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  1. Forever United: The Co-Evolution of Language and Normativity.Ehud Lamm - 2014 - In Daniel Dor, Christopher Knight & Jerome Lewis (eds.), The social origins of language: Studies in the evolution of language. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 267-283.
    Language and norms are both fundamental to human society. A social account of language evolution must take into account the normative context in which language acquisition, use, and change occur. However, at the same time, norms in human society are directly affected by language and the linguistic skills of individuals. My aim in this chapter is to explore the evolutionary consequences of this bi-directional interaction. I discuss how it can help explain central linguistic notions including imperatives, questions, possessives, modal vocabulary, (...)
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  2. Culture and Cognitive Science.Andreas De Block & Daniel Kelly - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Human behavior and thought often exhibit a familiar pattern of within group similarity and between group difference. Many of these patterns are attributed to cultural differences. For much of the history of its investigation into behavior and thought, however, cognitive science has been disproportionately focused on uncovering and explaining the more universal features of human minds—or the universal features of minds in general. -/- This entry charts out the ways in which this has changed over the past decades. It sketches (...)
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  3. A Cultural Species and its Cognitive Phenotypes: Implications for Philosophy.Joseph Henrich, Damián E. Blasi, Cameron M. Curtin, Helen Elizabeth Davis, Ze Hong, Daniel Kelly & Ivan Kroupin - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-38.
    After introducing the new field of cultural evolution, we review a growing body of empirical evidence suggesting that culture shapes what people attend to, perceive and remember as well as how they think, feel and reason. Focusing on perception, spatial navigation, mentalizing, thinking styles, reasoning (epistemic norms) and language, we discuss not only important variation in these domains, but emphasize that most researchers (including philosophers) and research participants are psychologically peculiar within a global and historical context. This rising tide of (...)
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  4. A New Look at Old Numbers, and What It Reveals About Numeration.Karenleigh Anne Overmann - 2021 - Journal of Near Eastern Studies 2 (80):291-321.
    In this study, the archaic counting systems of Mesopotamia as understood through the Neolithic tokens, numerical impressions, and proto-cuneiform notations were compared to the traditional number-words and counting methods of Polynesia as understood through contemporary and historical descriptions of vocabulary and behaviors. The comparison and associated analyses capitalized on the ability to understand well-known characteristics of Uruk-period numbers like object-specific counting, polyvalence, and context-dependence through historical observations of Polynesian counting methods and numerical language, evidence unavailable for ancient numbers. Similarities between (...)
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  5. Numerical Origins: The Critical Questions.Karenleigh Anne Overmann - 2021 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 5 (21):449-468.
    Four perspectives on numerical origins are examined. The nativist model sees numbers as an aspect of numerosity, the biologically endowed ability to appreciate quantity that humans share with other species. The linguistic model sees numbers as a function of language. The embodied model sees numbers as conceptual metaphors informed by physical experience and expressed in language. Finally, the extended model sees numbers as conceptual outcomes of a cognitive system that includes material forms as constitutive components. If numerical origins are to (...)
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  6. Adaptation and its Analogues: Biological Categories for Biosemantics.Hajo Greif - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 90:298-307.
    “Teleosemantic” or “biosemantic” theories form a strong naturalistic programme in the philosophy of mind and language. They seek to explain the nature of mind and language by recourse to a natural history of “proper functions” as selected-for effects of language- and thought-producing mechanisms. However, they remain vague with respect to the nature of the proposed analogy between selected-for effects on the biological level and phenomena that are not strictly biological, such as reproducible linguistic and cultural forms. This essay critically explores (...)
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  7. Likeness-Making and the Evolution of Cognition.Hajo Greif - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 37 (1):1-24.
    Paleontological evidence suggests that human artefacts with intentional markings might have originated already in the Lower Paleolithic, up to 500.000 years ago and well before the advent of ‘behavioural modernity’. These markings apparently did not serve instrumental, tool-like functions, nor do they appear to be forms of figurative art. Instead, they display abstract geometric patterns that potentially testify to an emerging ability of symbol use. In a variation on Ian Hacking’s speculative account of the possible role of “likeness-making” in the (...)
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  8. Three Arguments From Science *for* Free Will.Paul Merriam - manuscript
    I give three brief scientifically informed arguments that free will is causally efficacious over-and-above the efficaciousness of its physical substrate. (This is a second attempt at putting it up on PhilPapers--there seems to have been some problem with downloading the previous version.).
