Ample evidence from various quarters indicates that the perceptual-cognitive competence of the pre- and perinatal human being is significantly greater than was once thought. Some of the evidence of this emerging picture of early competence is reviewed, and its importance both as evidence of the biogenetic structural concept of “neurognosis” and for a theory of enculturation is discussed. The literature of pre- and perinatal psychology, especially that of developmental neuropsychology, psychobiology, and social psychophysiology, is incorporated, and some of the (...) implications of these data for a theory of enculturation are suggested. (shrink)
Carpendale & Lewis (C&L) view enculturation as the internalization of cultural concepts given in social interactions. They claim that enculturation implies relativism and fails to take into account both the constructive activity of the child and the gradual nature of development. Their view is contrasted with the notion of the child as both enculturated and enculturing throughout the course of development.
Australia is a suburban nation, with 85 percent of the 20 million people clinging to the coastal fringes of the world's largest island and oldest continent. This article explores Australian suburbia as the `third space' that mediates urbanism to `nature'. It draws on the thought of George Seddon, an important initiator of ecological history, regional geography and sub/urban politics in Australia. Seddon's insights on Australian ecosystems and Australian interpretations, namings, perceptions and shapings of their natural environment since the beginning of (...) European colonization in 1788 are used to think about the `nature of suburbia', `nature in suburbia' and suburbia in Australian `nature'. Its central argument is that nature is always culturally mediated and that the dominant ecological imaginary in Australia is suburban. The suburbs are the sites of economic, ecological and cultural trafficking about nature. It is argued here that the `bush', at least since the Second World War in Australia, has been more determinative of the suburban social imaginary than the `city'. In recent years, the meaning of the `bush' has transmuted from the `country' into the `wilderness', and from a valorization of the historic settlement process to myths of pure, aboriginal nature unadulterated by human imaginings and interventions. Though the meanings of the `bush' have changed in each case, its interpreter and maker is the socialized gardener of suburbia. The future of Australian nature is to be played out in the suburbs. (shrink)
This paper explores some of the constructive dimensions and specifics of human theoretic cognition, combining perspectives from (Husserlian) genetic phenomenology and distributed cognition approaches. I further consult recent psychological research concerning spatial and numerical cognition. The focus is on the nexus between the theoretic development of abstract, idealized geometrical and mathematical notions of space and the development and effective use of environmental cognitive support systems. In my discussion, I show that the evolution of the theoretic cognition of space apparently follows (...) two opposing, but in truth, intrinsically aligned trajectories. On the epistemic plane, which is the main focus of Husserl’s genetic phenomenological investigations, theoretic conceptions of space are progressively constituted by way of an idealizing emancipation of spatial cognition from the concrete, embodied intentionality underlying the human organism’s perception of space. As a result of this emancipation, it ultimately becomes possible for the human mind to theoretically conceive of and posit space as an ideal entity that is universally geometrical and mathematical. At the same time, by synthesizing a range of literature on spatial and mathematical cognition, I illustrate that for the theoretic mind to undertake precisely this emancipating process successfully, and further, for an ideal and objective notion of geometrical and mathematical space to first of all become fully scientifically operative, the cognitive support provided by a range of specific symbolic technologies is central. These include lettered diagrams, notation systems, and more generally, the technique of formalization and require for their functioning various cognitively efficacious types of embodiment. Ultimately, this paper endeavors to understand the specific symbolic-technological dimensions that have been instrumental to major shifts in the development of idealized, scientific conceptions of space. The epistemic characteristics of these shifts have been previously discussed in genetic phenomenology, but without devoting sufficient attention to the constructive role of symbolic technologies. At the same time, this paper identifies some of the irreducible phenomenological and epistemic dimensions that characterize the functioning of the historically situated, embodied and distributed theoretic mind. (shrink)
Archaeology, of all the human sciences, can dodge this problem the least, and the great virtue of Shennan’s Genes, Memes and Human History is that he confronts it directly. For though humans are now both cultural and ecological beings, it was not always so. Once our hominid ancestors had a social organisation and a material culture roughly equivalent to that of today’s chimpanzees. Chimps are not encultured in the sense that we are encultured: their social life and their ecology does (...) not depend on the accurate and extensive transmission of information from parents to offspring. It falls to archaeology to document and explain the transition from merely social hominids to encultured hominids. Archaeologists cannot escape our dual nature, for they must explain its coming into being. Thus for an evolutionary archaeologist like Shennan, the evolutionary facet of human nature and human history must be geneologically primary. For our enculturation is the product of a continuing evolutionary process grafted onto the top of a pre-existing set of ecological and social relations. (shrink)
Mesoudi et al.'s new synthesis for cultural evolution closely parallels the evolutionary synthesis of Neo-Darwinism. It too draws inspiration from population genetics, recruits other fields, and, unfortunately, also ignores development. Enculturation involves many serially acquired skills and dependencies that allow us to build a rich cumulative culture. The newer synthesis, evolutionary developmental biology, provides a key tool, generative entrenchment, to analyze them. (Published Online November 9 2006).
