Read e-book online The prehistory of the mind : a search for the origins of PDF

By Steven Mithen

ISBN-10: 0500050813

ISBN-13: 9780500050811

"A really pioneering paintings, possibly the 1st via a working towards archaeologist to study coherently the evolution of human cognitive abilities." ―Colin Renfrew, writer of Before Civilization and Archaeology and Language

here's an exciting highbrow functionality, within the culture of Roger Penrose's The Emperor's New Mind and Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct. to be able to exhibiting how the realm of our historical ancestors formed our sleek modular brain, Steven Mithen stocks one provocative perception after one other as he solutions a chain of attention-grabbing questions:

  • Were our brains hard-wired within the Pleistocene period via the wishes of hunter-gatherers?
  •  When did non secular ideals first emerge?
  • Why have been the 1st work made via humankind so technically complete and expressive?
  • What can the sexual behavior of chimpanzees let us know in regards to the prehistory of the trendy mind?

this can be the 1st archaeological account to help the hot modular suggestion of the brain. the concept that, promulgated through cognitive and evolutionary psychologists, perspectives the brain as a suite of specialised intelligences or "cognitive domains," a little bit like a Swiss military knife with its really good blades and instruments. Arguing that simply archaeology can solution a number of the key questions raised through the recent inspiration, Mithen delineates a three-phase series for the mind's evolution over six million years―from early Homo in Africa to the ice-age Neanderthals to our smooth modular minds. The Prehistory of the Mind is an exciting and difficult rationalization of what it capacity to be human, a daring new concept concerning the origins and nature of the mind.
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Extra info for The prehistory of the mind : a search for the origins of art, religion, and science

Example text

The fossa, marking the insertion of Mm. semispinalis capitis, is generally rugose or porus. 1 ■ (Continued) Feature Comments Presence of a tuberculum Development of this mastoideum anterius (mastoid protuberance can be protuberance) behind the variable, but it is always external auditory meatus. expressed. Occipitomastoid crest usually See Schwartz and Tattersall larger than the mastoid process, 1996b for a discussion of often straddling the variability in cresting occipitomastoid suture, patterns in this region.

Sapiens. Produced by a constellation of features including, among other things, reduction and medial curving of the mastoid region, maximum cranial breadth situated low on the parietals and indistinct parietal bosses (see Trinkaus 1988; Manzi et al. 2000) The median portion of the torus (midsagittal plane) is generally least developed, with maximal development laterally, giving a bipartite appearance to the torus. Usually simple in form, but sometimes divided into upper and lower portions or right and left portions.

For example, tapering mastoid processes are present on Shanidar 1 and Tabun C1 but are absent in Shanidar 2 and 5 and Amud 1 (Trinkaus 1988). This variable expression of features in the Levantine sample has led to the suggestion that the later Pleistocene human populations of the Near East, although closely related, were not Neandertals, the latter being confined to the European subcontinent (Arensburg and Belfer-Cohen 1998). While it is undeniable that all the regional clade features (autapomorphies) that define the Neandertals are not expressed in combination in a single Near Eastern specimen (as they are in the classic Neandertals), the very presence of these features, along with the overall facial, neurocranial and postcranial similarities with the W¨urmian European fossils, suggests that we are simply seeing geographic variation along the southern extent of the Neandertal range.

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The prehistory of the mind : a search for the origins of art, religion, and science by Steven Mithen

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