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Anton Killin
Australian National University
  1.  51
    From Things to Thinking: Cognitive Archaeology.Adrian Currie & Anton Killin - 2019 - Mind and Language 34 (2):263-279.
    Cognitive archaeologists infer from material remains to the cognitive features of past societies. We characterize cognitive archaeology in terms of trace-based reasoning, which in the case of cognitive archaeology involves inferences drawing upon background theory linking objects from the archaeological record to cognitive features. We analyse such practices, examining work on cognitive evolution, language, and musicality. We argue that the central epistemic challenge for cognitive archaeology is often not a paucity of material remains, but insufficient constraint from cognitive theories. However, (...)
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  2.  17
    Cognitive Archaeology and the Minimum Necessary Competence Problem.Anton Killin & Ross Pain - forthcoming - Biological Theory:1-15.
    Cognitive archaeologists attempt to infer the cognitive and cultural features of past hominins and their societies from the material record. This task faces the problem of minimum necessary competence: as the most sophisticated thinking of ancient hominins may have been in domains that leave no archaeological signature, it is safest to assume that tool production and use reflects only the lower boundary of cognitive capacities. Cognitive archaeology involves selecting a model from the cognitive sciences and then assessing some aspect of (...)
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  3.  28
    Plio-Pleistocene Foundations of Hominin Musicality: Coevolution of Cognition, Sociality, and Music.Anton Killin - 2017 - Biological Theory 12 (4):222-235.
    Today, music is ubiquitous, highly valued in all known cultures, playing many roles in human daily life. The ethnographic study of the music of extant human foragers makes this quite apparent. Moreover, music is ancient. Sophisticated bird-bone and ivory flutes dated from 40 kya reveal an even earlier musical-technological tradition. So is music likely to be an entrenched feature of human social life during the long passage to behavioral modernity—say, by 150 kya—or earlier? In this article I sketch an evolutionary (...)
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  4.  23
    Music Pluralism, Music Realism, and Music Archaeology.Anton Killin - 2021 - Topoi 40 (1):261-272.
    According to pluralism about some concept, there are multiple non-equivalent, legitimate concepts pertaining to the ontological category in question. It is an open question whether conceptual pluralism implies anti-realism about that category. In this article, I argue that at least for the case of music, it does not. To undermine the application of an influential move from pluralism to anti-realism, then, I provide an argument in support of indifference realism about music, by appeal to music archaeological research, via an analogy (...)
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  5.  55
    Musical Pluralism and the Science of Music.Adrian Currie & Anton Killin - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 6 (1):9-30.
    The scientific investigation of music requires contributions from a diverse array of disciplines. Given the diverse methodologies, interests and research targets of the disciplines involved, we argue that there is a plurality of legitimate research questions about music, necessitating a focus on integration. In light of this we recommend a pluralistic conception of music—that there is no unitary definition divorced from some discipline, research question or context. This has important implications for how the scientific study of music ought to proceed: (...)
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  6.  65
    Fictionalism About Musical Works.Anton Killin - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (2):266-291.
    The debate concerning the ontological status of musical works is perhaps the most animated debate in contemporary analytic philosophy of music. In my view, progress requires a piecemeal approach. So in this article I hone in on one particular musical work concept – that of the classical Western art musical work; that is, the work concept that regulates classical art-musical practice. I defend a fictionalist analysis – a strategy recently suggested by Andrew Kania as potentially fruitful – and I develop (...)
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  7.  94
    The Arts and Human Nature: Evolutionary Aesthetics and the Evolutionary Status of Art Behaviours: Stephen Davies: The Artful Species: Aesthetics, Art, and Evolution. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2012.Anton Killin - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (4):703-718.
    This essay reviews one of the most recent books in a trend of new publications proffering evolutionary theorising about aesthetics and the arts—themes within an increasing literature on aspects of human life and human nature in terms of evolutionary theory. Stephen Davies’ The Artful Species links some of our aesthetic sensibilities with our evolved human nature and critically surveys the interdisciplinary debate regarding the evolutionary status of the arts. Davies’ engaging and accessible writing succeeds in demonstrating the maturity and scope (...)
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  8.  31
    Where Did Language Come From? Connecting Sign, Song, and Speech in Hominin Evolution.Anton Killin - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):759-778.
    Recently theorists have developed competing accounts of the origins and nature of protolanguage and the subsequent evolution of language. Debate over these accounts is lively. Participants ask: Is music a direct precursor of language? Were the first languages gestural? Or is language continuous with primate vocalizations, such as the alarm calls of vervets? In this article I survey the leading hypotheses and lines of evidence, favouring a largely gestural conception of protolanguage. However, the “sticking point” of gestural accounts, to use (...)
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  9.  41
    Not Music, but Musics: A Case for Conceptual Pluralism in Aesthetics.Adrian Currie & Anton Killin - 2017 - Estetika 54 (2):151-174.