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  9. A Continuum of Intentionality: Linking the Biogenic and Anthropogenic Approaches to Cognition.Matthew Sims - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (6):1-31.
    Biogenic approaches investigate cognition from the standpoint of evolutionary function, asking what cognition does for a living system and then looking for common principles and exhibitions of cognitive strategies in a vast array of living systems—non-neural to neural. One worry which arises for the biogenic approach is that it is overly permissive in terms of what it construes as cognition. In this paper I critically engage with a recent instance of this way of criticising biogenic approaches in order to clarify (...)
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  10. Editors' Introduction to Tasks, Tools, and Techniques.Wayne D. Gray, François Osiurak & Richard Heersmink - 2021 - Topics in Cognitive Science 13 (4):1-8.
    Tasks, tools, and techniques that we perform, use, and acquire, define the elements of expertise which we value as the hallmarks of goal-driven behavior. Somehow, the creation of tools enables us to define new tasks, or is it that the envisioning of new tasks drives us to invent new tools? Or maybe it is that new tools engender new techniques which then result in new tasks? This jumble of issues will be explored and discussed in this diverse collection of papers. (...)
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  11. The Arrival of the Smartest: In Favour of a Pluralistic Account of the Evolution of Cognition.Giorgio Airoldi - 2021 - Aufklärung 8.
    The great advances of the last decades both in cognitive theories and in evolutionary biology have not yet fully merged. Most evolutionary hypotheses around the mind still rely on classical cognitivism, while most theories of cognition still look for adaptive explanations. We believe that the merging of novel cognitive theories into a pluralistic account can greatly improve our understanding of both what cognition is and how it evolved.
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  12. Daniel C, Dennett: Communication, Evolution, and Self.David L. Thompson - 2012 - In Philosophical Profiles in the Theory of Communication. New York: Peter Lang Publishing Inc.. pp. 219-234.
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  13. Origins of Objectivity.David L. Thompson - manuscript
    Tomasello offers an evolutionary, palaeoanthropological account of the human origin of objects and objectivity. Husserl gives a phenomenological account of the constitution of objects by intersubjectivity. Comparing the two, I claim that Tomasello’s “naturalized” approach closely parallels Husserl’s transcendental approach.
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  14. Finger-Counting and Numerical Structure.Karenleigh A. Overmann - 2021 - Frontiers in Psychology 2021 (12):723492.
    Number systems differ cross-culturally in characteristics like how high counting extends and which number is used as a productive base. Some of this variability can be linked to the way the hand is used in counting. The linkage shows that devices like the hand used as external representations of number have the potential to influence numerical structure and organization, as well as aspects of numerical language. These matters suggest that cross-cultural variability may be, at least in part, a matter of (...)
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  15. Cassirer/Heidegger. O Encontro de Davos ou o Debate sobre Kant e a Modernidade.Manuel Peixe Dias - 1997 - Philosophica: International Journal for the History of Philosophy 5 (10):121-144.
    À Davos, 1929, la défense de l'idéal des Lumières, de l'idealisme allemand et surtout de la puissance de l’esprit humain de se transcender en formes symboliques, prend en Cassirer la figure à'ultime combat, la culture c'est, pour l'homme, l'unique forme de dépasser la immédiatité de son existence, c'est à dire, sa finitude. Hegel, après Schiller, l'a bien dit: du calice de ce royaume des esprits s'écoule ju s qu'à lui l' in fin it Mais pour Heidegger, la transcendance de l'homme (...)
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  16. Ernst Cassirer - A “Tragédia da Cultura”.Ernst Cassirer, Pedro M. S. Alves & Antonieta Lopes - 2004 - Philosophica: International Journal for the History of Philosophy 12 (23):137-158.
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  17. Time of the Magicians: Wittgenstein, Benjamin, Cassirer, Heidegger and the Decade That Reinvented Philosophy by Wolfram Eilenberger. [REVIEW]Leonid Bilmes - 2021 - Philosophy Now 146:48-50.
  18. On Turing Completeness, or Why We Are So Many.Ramón Casares - manuscript
    Why are we so many? Or, in other words, Why is our species so successful? The ultimate cause of our success as species is that we, Homo sapiens, are the first and the only Turing complete species. Turing completeness is the capacity of some hardware to compute by software whatever hardware can compute. -/- To reach the answer, I propose to see evolution and computing from the problem solving point of view. Then, solving more problems is evolutionarily better, computing is (...)
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  19. Empathy and the Evolutionary Emergence of Guilt.Grant Ramsey & Michael J. Deem - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science:1-39.
