Landscape of the Mind

Author: John F. Hoffecker
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 023151848X
Format: PDF, ePub
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In Landscape of the Mind, John F. Hoffecker explores the origin and growth of the human mind, drawing on archaeology, history, and the fossil record. He suggests that, as an indirect result of bipedal locomotion, early humans developed a feedback relationship among their hands, brains, and tools that evolved into the capacity to externalize thoughts in the form of shaped stone objects. When anatomically modern humans evolved a parallel capacity to externalize thoughts as symbolic language, individual brains within social groups became integrated into a "neocortical Internet," or super-brain, giving birth to the mind. Noting that archaeological traces of symbolism coincide with evidence of the ability to generate novel technology, Hoffecker contends that human creativity, as well as higher order consciousness, is a product of the superbrain. He equates the subsequent growth of the mind with human history, which began in Africa more than 50,000 years ago. As anatomically modern humans spread across the globe, adapting to a variety of climates and habitats, they redesigned themselves technologically and created alternative realities through tools, language, and art. Hoffecker connects the rise of civilization to a hierarchical reorganization of the super-brain, triggered by explosive population growth. Subsequent human history reflects to varying degrees the suppression of the mind's creative powers by the rigid hierarchies of nationstates and empires, constraining the further accumulation of knowledge. The modern world emerged after 1200 from the fragments of the Roman Empire, whose collapse had eliminated a central authority that could thwart innovation. Hoffecker concludes with speculation about the possibility of artificial intelligence and the consequences of a mind liberated from its organic antecedents to exist in an independent, nonbiological form.

How Things Shape the Mind

Author: Lambros Malafouris
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262019191
Format: PDF, Kindle
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An account of the different ways in which things have become cognitive extensions of the human body, from prehistory to the present.

Settlement Society and Cognition in Human Evolution

Author: Fiona Coward
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 131621396X
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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This volume provides a landscape narrative of early hominin evolution, linking conventional material and geographic aspects of the early archaeological record with wider and more elusive social, cognitive and symbolic landscapes. It seeks to move beyond a limiting notion of early hominin culture and behaviour as dictated solely by the environment to present the early hominin world as the outcome of a dynamic dialogue between the physical environment and its perception and habitation by active agents. This international group of contributors presents theoretically informed yet empirically based perspectives on hominin and human landscapes.

Modern Humans

Author: John F. Hoffecker
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231543743
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Modern Humans is a vivid account of the most recent—and perhaps the most important—phase of human evolution: the appearance of anatomically modern people (Homo sapiens) in Africa less than half a million years ago and their later spread throughout the world. Leaving no stone unturned, John F. Hoffecker demonstrates that Homo sapiens represents a “major transition” in the evolution of living systems in terms of fundamental changes in the role of non-genetic information. Modern Humans synthesizes recent findings from genetics (including the rapidly growing body of ancient DNA), the human fossil record, and archaeology relating to the African origin and global dispersal of anatomically modern people. Hoffecker places humans in the broad context of the evolution of life, emphasizing the critical role of genetic and non-genetic forms of information in living systems as well as how changes in the storage, transmission, and translation of information underlie major transitions in evolution. He also draws on information and complexity theory to explain the emergence of Homo sapiens in Africa several hundred thousand years ago and the rapid and unprecedented spread of our species into a variety of environments in Australia and Eurasia, including the Arctic and Beringia, beginning between 75,000 and 60,000 years ago. This magisterial work will appeal to all with an interest in the ever-fascinating field of human evolution.

Seeking Perfection

Author: Matt J. Rossano
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1351491644
Format: PDF, ePub
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"How would Socrates and Plato react to a modern world where secularism and religious fundamentalism are growing while the gap between the human mind and animal mind is narrowing? Using some creative license mixed with real history, science, and philosophy, Seeking Perfection addresses that question. Matt J. Rossano uses a narrative/dialogue format to superimpose on modern times ancient Greece's two most eminent philosophers, along with its government and culture.The story begins with Plato's daring escape from Sicily, where he tutored Dionysius II in philosophy. On board his homebound ship, Plato recounts his experiences in Sicily. In this narrative, the intellectual difference between practical rewards and the pursuit of ideals provides the basis for a series of dialogue on science, secularism, religion, and the uniqueness of the human mind.Upon the ship's arrival home, Plato's mentor, Socrates, is arrested and his trial provides the venue for the book's final dialogue. The final dialogue serves as a counterweight to the earlier ones. Rossano begins and ends with a philosopher imprisoned by his views, indicative of one of its main messages: the true philosopher uses a well-disciplined mind and the best knowledge of the day to get as close to the truth as possible. In doing so, he invariably gets into trouble. This imaginatively constructed tale will absorb those interested in what the philosophical masters might say about today's world."

