How did human vocalizations come to acquire meaning in the evolution of our species? Charles Darwin proposed that language and music originated from a common emotional signal system based on the imitation and modification of sounds in nature. This protolanguage is thought to have diverged into two separate systems, with speech prioritizing referential functionality and music prioritizing emotional functionality. However, there has never been an attempt to empirically evaluate the hypothesis that a single communication system can split into two functionally (...) distinct systems that are characterized by music- and languagelike properties. Here, we demonstrate that when referential and emotional functions are introduced into an artificial communication system, that system will diverge into vocalization forms with speech- and music-like properties, respectively. Participants heard novel vocalizations as part of a learning task. Half referred to physical entities and half functioned to communicate emotional states. Participants then reproduced each sound with the defined communicative intention in mind. Each recorded vocalization was used as the input for another participant in a serial reproduction paradigm, and this procedure was iterated to create 15 chains of five participants each. Referential vocalizations were rated as more speech-like, whereas emotional vocalizations were rated as more music-like, and this association was observed cross-culturally. In addition, a stable separation of the acoustic profiles of referential and emotional vocalizations emerged, with some attributes diverging immediately and others diverging gradually across iterations. The findings align with Darwin’s hypothesis and provide insight into the roles of biological and cultural evolution in the divergence of language and music. (shrink)
Drawing from ethnographic, empirical, and historical / cultural perspectives, we examine the extent to which visual aspects of music contribute to the communication that takes place between performers and their listeners. First, we introduce a framework for understanding how media and genres shape aural and visual experiences of music. Second, we present case studies of two performances, and describe the relation between visual and aural aspects of performance. Third, we report empirical evidence that visual aspects of performance reliably inﬂuence perceptions (...) of musical structure and affective interpretations of music. Finally, we trace new and old media trajectories of aural and visual dimensions of music, and highlight how our conceptions, perceptions and appreciation of music are intertwined with technological innovation and media deployment strategies. (shrink)
The ability to predict the actions of other agents is vital for joint action tasks. Recent theory suggests that action prediction relies on an emulator system that permits observers to use information about their own motor dynamics to predict the actions of other agents. If this is the case, then predictions for self-generated actions should be more accurate than predictions for other-generated actions. We tested this hypothesis by employing a self/other synchronization paradigm where prediction accuracy for recording of self-generated movements (...) was compared with prediction accuracy for other-generated movements. As expected, predictions were more accurate when the observer’s movement dynamics matched the movement dynamics of the recording. This is consistent with that idea that the observer’s movement dynamics influence the predictions they generate. (shrink)
Recent theory suggests that action prediction relies of a motor emulation mechanism that works by mapping observed actions onto the observer action system so that predictions can be generated using that same predictive mechanisms that underlie action control. This suggests that action prediction may be more accurate when there is a more direct mapping between the stimulus and the observer. We tested this hypothesis by comparing prediction accuracy for two stimulus types. A mannequin stimulus which contained information about the effectors (...) used to produce the action and a point stimulus, which contained identical dynamic information but no effector information. Prediction was more accurate for the mannequin stimulus. However, this effect was dependent on the observer having previous experience performing the observed action. This suggests that experienced and na¨ıve observers might generate predictions in qualitatively difference ways, which may relate to the presence of an internal representation of the action laid down through action performance. (shrink)
This commentary focuses on four major points: (1) “Tacit knowledge” is not a complete explanation for imagery phenomena, if it is an explanation at all. (2) Similarities and dissimilarities between imagery and perception are entirely consistent with the depictive view. (3) Knowledge about the brain is crucial for settling the debate. (4) It is not clear what sort of theory Pylyshyn advocates.