    Guilt poses a unique evolutionary problem. Unlike other dysphoric emotions, it is not immediately clear what its adaptive significance is. One can imagine thriving despite or even because of a lack of guilt. In this paper, we review solutions offered by Scott James, Richard Joyce, and Robert Frank and show that, although their solutions have merit, none adequately solves the puzzle. We offer an alternative solution, one that emphasizes the role of empathy and post-transgression behavior in the evolution of guilt. (...)
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  20. Digging the Channels of Inheritance: On How to Distinguish Between Cultural and Biological Inheritance.Maria Kronfeldner - 2021 - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 376.
    Theories of cultural evolution rest on the assumption that cultural inheritance is distinct from biological inheritance. Cultural and biological inheritance are two separate so-called channels of inheritance, two sub-systems of the sum total of developmental resources traveling in distinct ways between individual agents. This paper asks: what justifies this assumption? In reply, a philosophical account is offered that points at three related but distinct criteria that (taken together) make the distinction between cultural and biological inheritance not only precise but also (...)
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  21. Book Review: Neanderthal Language: Demystifying the Linguistic Powers of Our Extinct Cousins. [REVIEW]Petar Gabrić - 2021 - Frontiers in Psychology 12:702361.
    Recently, we have witnessed an explosion of studies and discussions claiming that Neanderthals engaged in a range of “symbolic” behaviors, including personal ornament use (Radovčić et al., 2015), funerary practices (Balzeau et al., 2020), visual arts (Hoffmann et al., 2018), body aesthetics (Roebroeks et al., 2012), etc. In Paleolithic archaeology, it has become mainstream to axiomatically infer from these putative behaviors that Neanderthals engaged in symbol use and that Neanderthals thus possessed some form of language. Rudolf Botha's bombastic title "Neanderthal (...)
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  22. Socializing Willpower: Resolve From the Outside In.Stephen Setman & Daniel Kelly - 2021 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 44.
    Ainslie's account of willpower is conspicuously individualistic. Because other people, social influence, and culture appear only peripherally, it risks overlooking what may be resolve's deeply social roots. We identify a general “outside-in” explanatory strategy suggested by a range of recent research into human cognitive evolution, and suggest how it might illuminate the origins and more social aspects of resolve.
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  23. Consciousness Development in Rastafari: A Perspective From the Psychology of Religion.Christian Stokke - 2021 - Anthropology of Consciousness 32 (1):81-106.
    This paper explores a Rastafari perspective on consciousness development and relates this to developmental stage theories of consciousness evolution from the psychology of religion. The empirical material is from fieldwork on an online Rastafari community with global reach but run by a group based in Trinidad. The people on this particular forum align with the “spiritual, but not religious” trend in contemporary religiosity, which means they are more focused on interior questions of consciousness raising than on religious externals. This paper (...)
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  24. The Cultural Evolution of Cultural Evolution.Jonathan Birch & Cecilia Heyes - 2021 - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 376:20200051.
    What makes fast, cumulative cultural evolution work? Where did it come from? Why is it the sole preserve of humans? We set out a self-assembly hypothesis: cultural evolution evolved culturally. We present an evolutionary account that shows this hypothesis to be coherent, plausible, and worthy of further investigation. It has the following steps: (0) in common with other animals, early hominins had significant capacity for social learning; (1) knowledge and skills learned by offspring from their parents began to spread because (...)
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  25. A Cognitive Archaeology of Writing: Concepts, Models, Goals.Karenleigh Anne Overmann - 2021 - In Philip Boyes, Philippa Steele & Natalia Elvira Astoreca (eds.), The social and cultural contexts of historic writing practices. Oxford: Oxbow. pp. 55-72.
    Complex systems like literacy and numeracy emerge through multigenerational interactions of brains, behaviors, and material forms. In such systems, material forms – writing for language and notations for numbers – become increasingly refined to elicit specific behavioral and psychological responses in newly indoctrinated individuals. These material forms, however, differ fundamentally in things like semiotic function: language signifies, while numbers instantiate. This makes writing for language able to represent the meanings and sounds of particular languages, while notations for numbers are semantically (...)
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  26. Environmental Variability and the Emergence of Meaning: Simulational Studies Across Imitation, Genetic Algorithms, and Neural Nets.Patrick Grim - 2006 - In Angelo Loula & Ricardo Gudwin (eds.), Artificial Cognition Systems. Idea Group. pp. 284-326.