Theories of children's developing understanding of mind tend to emphasize either individualistic processes of theory formation, maturation, or introspection, or the process of enculturation. However, such theories must be able to account for the accumulating evidence of the role of social interaction in the development of social understanding. We propose an alternative account, according to which the development of children's social understanding occurs within triadic interaction involving the child's experience of the world as well as communicative interaction with others (...) about their experience and beliefs (Chapman 1991; 1999). It is through such triadic interaction that children gradually construct knowledge of the world as well as knowledge of other people. We contend that the extent and nature of the social interaction children experience will influence the development of children's social understanding. Increased opportunity to engage in cooperative social interaction and exposure to talk about mental states should facilitate the development of social understanding. We review evidence suggesting that children's understanding of mind develops gradually in the context of social interaction. Therefore, we need a theory of development in this area that accords a fundamental role to social interaction, yet does not assume that children simply adopt socially available knowledge but rather that children construct an understanding of mind within social interaction. Key Words: language; Piaget; social interaction; theories of mind; Vygotsky; Wittgenstein. (shrink)
This paper explores several paths a distinctive third wave of extended cognition might take. In so doing, I address a couple of shortcomings of first- and second-wave extended cognition associated with a tendency to conceive of the properties of internal and external processes as fixed and non-interchangeable. First, in the domain of cognitive transformation, I argue that a problematic tendency of the complementarity model is that it presupposes that socio-cultural resources augment but do not significantly transform the brain’s representational capacities (...) during diachronic development. In this paper I show that there is available a much more dynamical explanation—one taking the processes of the brain’s enculturation into patterned practices as transforming the brain’s representational capacities. Second, in the domain of cognitive assembly, I argue that another problematic tendency is an individualistic notion of cognitive agency, since it overlooks the active contribution of socio-cultural practices in the assembly process of extended cognitive systems. In contrast to an individualistic notion of cognitive agency, I explore the idea that it is possible to decentralize cognitive agency to include socio-cultural practices. (shrink)
This chapter reviews developments and difficulties in the nonverbal behavior literature. Despite the atheoretical bias of the discipline, four implicit models may be found there-the ethological, the enculturation, the internal states, and the situational resource models. After reviewing research based on these models, we conclude that the situational resource paradigm has much to offer nonverbal theorizing.