    We argue for conceptual pluralism about music. In our view, there is no right answer to the question ‘What is music?’ divorced from some context or interest. Instead, there are several, non-equivalent music concepts suited to different interests – from within some tradition or practice, or by way of some research question or field of inquiry. We argue that unitary definitions of music are problematic, that the role music concepts play in various research questions should motivate conceptual pluralism about music, (...)
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  10.  36
    Musicality and the Evolution of Mind, Mimesis, and Entrainment: Gary Tomlinson: A Million Years of Music: The Emergence of Human Modernity. Zone, New York, 2015.Anton Killin - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (3):421-434.
    In A Million Years of Music, Gary Tomlinson develops an extensive evolutionary narrative that emphasises several important components of human musicality and proposes a theory of the coalescence of these components. In this essay I tie some of Tomlinson’s ideas to five constraints on theories of music’s evolution. This provides the framework for organising my reconstruction of his model. Thereafter I focus on Tomlinson’s description of ‘entraining’ Acheulean toolmakers and offer several criticisms. I close with some tentative proposals for further (...)
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  11.  30
    Rethinking Music's Status as Adaptation Versus Technology: A Niche Construction Perspective.Anton Killin - 2016 - Ethnomusicology Forum 25 (2):210-233.
    In this article I critique F. R. S. Lawson's evolutionary theorising about music that appeared in a recent issue of Ethnomusicology Forum. Moreover, I argue that asking whether music is an adaptation or technology, as Lawson does, artificially splits the interwoven, dynamic co-evolutionary forces at work. In my view, in cases of complex, dynamic co-evolution, the distinction between the ‘biological’ and the ‘cultural’ is undermined. I suggest that human musicality is one such example, calling into question the adaptation/technology distinction that (...)
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  12.  29
    Analyzing Antiqueness: A Response to Curtis and Baines.Anton Killin - 2017 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 75 (2):195-197.
    Aestheticians should be excited by the prospects of a philosophy of antiques. It is to their merit that Curtis and Baines (2016) ignite philosophical discussion about this aesthetically and historically important category, so far overlooked by philosophers. And I agree with much they have to say on the topic. For one, I think the Adjectival Thesis they proffer is sound. That is, the term ‘antique’ does not denote a kind of object (it is not a kind sortal); rather, it modifies (...)
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  13.  15
    How WEIRD is Cognitive Archaeology? Engaging with the Challenge of Cultural Variation and Sample Diversity.Anton Killin & Ross Pain - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-25.
    In their landmark 2010 paper, “The weirdest people in the world?”, Henrich, Heine, and Norenzayan outlined a serious methodological problem for the psychological and behavioural sciences. Most of the studies produced in the field use people from Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich and Democratic societies, yet inferences are often drawn to the species as a whole. In drawing such inferences, researchers implicitly assume that either there is little variation across human populations, or that WEIRD populations are generally representative of the species. (...)
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  14.  27
    Reflections on Imitation, Vocal Mimicry, and Entrainment.Anton Killin - 2016 - Aisthesis: Pratiche, Linguaggi E Saperi Dell’Estetico 9 (2):81-87.
    It is my contention that understanding natural phenomena such as vocal mimicry can bolster theories of the evolution of language and music as well as inform evolutionary and naturalistic aesthetics more generally. In this commentary I present this phenomena as a case study in order to stimulate further aesthetic theorising.
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  15.  25
    Works, Authors, Co‐Authorship, and Power: A Response to Hick.Anton Killin - 2015 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 73 (3):334-337.
    Darren Hudson Hick has recently presented a fascinating puzzle case for theories of co-authorship: Micro. However, contrary to his goal, Hick fails to establish Michael Crichton as a co-author of Micro. Here, I explain why. Consequently, Micro is not a counterexample to the theories of co-authorship.
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  16.  23
    Introduction: Archaeology and Philosophy.Anton Killin & Sean Allen-Hermanson - 2021 - Topoi 40 (1):203-205.
    This paper introduces a Special Issue of Topoi entitled "Archaeology and philosophy".
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  17.  23
    Defending Scientific Naturalism in Philosophy of Art.Anton Killin - 2020 - Metascience 29 (2):289-292.
    This essay reviews Richard A. Richards: The biology of art. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019, 71pp, ₤15.00 PB.
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  18.  50
    How Biology Shapes Philosophy: New Foundations for Naturalism. [REVIEW]Anton Killin - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (272):635-638.
    How Biology Shapes Philosophy: New Foundations for Naturalism. Edited By Smith David Livingstone.
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  19.  24
    The Polysemy Theory of Sound.Anton Killin - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (2):435-458.
    Theorists have recently defended rival analyses of sound. The leading analyses reduce sound to sensations or mental representations, longitudinal compression waves, or sounding objects or events. Participants in the debate presuppose that because the features of the world targeted by these reductive strategies are distinct, at most one of the analyses is correct. In this article I argue that this presupposition is mistaken, endorsing a polysemy analysis of ‘sound’. Thus the ‘What is sound?’ debate is largely merely verbal, or so (...)