    A crucial question for artificial cognition systems is what meaning is and how it arises. In pursuit of that question, this paper extends earlier work in which we show that emergence of simple signaling in biologically inspired models using arrays of locally interactive agents. Communities of "communicators" develop in an environment of wandering food sources and predators using any of a variety of mechanisms: imitation of successful neighbors, localized genetic algorithms and partial neural net training on successful neighbors. Here we (...)
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  27. Human Social Evolution: Self-Domestication or Self-Control?Dor Shilton, Mati Breski, Daniel Dor & Eva Jablonka - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
    The self-domestication hypothesis suggests that, like mammalian domesticates, humans have gone through a process of selection against aggression – a process that in the case of humans was self-induced. Here, we extend previous proposals and suggest that what underlies human social evolution is selection for socially mediated emotional control and plasticity. In the first part of the paper we highlight general features of human social evolution, which, we argue, is more similar to that of other social mammals than to that (...)
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  28. Lectures on Perception: An Ecological Perspective.Miguel Segundo-Ortin - 2021 - Philosophical Psychology 34 (2):318-321.
  29. Creating a Compassionate World: Addressing the Conflicts Between Sharing and Caring Versus Controlling and Holding Evolved Strategies.Paul Gilbert - 2021 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
    For thousands of years, various spiritual traditions and social activists have appealed to humans to adopt compassionate ways of living to address the suffering of life. Yet, along with our potential for compassion and self-sacrifice, the last few thousand years of wars, slavery, tortures, and holocausts have shown humans can be extraordinarily selfish, callous, vicious, and cruel. While there has been considerable engagement with these issues, particularly in the area of moral psychology and ethics, this paper explores an evolutionary analysis (...)
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  30. Leaky Levels and the Case for Proper Embodiment.Mog Stapleton - 2016 - In G. Etzelmüller & C. Tewes (eds.), Embodiment in Evolution and Culture. Tübingen, Germany: pp. 17-30.
    In this chapter I present the thesis of Proper Embodiment: the claim that (at least some of) the details of our physiology matter to cognition and consciousness in a fundamental way. This thesis is composed of two sub-claims: (1) if we are to design, build, or evolve artificial systems that are cognitive in the way that we are, these systems will have to be internally embodied, and (2) the exploitation of the particular internal embodiment that allows systems to evolve solutions (...)
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  31. Pregnant Females as Historical Individuals: An Insight From the Philosophy of Evo-Devo.Laura Nuño de la Rosa, Mihaela Pavličev & Arantza Etxeberria - 2021 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
    Criticisms of the “container” model of pregnancy picturing female and embryo as separate entities multiply in various philosophical and scientific contexts during the last decades. In this paper, we examine how this model underlies received views of pregnancy in evolutionary biology, in the characterization of the transition from oviparity to viviparity in mammals and in the selectionist explanations of pregnancy as an evolutionary strategy. In contrast, recent evo-devo studies on eutherian reproduction, including the role of inflammation and new maternal cell (...)
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  32. Compassion: From Its Evolution to a Psychotherapy.Paul Gilbert - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
    The concept, benefits and recommendations for the cultivation of compassion have been recognized in the contemplative traditions for thousands of years. In the last 30 years or so, the study of compassion has revealed it to have major physiological and psychological effects influencing well-being, addressing mental health difficulties, and promoting prosocial behavior. This paper outlines an evolution informed biopsychosocial, multicomponent model to caring behavior and its derivative “compassion” that underpins newer approaches to psychotherapy. The paper explores the origins of caring (...)
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  33. Primary Cognitive Categories Are Determined by Their Invariances.Peter Gärdenfors - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
    The world as we perceive it is structured into objects, actions and places that form parts of events. In this article, my aim is to explain why these categories are cognitively primary. From an empiricist and evolutionary standpoint, it is argued that the reduction of the complexity of sensory signals is based on the brain's capacity to identify various types of invariances that are evolutionarily relevant for the activities of the organism. The first aim of the article is to explain (...)
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  34. Coupling to Variant Information: An Ecological Account of Comparative Mental Imagery Generation.Matthew Sims - 2019 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (4):899-916.
    Action-based theories of cognition place primary emphasis upon the role that agent-environment coupling plays in the emergence of psychological states. Prima facie, mental imagery seems to present a problem for some of these theories because it is understood to be stimulus-absent and thus thought to be decoupled from the environment. However, mental imagery is much more multifaceted than this “naïve” view suggests. Focusing on a particular kind of imagery, comparative mental imagery generation, this paper demonstrates that although such imagery is (...)