The paper focuses on Hegel’s concept of Bildung and its significance for his account of the concrete subjectivity. It is pointed out that it would be a misinterpretation of Hegel's account of Bildung to reduce it either to a merely individual intellectual event (education, narrowly construed) or to economic production. In Hegel, Bildung is a real historical process that takes place within the life of any individual, any culture and (in principle) even the human race. That is a concrete universal (...) process in which we human beings necessary participate and through which we become aware of ourselves and our natural and social environment. The link Hegel sets between the process of individual enculturation and Bildung of “cosmic” spirit indicates the essential interdependence of individual and universal in social and cultural life. Just as there is noindividuality without the individual’s participation in the universal social and cultural life, there cannot be achieved any universal context without activity of the individuals. In the process of enculturation, the individual (here as a collective historical subject,humanity at large) creates culture and at the same time creates himself through culture. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to present a conceptualization of cultural groups and cultural difference that provides a middle course between the Scylla of essentialism and the Charybdis of reductionism. The method I employ is the social mechanism approach. I argue that cultural groups and cultural difference should be understood as the result of cognitive and social processes of categorization. I describe two such processes in particular: categorization by others and self- categorization. Categorization by others is caused by processes (...) of ascription: the attribution by outsiders of certain characteristics, beliefs, and practices to indi- viduals who share a specific attribute. Self-categorization is caused by processes of inscription and community-building: the adoption of certain beliefs and practices as a result of socialization and enculturation. I therefore shift the focus from groups to categories, and from categories to processes of categorization. I show that this analytical distinction between categorization by others and self-categorization can clarify an ambiguity in dominant debates in contemporary multiculturalism. I conclude by indicating how injustices, commonly associated with multiculturalism, can better be understood as socially generated injustices, and how government should deal with these injustices. (shrink)
The interlink between myth and wisdom in Hellenic heritage is characteristically embodied in the Platonic philosophizing as regards the education and enculturation of the human psyche. As is read in the end of The Republic , the myth of Er turns out to be a philosophical rewriting of poetry to a large degree. For it engagingly reveals Plato’s moral inculcation, philosophical instruction and poetic wisdom in particular, all of which are intended to guide human conduct along the right track (...) for the bliss of the postmortem cycle, and put philosophy learning into first priority for the choice of the future life. Moreover, the transmigrate experience in the mystic overtone of “the Orphic-Pythagorean conglomerate” is discussed with a intercultural reference to the Buddhist doctrines of samsara and karma. (shrink)
In his influential book, "Changing Order", H.M. Collins puts forward the following three claims concerning experimental replication. (i) Replication is rarely practiced by experimentalists; (ii) replication cannot be used as an objective test of scientific knowledge claims, because of the occurrence of the so-called experimenters' regress; and (iii) stopping this regress at some point depends upon the enculturation in a local community of practitioners, who tacitly learn the relevant skills. In my paper I discuss and assess these claims on (...) the basis of a more comprehensive analysis of experimentation and experimental reproducibility. The main point is that Collins' claims are not, strictly speaking, wrong, but rather too one-sided and therefore inadequate. This point also calls for a reconsideration of the radical (social constructivist) conclusions that Collins has drawn from his studies of scientific experimentation. (shrink)
By focusing primarily on communication between adult and child and on adult-set criteria for appropriate action, Carpendale & Lewis's (C&L's) account of the development of social understanding in the epistemic triangle tends toward an enculturation view, while diminishing the role of individuals. What their proposed mechanism fails to acknowledge is that the two agents in the epistemic triangle necessarily have independent perspectives of the object and of each other.
In ‘A Dialogue’, Hume offers an important reply to the moral skeptic. Skeptics traditionally point to instances of moral diversity in support of the claim that our core values are fixed by enculturation. Hume argues that the skeptic exaggerates the amount of variation in moral codes, however, and fails to adopt an indulgent stance toward attitudes different from ours. Hume proposes a charitable interpretation of moral disagreement, moreover, which traces it back to shared principles of human nature. Contemporary philosophers (...) attempt to locate examples of moral variability that cannot be accommodated in this way. But they are no more successful than their predecessors. Moral skeptics have not found a single case of moral diversity that is resistant to the Humean strategy. (shrink)
Upshot: Michael Tomasello is Director of the Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology and Co-Director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. He completed his PhD with Ernst as his supervisor in 1980. In his reminiscence essay he describes the “total enculturation” he experienced on encountering Ernst von Glasersfeld.