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  20.  28
    Thought in Action: Expertise and the Conscious Mind. [REVIEW]Anton Killin - 2019 - British Journal of Aesthetics 59 (1):95-98.
    Thought in Action: Expertise and the Conscious MindMonteroBarbara Gailoup. 2016. pp. 304. £35.00.
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  21.  3
    Not by Signalling Alone: Music's Mosaicism Undermines the Search for a Proper Function.Anton Killin, Carl Brusse, Adrian Currie & Ronald J. Planer - 2021 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 44.
    Mehr et al. seek to explain music's evolution in terms of a unitary proper function – signalling cooperative intent – which they cash out in two guises, coalition signalling and parental attention signalling. Although we recognize the role signalling almost certainly played in the evolution of music, we reject “ultimate” causal explanations which focus on a unidirectional, narrow range of causal factors.
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  22. Book Review of 'Institutions, Emotions, and Group Agents: Contributions to Social Ontology'. [REVIEW]Anton Killin - 2015 - Studies in Social and Political Thought 25:265-270.
    Book review of Institutions, Emotions, and Group Agents: Contributions to Social Ontology, edited by Anita Konzelmann Ziv & Hans Bernhard Schmid. Springer, 2013.
     
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  23. Culture, Genes, Selection, and Learning: A Response to Nichols, Mackey & Moll.Anton Killin & Ross Pain - 2022 - Philosophical Psychology 35 (2):297-300.
  24. Explorations in Archaeology and Philosophy.Anton Killin & Sean Allen-Hermanson (eds.) - 2021 - Springer Verlag.
    This volume explores various themes at the intersection of archaeology and philosophy: inference and theory; interdisciplinary connections; cognition, language and normativity; and ethical issues. Showcasing this heterogeneity, its scope ranges from the method of analogical inference to the evolution of the human mind; from conceptual issues in assessing the health of past populations to the ethics of cultural heritage tourism. It probes the archaeological record for evidence of numeracy, curiosity and creativity, and social complexity. Its contributors comprise an interdisciplinary cluster (...)
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  25. Music Archaeology, Signaling Theory, Social Differentiation.Anton Killin - 2021 - In Sean Allen-Hermanson Anton Killin (ed.), Explorations in Archaeology and Philosophy. Synthese Library. Springer Verlag. pp. 85-100.
    Musical flutes constructed from bird bone and mammoth ivory begin to appear in the archaeological record from around 40,000 years ago. Due to the different physical demands of acquiring and working with these source materials in order to produce a flute, researchers have speculated about the significance—aesthetic or otherwise—of the use of mammoth ivory as a raw material for flutes. I argue that biological signaling theory provides a theoretical basis for the proposition that mammoth ivory flute production is a signal (...)
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  26. The Polysemy Theory of Sound.Anton Killin - 2020 - Annalen der Philosophie 87 (2):435-458.
    Theorists have recently defended rival analyses of sound. The leading analyses reduce sound to sensations or mental representations, longitudinal compression waves, or sounding objects or events. Participants in the debate presuppose that because the features of the world targeted by these reductive strategies are distinct, at most one of the analyses is correct. In this article I argue that this presupposition is mistaken, endorsing a polysemy analysis of ‘sound’. Thus the ‘What is sound?’ debate is largely merely verbal, or so (...)
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  27. The Twain Shall Meet: Themes at the Intersection of Archaeology and Philosophy.Anton Killin & Sean Allen-Hermanson - 2021 - In Sean Allen-Hermanson Anton Killin (ed.), Explorations in Archaeology and Philosophy. Synthese Library. Springer Verlag. pp. 1-4.
    Explorations in Archaeology and Philosophy grew out of an interdisciplinary conference on the Upper Palaeolithic, “Digging Deeper: Archaeological and Philosophical Perspectives”, held on Miami Beach, Florida, in December 2017. The previous decade had seen increasing numbers of publications on topics of interest to both philosophers and archaeologists, so the time was ripe for a conference which served to generate constructive dialogue between researchers from both disciplines. Themes discussed included art, music, the mind, symbols, mortuary practices, and archaeological methodology. This volume (...)
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  28.  26
    Musicality in Human Evolution, Archaeology and Ethnography: Iain Morley: The Prehistory of Music: Human Evolution, Archaeology, and the Origins of Musicality. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013.Anton Killin - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (4):597-609.
    This essay reviews Iain Morley’s The Prehistory of Music, an up-to-date and authoritative overview of recent research on evolution and cognition of musicality from an interdisciplinary viewpoint. Given the diversity of the project explored, integration of evidence from multiple fields is particularly pressing, required for any novel evolutionary account to be persuasive, and for the project’s continued progress. Moreover, Morley convincingly demonstrates that there is much more to understanding musicality than is supposed by some theorists. I outline Morley’s review of (...)
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