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  35. How to Count Biological Minds: Symbiosis, the Free Energy Principle, and Reciprocal Multiscale Integration.Matthew Sims - 2020 - Synthese 8:1-1.
    The notion of a physiological individuals has been developed and applied in the phi- losophy of biology to understand symbiosis, an understanding of which is key to theorising about the major transition in evolution from multi-organismality to multi- cellularity. The paper begins by asking what such symbiotic individuals can help to reveal about a possible transition in the evolution of cognition. Such a transition marks the movement from cooperating individual biological cognizers to a function- ally integrated cognizing unit. Somewhere along (...)
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  36. The Role of Culture and Evolution for Human Cognition.Andrea Bender - 2020 - Topics in Cognitive Science 12 (4):1403-1420.
    Since the emergence of our species at least, natural selection based on genetic variation has been replaced by culture as the major driving force in human evolution. It has made us what we are today, by ratcheting up cultural innovations, promoting new cognitive skills, rewiring brain networks, and even shifting gene distributions. Adopting an evolutionary perspective can therefore be highly informative for cognitive science in several ways: It encourages us to ask grand questions about the origins and ramifications of our (...)
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  37. Common Creativity.Karenleigh Anne Overmann - forthcoming - In Linden Ball & Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau (eds.), Routledge International Handbook of Creative Cognition. London:
    Creativity is often conceived in terms of insight, innovation, and invention realized through technical mastery and skill. Challenging this individualistic model are “inventions” like writing, something that surely gave no clue to the form it would ultimately take—script—or the ways in which it would reorganize behaviors and brains in the cognitive state known as literacy. Here writing is analyzed as a tool used collectively and collaboratively. Collective, collaborative use enabled the tool to become increasingly effective at eliciting specific behavioral and (...)
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  38. Michael Tomasello, Becoming Human: A Theory of Ontogeny, Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2019, Xi + 379 Pp, $35.00/£28.95/€31.50. [REVIEW]Ivan Gonzalez-Cabrera - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (4):1-5.
    In this book, Michael Tomasello proposes an overarching theoretical framework that organizes the research that he and his colleagues at the Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology of the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig have carried out for the past 20 years. The book is recommended for students and academics working on the evolution of human cognition, especially those interested in the intersection between evolutionary developmental biology and developmental psychology.
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  39. Ancient Animistic Beliefs Live on in Our Intimacy with Tech.Stephen Asma - 2020 - Aeon.
    Animistic cognition has adaptive value in domains of social and physical niche prediction. This argument is extended to our contemporary relationship with digital and AI technology.
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  40. 4E Cognition in the Lower Palaeolithic: An Introduction.Thomas Wynn, Karenleigh Anne Overmann & Lambros Malafouris - forthcoming - Adaptive Behavior:99-106.
    This essay introduces a special issue focused on 4E cognition (cognition as embodied, embedded, enactive, and extended) in the Lower Palaeolithic. In it, we review the typological and representational cognitive approaches that have dominated the past fifty years of paleoanthropology. These have assumed that all representations and computations take place only inside the head, which implies that the archaeological record can only be an “external” product or the behavioral trace of “internal” representational and computational processes. In comparison, the 4E approach (...)
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  41. Self-Consciousness as a Product of Biological Evolution.B. Korzeniewski - 2020 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 27 (7-8):50-76.
    This paper argues that self-consciousness and associated psychic consciousness emerges as a consequence of a recursive selfdirecting on itself of the cognitive centre in the human brain. The neural mechanisms and circuits underlying self-consciousness appeared and developed during biological evolution as an adaptation that increased the fitness of our social ancestors, chances of their survival, and reproduction. These mechanisms/circuits strengthened the efficiency of individuals in various social relations, enabled separation of 'I' from 'he/she' or 'them' and the formation of firstand (...)
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  42. The Material Difference in Human Cognition.Karenleigh Anne Overmann - 2021 - Adaptive Behavior 29 (2):123-136.
    Humans leverage material forms for unique cognitive purposes: We recruit and incorporate them into our cognitive system, exploit them to accumulate and distribute cognitive effort, and use them to recreate phenotypic change in new individuals and generations. These purposes are exemplified by writing, a relatively recent tool that has become highly adept at eliciting specific psychological and behavioral responses in its users, capability it achieved by changing in ways that facilitated, accumulated, and distributed incremental behavioral and psychological change between individuals (...)