In this article I present behavioural analyses of particular constructions of democracy and the ethic of care, in order to determine whether care is a democratic virtue. I analyse Carol Gilligan's concept of care as a complex of six virtues or behavioural dispositions: acquaintance, mindfulness, moral imagining, solidarity, tolerance and self-care. I then describe democracy in terms of two divergent but compatible sets of practices: social non-interference and social co-operation. These behavioural analyses lead me to conclude that certain behavioural habits (...) that partially constitute a person's or a community's caring also partially constitute that person's or community's democracy. Specifically, the caring virtues of acquaintance, mindfulness, moral imagining and self-care also belong to the virtue of democratic co-operation, and the caring virtue of tolerance constitutes the democratic ideal of non-interference. However, solidarity of conscience and private purposes is not itself a democratic ideal, and to try to make it so would violate the democratic ideal of non-interference. Since most of the virtues of care I identified are also virtues of democracy, they are appropriate aims of public education. The enculturation of caring and democratic virtues requires that children practise the kind of inquiry in which these ideals are constructed. (shrink)
The interlink between myth and wisdom in Hellenic heritage is characteristically embodied in the Platonic philosophizing as regards the education and enculturation of the human psyche. As is read in the end of The Republic, the myth of Er turns out to be a philosophical rewriting of poetry to a large degree. For it engagingly reveals Plato's moral inculcation, philosophical instruction and poetic wisdom in particular, all of which are intended to guide human conduct along the right track for (...) the bliss of the postmortem cycle, and put philosophy learning into first priority for the choice of the future life. Moreover, the transmigrate experience in the mystic overtone of "the Orphic-Pythagorean conglomerate" is discussed with a intercultural reference to the Buddhist doctrines of samsara and karma. /// 在古希腊"爱神话"与"爱智慧"彼此密切相关，犹如硬币之两面。柏拉 图在对话中经常以神话喻说达到"话语转向"的戏剧性效果。在《理想国》的结尾 处，柏拉图通过讲述厄洛斯魂游冥界的神话故事，一方面喻示因果报应式的道德训 诫，另一方面表明哲学作为"爱智之学"对选择人生道路的重要意义，从而以"言 有尽而意无穷"的方式彰显出诗性智慧的特有神韵。. (shrink)
The role of motherhood was attenuated over the second half of the twentieth century, by literal and metaphorical factors: Privileged women gained control over their reproduction and developed non-mothering life priorities; government and society became less nurturing in public ideals; projects of spontaneous speciation began in biology; the environment became unsustaining. In addition, feminist criticism resulted in greater individuation between the persons of mothers and their children. With these changes, the role of motherhood lacks a positive identity, culturally and psychically. (...) Extending a literary character, I suggest that mothers consider an attenuated internal identity, based on their unique biological relationships to their children. This would afford a more positive self-identity, as well as a pragmatic solution to demands made by present “middleman” roles for mothers to procure expert child enculturation care, in addition to their “second shifts.”. (shrink)
African philosophy in the twentieth century is largely the work of African intellectuals under the influence of philosophical traditions from the colonial countries. Among them are few names such as Amilcar Cabral, Franz Fanon, Kwame Nkrumah, and Julius Nyerere etc. This paper is an attempt to analyze the politicalphilosophy of Nkrumah, first President of Republic of Ghana in West Africa. The paper argues that from the African political and economic point of view Nkrumah advocated a socialist system created out of (...) the enculturation of African humanist values with the inherited European political culture and social traditions to liberate unite and integrate Ghana and rest of Africa. Following an interdisciplinary approach this paper assesses Nkrumah’s thought both as an individual, intellectual and as a politician. His book ‘Consciencism’ describes the more political than socio-economic approach to class contradictions in African society. In his ‘Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare’ he talked of three objectives i.e. nationalism, pan-Africanism and socialism. He offered the African liberationmovement a strategy of socialist revolution. Nkrumah who had earlier embraced Gandhian non-violence positive action later adopted the Fanonian lines of revolutionary violence recommending the use of universal method i.e. armed struggle to defeat colonialism.. Nkrumah played an important part in spreading the ideas of socialism in Africa. He had a holistic politico-cultural thought that was reflected in many of his speeches and works. Though critics in his thought have found profound contradictions or confusions but none can obscure the main achievements. Remembered as ‘the redeemer’ by the Africans, he provided the charisma they needed for a leading statesman against any form of imperialism. (shrink)