In his best-selling The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light , William Irwin Thompson intrigued readers with his thoughts on mythology and sexuality. In his newest book, Coming Into Being: Artifacts and Texts in the Evolution of Consciousness , he takes the reader on a journey through the evolution of consciousness from the preverbal communications of early stone carvings, to the writings of Marcel Proust, around the monumental wrappings of Christo and up to the rebirth of interest in the Taoist (...) philosophy of Lao Tzu. Owing as much to the rhythmic constructions of jazz as to established methods of scholarship, Thompson plays a riff on biology and culture seeing the birth of the mind in Proust’s Madeleine, the displacement of humanity in Christo’s wrapping of the Reichstag and, in Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching , the path forward to a new planetary culture. In Coming Into Being , William Irwin Thompson presents a fascinating vision of our past, our present, and our future that no one will want to miss. (shrink)
Art appreciation often involves contemplation beyond immediate perceptual experience. However, there are challenges to incorporating such processes into a comprehensive theory of art appreciation. Can appreciation be captured in the responses to individual artworks? Can all forms of contemplation be defined? What properties of artworks trigger contemplation? We argue that such questions are fundamental to a psycho-historical framework for the science of art appreciation, and we suggest research that may assist in refining this framework.
[opening paragraph]: The city is not simply a location in space, but also a vehicle in time that can itself accelerate the evolution of consciousness. Like molecules packed into the membrane of a cell, the minds that are packed into a city take on a new life that is energized by the city's intensification of space and time. The first cities of ancient Sumer were ceremonial centres organized around the sacred precinct of the temple. Sumerian mythology stated that these cities (...) were founded and lived in by the gods. One of the earliest texts we have in Sumerian mythology is the story of how the goddess Inannna transferred the arts of civilization from the god Enki's favoured city of Eridu to her own beloved Erech. The text is a fundamental expression of the ancient Arithmetic Mentality, as it displays the numinosity of the list and delights in repeating, in strophe after strophe, the enumeration of these me's that were loaded on and unloaded from Inanna's riverine barge. (shrink)
It is a paradox of the work of Artificial Intelligence that in order to grant consciousness to machines, the engineers first labour to subtract it from humans, as they work to foist upon philosophers a caricature of consciousness in the digital switches of weights and gates in neural nets. As the caricature goes into public circulation with the help of the media, it becomes an acceptable counterfeit currency, and the humanistic philosopher of mind soon finds himself replaced by the robotics (...) scientist. This atmospheric inversion from above to below, one in which a sky turns into the smog of a thickened air, happened once before in the world of knowledge, when Comtian positivism inspired a functionalist approach to the study of the sacred. The social scientists first said that in order to study the sacred, one had to study how it functioned in society; then having contributed to the growth of their own academic domain, they more confidently claimed that what humans worshipped with the sacred was, in fact, their own society. There simply was no such thing as God or the sacred, and so Schools of Divinity began to be eclipsed by the elevation of the new towers of the office buildings of the Social Sciences. Indeed, as I turn now away from my computer screen, I can see outside my window the William James Building of Social Relations competing for dominance of the skyline with the Victorian brick Gothic of Harvard's Memorial Hall. This clever move to eliminate the phenomenological reality of human consciousness as a prelude to the growth of a new robotics industry is a very successful scam, for it has helped enormously with the task of fund-raising for costly moon shots, such as the Japanese government's 'Fifth Generation Computer Project' which promised to create an autonomously thinking machine in the 1980s. No one seems to talk much anymore about the failure of this project, but the gurus of A.I. continue to prophesy - as Ray Kurzweil now does - that by 2030, humans will be surpassed by machines in cultural evolution. (shrink)
The Politics of the Soul: Eric Voegelin on Religious Experience includes eight essays examining one of the most profound studies of religious experience to appear in the last century: that of the political philosopher Eric Voegelin. Voegelin is increasingly recognized as a political theorist of exceptional scope and erudition and the most important philosopher of his time since Toynbee, and his treatment of religious experience is a crucial part of his overall analysis of existence and history. This collection of essays (...) by prominenet Voegelin scholars is the first book to explore the relevance of that analysis to the contemporary understanding of political theory, theology, history, and philosophy of consciousness, and as such it constitutes a significant contribution not only to Voegelin scholarship but to the current quest for theoretical foundations. (shrink)
Previous studies on economic convergence have been handicapped by the lack of sufficient serial data. Real GDP per capita are now available for 56 states. With some interpolation, we create series from 1870 to 1992 for Northern (developed countries) and Southern (lesser developed countries) aggregates. The data are explored by extending the leadership-long cycle perspective to deal with convergence. We find that NorthSouth gap. We believe that convergence is unlikely any time soon without radical restructuring of global economic growth prospects.