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  43. Visuospatial Integration: Paleoanthropological and Archaeological Perspectives.Emiliano Bruner, Enza Spinapolice, Ariane Burke & Karenleigh A. Overmann - 2018 - In Laura Desirèe Di Paolo, Fabio Di Vincenzo & Francesca De Petrillo (eds.), Evolution of Primate Social Cognition. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Verlag. pp. 299-326.
    The visuospatial system integrates inner and outer functional processes, organizing spatial, temporal, and social interactions between the brain, body, and environment. These processes involve sensorimotor networks like the eye–hand circuit, which is especially important to primates, given their reliance on vision and touch as primary sensory modalities and the use of the hands in social and environmental interactions. At the same time, visuospatial cognition is intimately connected with memory, self-awareness, and simulation capacity. In the present article, we review issues associated (...)
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  44. Cognitive Novelties, Informational Form, and Structural-Causal Explanations.Andrew Buskell - 2020 - Synthese 198 (9):8533-8553.
    Recent work has established a framework for explaining the origin of cognitive novelties—qualitatively distinct cognitive traits—in human beings. This niche construction approach argues that humans engineer epistemic environments in ways that facilitate the ontogenetic and phylogenetic development of such novelties. I here argue that attention to the organized relations between content-carrying informational vehicles, or informational form, is key to a valuable explanatory strategy within this project, what I call structural-causal explanations. Drawing on recent work from Cecilia Heyes, and developing a (...)
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  45. Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind. By Joshua May. Pp. Ix, 264, Oxford University Press, 2018, £45.00. [REVIEW]Agneta Sutton - 2020 - Heythrop Journal 61 (2):359-359.
    he burgeoning science of ethics has produced a trend toward pessimism. Ordinary moral thought and action, we're told, are profoundly influenced by arbitrary factors and ultimately driven by unreasoned feelings. This book counters the current orthodoxy on its own terms by carefully engaging with the empirical literature. The resulting view, optimistic rationalism, shows the pervasive role played by reason our moral minds, and ultimately defuses sweeping debunking arguments in ethics. The science does suggest that moral knowledge and virtue don't come (...)
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  46. Recent Trends in the Cognitive Science of Religion: Neuroscience, Religious Experience, and the Confluence of Cognitive and Evolutionary Research.Robert N. McCauley - 2020 - Zygon 55 (1):97-124.
  47. Updating the “Abstract–Concrete” Distinction in Ancient Near Eastern Numbers.Karenleigh Overmann - 2018 - Cuneiform Digital Library Journal 1:1–22.
    The characterization of early token-based accounting using a concrete concept of number, later numerical notations an abstract one, has become well entrenched in the literature. After reviewing its history and assumptions, this article challenges the abstract–concrete distinction, presenting an alternative view of change in Ancient Near Eastern number concepts, wherein numbers are abstract from their inception and materially bound when most elaborated. The alternative draws on the chronological sequence of material counting technologies used in the Ancient Near East—fingers, tallies, tokens, (...)
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  48. Constructing a Concept of Number.Karenleigh Overmann - 2018 - Journal of Numerical Cognition 2 (4):464–493.
    Numbers are concepts whose content, structure, and organization are influenced by the material forms used to represent and manipulate them. Indeed, as argued here, it is the inclusion of multiple forms (distributed objects, fingers, single- and two-dimensional forms like pebbles and abaci, and written notations) that is the mechanism of numerical elaboration. Further, variety in employed forms explains at least part of the synchronic and diachronic variability that exists between and within cultural number systems. Material forms also impart characteristics like (...)
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  49. Beyond Writing: The Development of Literacy in the Ancient Near East.Karenleigh Overmann - 2016 - Cambridge Archaeological Journal 2 (26):285–303.
    Previous discussions of the origins of writing in the Ancient Near East have not incorporated the neuroscience of literacy, which suggests that when southern Mesopotamians wrote marks on clay in the late-fourth millennium, they inadvertently reorganized their neural activity, a factor in manipulating the writing system to reflect language, yielding literacy through a combination of neurofunctional change and increased script fidelity to language. Such a development appears to take place only with a sufficient demand for writing and reading, such as (...)
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  50. Materiality and Human Cognition.Karenleigh Overmann & Thomas Wynn - 2019 - Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 2 (26):457–478.
    In this paper, we examine the role of materiality in human cognition. We address issues such as the ways in which brain functions may change in response to interactions with material forms, the attributes of material forms that may cause change in brain functions, and the spans of time required for brain functions to reorganize when interacting with material forms. We then contrast thinking through materiality with thinking about it. We discuss these in terms of their evolutionary significance and history (...)
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