review of Renfrew & Zubrow, eds., The Ancient Mind [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In 1990, a conference was held at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, to explore the prospects for a new school of research: cognitive archeology. The fruits of that conference are now published; they are uneven in quality, but provocative. Archeology at its best is detective work that rivals anything in science or fiction--from Crick and Watson to Holmes and Watson. At its worst, it is imagination run wild, underconstrained speculations that often have the added vice of permanently distorting the data, through erroneous "restorations" or just spuriously authoritative labels that then make alternative interpretations of those objects and sites all but unthinkable. It is hard to resist the gravitational pull of a good story, apparently, especially when one has just spent a long hot summer and a sizeable grant (or a lifetime and a fortune) painstakingly wresting an unprepossessing pile of ancient leftovers from the earth. One has to make something from these fragments, if not the lost city of Atlantis, then at least some exciting conclusions about the exotic habits, beliefs or rituals of the people who made them. So it is not surprising that the early romantic excesses of archeology--Agamemnon's tomb and all that--provoked a positivistic reformation movement. Parallel to the behaviorists' efforts to turn their field of psychology into hard science with all the trappings, the "processual" school of archeology demanded scrupulous data-gathering and forbade all but the most rigorously constructed interpretations, echoing Lloyd Morgan's Canon of Parsimony: thou shalt not impute more Mind than is strictly necessary to account for the data. One could venture cautious conclusions about the diet, tools and building materials, and size of the groups, but precious little else--next to nothing, of course, about what or how these ancient people thought
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
G. E. R. Lloyd (2003). In the Grip of Disease: Studies in the Greek Imagination. Oxford University Press.
Christopher D. Green (2003). Early Psychological Thought: Ancient Accounts of Mind and Soul. Praeger.
Jacques Derrida (1980/1987). The Archeology of the Frivolous: Reading Condillac. University of Nebraska Press.
H. David Tuggle (1972). Book Review:Explanation in Archeology; An Explicitly Scientific Approach Patty Jo Watson, Steven A. Leblanc, Charles L. Redman. [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 39 (4):564-.
Daniel C. Dennett (1993). Review of F. Varela, E. Thompson and E. Rosch, The Embodied Mind. [REVIEW] American Journal of Psychology 106:121-126.
Herbert M. Kritzer, Research is a Messy Business: An Archeology of the Craft of Socio-Legal Research.
Daniel C. Dennett, Review of Varela, "Review of F. Varela, E. Thompson and E. Rosch, The Embodied Mind ," American Journal of Psychology, 106, 121-6, 1993. [REVIEW]
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads11 ( #135,392 of 1,099,035 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #175,277 of 1,099,035 )
How can I increase my downloads?