquires language - How language mirrors the world (2005). All these are now in print so that it is not necessary to repeat in this book much of the extensive discussion in the earlier books - all supplemented by other recent material readily accessible on the Internet at
The goal of cultural psychology is to explain the ways in which human cultural constructions -- for example, rituals, stereotypes, and meanings -- organize and direct human acting, feeling, and thinking in different social contexts. A rapidly growing, international field of scholarship, cultural psychology is ready for an interdisciplinary, primary resource. Linking psychology, anthropology, sociology, archaeology, and history, The Oxford Handbook of Culture and Psychology is the quintessential volume that unites the variable perspectives from these disciplines. Comprised of over fifty contributed chapters, this book provides a necessary, comprehensive overview of contemporary cultural psychology. Bridging psychological, sociological, and anthropological perspectives, one will find in this handbook: - A concise history of psychology that includes valuable resources for innovation in psychology in general and cultural psychology in particular - Interdisciplinary chapters including insights into cultural anthropology, cross-cultural psychology, culture and conceptions of the self, and semiotics and cultural connections - Close, conceptual links with contemporary biological sciences, especially developmental biology, and with other social sciences - A section detailing potential methodological innovations for cultural psychology By comparing cultures and the (often differing) human psychological functions occuring within them, The Oxford Handbook of Culture and Psychology is the ideal resource for making sense of complex and varied human phenomena.
The seminal writings of America’s leading philosopher, linguist, and political thinker—“the foremost gadfly of our national conscience” (The New York Times). For the past fifty years Noam Chomsky’s writings on politics and language have established him as a preeminent public intellectual as well as one of the most original political and social critics of our time. Among the seminal figures in linguistic theory over the past century, Chomsky has also secured a place among the most influential dissident voice in the United States. Chomsky’s many bestselling works—including Manufacturing Consent, Hegemony or Survival, Understanding Power, and Failed States—have served as essential touchstones for activists, scholars, and concerned citizens on subjects ranging from the media and intellectual freedom to human rights and war crimes. In particular, Chomsky’s scathing critique of the US wars in Vietnam, Central America, and the Middle East have furnished a widely accepted intellectual premise for antiwar movements for nearly four decades. The Essential Chomsky assembles the core of his most important writings, including excerpts from his most influential texts over the past half century. Here is an unprecedented, comprehensive overview of the thought that animates “one of the West’s most influential intellectuals in the cause of peace” (The Independent). “Chomsky ranks with Marx, Shakespeare, and the Bible as one of the ten most quoted sources in the humanities—and is the only writer among them still alive.” —The Guardian “Noam Chomsky is one of the most significant challengers of unjust power and delusions; he goes against every assumption about American altruism and humanitarianism.” —Edward Said “A rebel without a pause.” —Bono
This definitive volume is the result of collaboration by top scholars in the field of children's cognition. New edition offers an up-to-date overview of all the major areas of importance in the field, and includes new data from cognitive neuroscience and new chapters on social cognitive development and language Provides state-of-the-art summaries of current research by international specialists in different areas of cognitive development Spans aspects of cognitive development from infancy to the onset of adolescence Includes chapters on symbolic reasoning, pretend play, spatial development, abnormal cognitive development and current theoretical perspectives
Building on a range of disciplines – from biology and anthropology to philosophy and linguistics – this book draws on the expertise of leading names in the study of organic, mental and cultural codes brought together by the emerging discipline of biosemiotics. The volume represents the first multi-authored attempt to deal with the range of codes relevant to life, and to reveal the ubiquitous role of coding mechanisms in both organic and mental evolution.
This volume is written as a reaction to the worldwide decreasing interest in the natural sciences. It addresses many intriguing questions. How is the changing image of the distinct sciences experienced by the general public, by the scientists themselves, or in disciplines in which natural sciences are applied? How can it be connected to the phenomenon of the low number of women in science? It is of interest to researchers, teachers, and students of natural sciences, the history of science, and philosophy.
This volume presents recent empirical advances using neuroscience techniques to investigate how culture influences neural processes underlying a wide range of human abilities, from perception and scene processing to memory and social cognition. It also highlights the theoretical and methodological issues with conducting cultural neuroscience research. Section I provides diverse theoretical perspectives on how culture and biology interact are represented. Sections II –VI is to demonstrate how cultural values, beliefs, practices and experience affect neural systems underlying a wide range of human behavior from perception and cognition to emotion, social cognition and decision-making. The final section presents arguments for integrating the study of culture and the human brain by providing an explicit articulation of how the study of culture can inform the study of the brain and vice versa.