Using a naturalistic video database, we examined whether gestures scaffolded the symbolic development of a language-enculturated chimpanzee, a language-enculturated bonobo, and a human child during the second year of life. These three species constitute a complete clade: species possessing a common immediate ancestor. A basic finding was the functional and formal similarity of many gestures between chimpanzee, bonobo, and human child. The child’s symbols were spoken words; the apes’ symbols were lexigrams, noniconic visual signifiers. A developmental pattern in which gestural (...) representation of a referent preceded symbolic representation of the same referent appeared in all three species (but was statistically significant only for the child). Nonetheless, across species, the ratio of symbol to gesture increased significantly with age. But even though their symbol production increased, the apes continued to communicate more frequently by gesture than by symbol. In contrast, by15-18 months of age, the child used symbols more frequently than gestures. This ontogenetic sequence from gesture to symbol, present across the clade but more pronounced in child than ape, provides support for the role of gesture in language evolution. In all three species, the overwhelming majority of gestures were communicative (paired with eye-contact, vocalization, and/or persistence). However, vocalization was rare for the apes, but accompanied the majority of the child’s communicative gestures. This finding suggests the co-evolution of speech and gesture after the evolutionary divergence of the hominid line. Multimodal expressions of communicative intent (e.g., vocalization plus persistence) were normative for the child, but less common for the apes. This finding suggests that multimodal expression of communicative intent was also strengthened after hominids diverged from apes. (shrink)
Understanding is not of the same kind in all contexts. Children learn the kind of understanding that is appropriate in particular contexts largely through a process of enculturation. This study examines some aspects of 10-year-old children's conceptions of understanding. There was evidence that they had admissible conceptions of understanding in general but may be unable to distinguish unaided between the kinds of understanding that are relevant in different disciplines. An explicit attention to enculturation in lesson plans may be (...) of benefit to such children. (shrink)
I characterize controlling pictures or assumptions and concomitants of first modemity and then postmodernity. In brief, these assumptions are the possibility of absolute transcendence of one’s body, language, and culture versus the inescapability of some immanence in the same, of standing in the world. I trace the historical trajectory of the modem spirit and conclude that the move from modernity to postmodemity has been a long, gradual one that continues today. Modern thought increasingly recognized the historical relativity and conditionedness of (...) everything human, yet held on to at least one version of absolutism. Recognizing that all of even one’s own thinking is always incarnate and conditioned is the decisive point for entering postmodernity. The critical and non-critical aspects of the postmodem spirit are described. I next offer an evaluative overview of modern. theology, evaluate two movements in modern theology and philosophy-existentialism and process thought -- with important postmodern elements, and commend liberation theologies for exposing absolutistic assumptions of modem theology. Finally, with some trepidation I evaluate three types of self-consciously postmodern theology (which can find possible or actual counterparts in all the disciplines of the humanities). Radical or deconstructive postrnodernism hypothesizes total immanence in our representations of reality. It alternates between the relativistic standing everywhere of equally endorsing all interpretations and the standing nowhere of nihilism. In its hidden standard of absolute truth and its refusal to (claim a) stand in the world, radical postmodernism reveals itself to be modern rather than postmodern. Conservative posmodemism. or postliberalism emphasizes the importance of enculturation in a tradition. Hypothesizing immanence inincommensurate worldviews, its posture is defensive. Protestant postliberalism, including Radical Orthodoxy, postmodernly claims Christianity as a self-authenticating context of meaning, but then incoherently shifts into the posture of modem or pre-modern absolutism and claims it as the one true religion. Only moderate postmodernism can adequately reflect the postmodern spirit. It charts a course betvveen absolutism and relativism. It gives the critical aspect its due, affirming limited human transcendence. It grants that all persons are rooted in the world, that all are embodied and enculturated in some meaning. (shrink)
