Enhancing thoughts: Culture, technology, and the evolution of human cognitive uniqueness

Mind and Language 37 (3):465-484 (2020)
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Three facts are widely thought to be key to the characterization of human cognitive uniqueness (though a number of other factors are often cited as well): (a) humans are sophisticated cultural learners; (b) humans often rely on mental states with rich representational contents; and (c) humans have the ability and disposition to make and use tools. This article argues that (a)–(c) create a positive feedback loop: Sophisticated cultural learning makes possible the manufacture of tools that increase the sophistication of representational decision-making, which in turn allows for yet further increases in the sophistication of cultural learning and tool manufacture.



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Armin W. Schulz
University of Kansas

Citations of this work

Culture and Cognitive Science.Andreas De Block & Daniel Kelly - 2022 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Episodic Memory, Simulated Future Planning, and their Evolution.Armin W. Schulz & Sarah Robins - 2023 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 14 (3):811-832.
Culture and cognitive science.Jesse Prinz - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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