A mathematical model based upon catastrophe theory is derived to describe the kinematics of the wing beat in Dipteran flight. The parameters of the model correspond to anatomical and physiological characteristics of the insect.
This book does not contain philosophical arguments, but is rich in material for philosophical reflection. In this small volume Professor Fuller traces the evolution of an idea deriving from the Viennese physician, Franz Anton Mesmer, through nineteenth-century American popular culture. What began with Mesmer as a thoroughly materialistic and antitheological theory of medical healing ended the century in America as a dualistic theory with the New Thought movement emphasizing the spiritual powers of the mind to control matter. How this came (...) about gives us yet another illustration of the capacity of a culture to absorb a new idea, transform it, and use it in the interest of a dominant ideology. (shrink)
A series of essays on the evolution of culture, dealing with topics including the city and consciousness, evolution of the afterlife, literary and mathematical archetypes, machine consciousness and the implications of 9/11, and the invasion of Iraq. The enlarged new edition contains extra essays and brings the author's comments on current affairs up to date with coverage of the election of Barak Obama as US President.
We propose that the six mechanisms identified by Juslin & Vll (J&V) fall into two categories: signal detection and amplification. Signal detection mechanisms are unmediated and induce emotion by directly detecting emotive signals in music. Amplifiers act in conjunction with signal detection mechanisms. We also draw attention to theoretical and empirical challenges associated with the proposed mechanisms.
By closely examining the sources, movements, and persons of the Renaissance and the Reformation, Voegelin reveals the roots of today's political ideologies in this fourth volume of his _History of Political Ideas._ This insightful study lays the groundwork for Voegelin's critique of the modern period and is essential to an understanding of his later analysis. Voegelin identifies not one but two distinct beginnings of the movement toward modern political consciousness: the Renaissance and the Reformation. Historically, however, the powerful effects of (...) the second have overshadowed the first. In this book, Voegelin carefully examines both periods and their presence in modern thought. The Renaissance, represented by the works of Niccolò Machiavelli, Desiderius Erasmus, and Thomas More, is characterized by a struggle for balance. Machiavelli and Erasmus both looked to a virtuous prince to achieve order, one calling for brute force and the other for Christian spirituality to reach their goal. Also a participant in the first beginning of modernity, More was a complex thinker identified as a saint both of the church and of the communist movement. The issues he explored in _Utopia,_ as Voegelin demonstrates, indirectly gave rise to concepts that have profoundly affected Western history: colonization, imperialism, national socialism, and communism. Exploring the transition from the Renaissance to the Reformation is a brilliant chapter, "The People of God," which examines the sectarian movement. These pages contain the rich historical background that led to Voegelin's later conclusions about Gnosticism and its modern influences. Voegelin offers a controversial view of the Reformation as well as the political and religious situation directly preceding it. Yet he sheds light on the strengths and inadequacies of its key figures, Martin Luther and John Calvin. The driving force behind the Reformation stemmed solely from the powerful personality of Luther. What began as an abstract, purely technical discussion developed into a full-blown revolt. Later in the period, Calvin confronted the problems left behind by Luther and endeavored to create his own universal church to supplant the Catholic Church. His theory of a new elite would have a distinct impact on history. By examining the political ideas that first emerged during the Renaissance and Reformation, this fascinating volume provides a foundation for understanding the events of centuries to follow. (shrink)
Evidence from language acquisition suggests that words are powerful mechanisms in the acquisition of substance concepts. Infants initially approach language with the general expectation that words refer to real kinds, regardless of grammatical cues to the contrary.