The goal of this thesis is to undo those assumptions about understanding and the doxastic and social relationships that are concomitant with those assumptions, while offering a different way of construing understanding that is conducive to allowing Christian religious educators to move forward in their work, especially as that work concerns intergenerational strife. This rewriting of our notions of understanding and relationship will be in a direction wherein thedistinctions between faith, knowledge, self-understanding, enculturation, and ethical choice are blurred. Accordingly, (...) this thesis finds the concern with many of those interdisciplinary approaches to the study of philosophy, theology, and education that have been influenced by both Korean Christian religious education and its radical, deconstructive re-positionings. The thesis also attempts to reflexively deploy such approaches throughout. (shrink)
In the Common Mind, Pettit argues that rational choice theory cannot provide genuine causal accounts of action. A genuine causal explanation of intentional action must track how people actually deliberate to arrive at action. And, deliberation is necessarily enculturated or situated “. . . we take human agents to reason their way to action, using the concepts that are available to them in the currency of their culture” (p. 220). When deciding how to act, “. . . people find their (...) way to action in response to properties that they register in the options before them, properties that are valued in common with others and that can be invoked to provide at least some justification of their choices” (p. 272). That people seek to make justified decisions implies that, at times, their own goals or objectives will be modified in deliberation. Something that rational choice theory cannot allow. (shrink)
What are the brain and cognitive systems that allow humans to play baseball, compute square roots, cook soufflés, or navigate the Tokyo subways? It may seem that studies of human infants and of non-human animals will tell us little about these abilities, because only educated, enculturated human adults engage in organized games, formal mathematics, gourmet cooking, or map-reading. In this chapter, we argue against this seemingly sensible conclusion. When human adults exhibit complex, uniquely human, culture-specific skills, they draw on a (...) set of psychological and neural mechanisms with two distinctive properties: they evolved before humanity and thus are shared with other animals, and they emerge early in human development and thus are common to infants, children, and adults. These core knowledge systems form the building blocks for uniquely human skills. Without them we wouldn’t be able to learn about different kinds of games, mathematics, cooking, or maps. To understand what is special about human intelligence, therefore, we must study both the core knowledge systems on which it rests and the mechanisms by which these systems are orchestrated to permit new kinds of concepts and cognitive processes. What is core knowledge? A wealth of research on non-human primates and on human infants suggests that a system of core knowledge is characterized by four properties (Hauser, 2000; Spelke, 2000). First, it is domain-specific: each system functions to represent particular kinds of entities such as conspecific agents, manipulable objects, places in the environmental layout, and numerosities. Second, it is task-specific: each system uses its representations to address specific questions about the world, such as “who is this?” [face recognition], “what does this do?” [categorization of artifacts], “where am I?” [spatial orientation], and “how many are here?” [enumeration]. Third, it is relatively encapsulated: each uses only a subset of the information delivered by an animal’s input systems and sends information only to a subset of the animal’s output systems. (shrink)
Consciousness is typically construed as being explainable purely in terms of either private, raw feels or higher-order, reflective representations. In contrast to this false dichotomy, we propose a new view of consciousness as an interactive, plastic phenomenon open to sociocultural influence. We take up our account of consciousness from the observation of radical cortical neuroplasticity in human development. Accordingly, we draw upon recent research on macroscopic neural networks, including the “default mode”, to illustrate cases in which an individual’s particular “connectome” (...) is shaped by encultured social practices that depend upon and influence phenomenal and reflective consciousness. On our account, the dynamically interacting connectivity of these networks bring about important individual differences in conscious experience and determine what is “present” in consciousness. Further, we argue that the organization of the brain into discrete anti-correlated networks supports the phenomenological distinction of prereflective and reflective consciousness, but we emphasize that this finding must be interpreted in light of the dynamic, category-resistant nature of consciousness. Our account motivates philosophical and empirical hypotheses regarding the appropriate time-scale and function of neuroplastic adaptation, the relation of high and low frequency neural activity to consciousness and cognitive plasticity, and the role of ritual social practices in neural development and cognitive function. (shrink)