Prehistory

Author: Colin Renfrew
Publisher: Modern Library
ISBN: 1588368084
Format: PDF, Kindle
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In Prehistory, the award-winning archaeologist and renowned scholar Colin Renfrew covers human existence before the advent of written records–which is to say, the overwhelming majority of our time here on earth. But Renfrew also opens up to discussion, and even debate, the term “prehistory” itself, giving an incisive, concise, and lively survey of the past, and how scholars and scientists labor to bring it to light. Renfrew begins by looking at prehistory as a discipline, particularly how developments of the past century and a half–advances in archaeology and geology; Darwin’s ideas of evolution; discoveries of artifacts and fossil evidence of our human ancestors; and even more enlightened museum and collection curatorship–have fueled continuous growth in our knowledge of prehistory. He details how breakthroughs such as radiocarbon dating and DNA analysis have helped us to define humankind’s past–how things have changed–much more clearly than was possible just a half century ago. Answers for why things have changed, however, continue to elude us, so Renfrew discusses some of the issues and challenges past and present that confront the study of prehistory and its investigators. In the book’s second part, Renfrew shifts the narrative focus, offering a summary of human prehistory from early hominids to the rise of literate civilization that is refreshingly free from conventional wisdom and grand “unified” theories. The author’s own case studies encompass a vast geographical and chronological range–the Orkney Islands, the Balkans, the Indus Valley, Peru, Ireland, and China–and help to explain the formation and development of agriculture and centralized societies. He concludes with a fascinating chapter on early writing systems, “From Prehistory to History.” In this invaluable, brief account of human development prior to the last four millennia, Colin Renfrew delivers a meticulously researched and passionately argued chronicle about our life on earth, and our ongoing quest to understand it. From the Hardcover edition.

Sapiens

Author: Yuval Noah Harari
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0062316109
Format: PDF, Docs
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New York Times Bestseller A Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.” One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas. Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become? Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.

Mortal Rituals

Author: Matt J. Rossano
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231535465
Format: PDF, Docs
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On December 21, 1972, sixteen young survivors of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 were rescued after spending ten weeks stranded at the crash site of their plane, high in the remote Andes Mountains. The incident made international headlines and spawned several best-selling books, fueled partly by the fact that the young men had resorted to cannibalism to survive. Matt Rossano examines this story from an evolutionary perspective, weaving together findings and ideas from anthropology, psychology, religion, and cognitive science. During their ordeal, these young men broke "civilized" taboos to fend off starvation and abandoned "civilized" modes of thinking to maintain social unity and individual sanity. Through the power of ritual, the survivors were able to endure severe emotional and physical hardship. Rossano ties their story to our story, seeing in the mortal rituals of this struggle for survival a reflection of what it means to be human.

Thinking Big How the Evolution of Social Life Shaped the Human Mind

Author: Robin Dunbar
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
ISBN: 0500772142
Format: PDF
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A closer look at genealogy, incorporating how biological, anthropological, and technical factors can influence human lives We are at a pivotal moment in understanding our remote ancestry and its implications for how we live today. The barriers to what we can know about our distant relatives have been falling as a result of scientific advance, such as decoding the genomes of humans and Neanderthals, and bringing together different perspectives to answer common questions. These collaborations have brought new knowledge and suggested fresh concepts to examine. The results have shaken the old certainties. The results are profound; not just for the study of the past but for appreciating why we conduct our social lives in ways, and at scales, that are familiar to all of us. But such basic familiarity raises a dilemma. When surrounded by the myriad technical and cultural innovations that support our global, urbanized lifestyles we can lose sight of the small social worlds we actually inhabit and that can be traced deep into our ancestry. So why do we need art, religion, music, kinship, myths, and all the other facets of our over-active imaginations if the reality of our effective social worlds is set by a limit of some one hundred and fifty partners (Dunbar’s number) made of family, friends, and useful acquaintances? How could such a social community lead to a city the size of London or a country as large as China? Do we really carry our hominin past into our human present? It is these small worlds, and the link they allow to the study of the past that forms the central point in this book.

The Oxford Handbook of Spontaneous Thought

Author: Kieran C. R. Fox
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190464747
Format: PDF, Mobi
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"All physicians are involved in the management of pain at some level or the other, but of the various specialties and health professions, surgeons are at the frontline of delivering perioperative pain care. Perioperative Pain Management for General and Plastic Surgery offers a concise yet comprehensive overview of the surgical pain management field to help practitioners effectively plan and enhance perioperative pain control. Chapters provide guidance on solving common dilemmas facing surgeons who are managing patients with pain related problems and clinical decision-making, and explore essential topics required for the trainee and practitioner to quickly assess the patient with pain, to diagnose pain and painful conditions, determine the feasibility and safety of surgical procedure needed, and arrange for advanced pain management consults and care if needed. This text also explores the latest evolving techniques and appropriate utilization of modern equipment and technology to safely provide care. Highly accessible and written by experts in the field, Perioperative Pain Management for General and Plastic Surgery is an ideal resource for practicing surgeons, anesthesiologists, critical care personnel, residents, medical students"--Provided by publisher.