The argument of this paper is that we should think of the extension of cognitive abilities and cognitive character in integrationist terms. Cognitive abilities are extended by acquired practices of creating and manipulating information that is stored in a publicly accessible environment. I call these cognitive practices (2007). In contrast to Pritchard (2010) I argue that such processes are integrated into our cognitive characters rather than artefacts; such as notebooks. There are two routes to cognitive extension that I contrast in (...) the paper, the first I call artefact extension which is the now classic position of the causal coupling of an agent with an artefact. This approach needs to overcome the objection from cognitive outsourcing: that we simply get an artefact or tool to do the cognitive processing for us without extending our cognitive abilities. Enculturated cognition, by contrast, does not claim that artefacts themselves extend our cognitive abilities, but rather that the acquired practices for manipulating artefacts and the information stored in them extend our cognitive abilities (by augmenting and transforming them). In the rest of the paper I provide a series of arguments and cases which demonstrate that an enculturated approach works better for both epistemic and cognitive cases of the extension of ability and character. (shrink)
Abstract: I address the issue of how pretence emerged in evolution by reviewing the (mostly negative) evidence about pretend behaviour in non-human primates, and proposing a model of the type of information processing abilities that humans had to evolve in order to be able to pretend. Non-human primates do not typically pretend: there are just a few examples of potential pretend actions mostly produced by apes. The best, but still rare, examples are produced by so-called 'enculturated' apes (reared by humans) (...) and among them specially those that have been systematically trained to use symbols (so-called 'linguistic' apes). A hypothesis that would explain the lack of pretence in apes is that they lack the mentalistic ability of theory of mind. However, in the last years apes have been demonstrated to possess relatively sophisticated social cognitive skills, some of them ontogenetically appearing in humans alongside with or even after pretend play. As a solution to the paradox, I discuss a model according to which pretence is supported by a mechanism capable of computing intentional relations with non-existing objects or properties (Intentional non-existence), as opposed to mechanisms computing intentional relations with existing, although not necessarily currently perceived, objects (Intentional availability). Apes possess the latter, which allows them to solve a variety of theory of mind tasks, but not the former, which typically prevents them from developing pretence. (shrink)
Abstract. The dangerous level of individuality in contemporary Western culture is informed by a conception of mind, self, and soul as internal to the central nervous system. The historical development of this view has produced a bounded and self-contained individual at odds with communal life. Happily, scientific and philosophical studies of mind are coming to view the human mind as embodied, enactive, encultured, and embedded in social and technical networks, and as a construction not limited to the boundaries of the (...) individual organism. Mental phenomena are hybrids of events in the head and events in the world to which they are often coupled, not least of which are with other people. There are mutual and reciprocal implications of this externalism for a number of religious themes. Our understanding of redemption might better be bound to our relationships with others, including our bodies and our sexuality, rather than to a private, individual relationship with the sacred. (shrink)
When Matthew Arnold wrote Culture and Anarchy over a hundred years ago, he gave expression to the ideal of excellence in the fostering of culture, by describing it as "getting to know, on all the matters that most concern us, the best which has been thought and said in the world, and, through this knowledge, turning a stream of fresh and free thought upon our stock notions and habits." Arnold was an inspector of schools, and a champion of higher education, (...) and he believed in excellence in education as the way not only to staff the economy, important though that is, but to produce an enculturated society which will live up to the ideal in Aristotle's dictum: "we educate ourselves in order to make noble use of our leisure.". (shrink)