The Symbolic Species The Co evolution of Language and the Brain

Author: Terrence W. Deacon
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393343022
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
"A work of enormous breadth, likely to pleasantly surprise both general readers and experts."—New York Times Book Review This revolutionary book provides fresh answers to long-standing questions of human origins and consciousness. Drawing on his breakthrough research in comparative neuroscience, Terrence Deacon offers a wealth of insights into the significance of symbolic thinking: from the co-evolutionary exchange between language and brains over two million years of hominid evolution to the ethical repercussions that followed man's newfound access to other people's thoughts and emotions. Informing these insights is a new understanding of how Darwinian processes underlie the brain's development and function as well as its evolution. In contrast to much contemporary neuroscience that treats the brain as no more or less than a computer, Deacon provides a new clarity of vision into the mechanism of mind. It injects a renewed sense of adventure into the experience of being human.

The Symbolic Species Evolved

Author: Theresa Schilhab
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9400723369
Format: PDF, Docs
Download Now
This anthology is a compilation of the best contributions from Symbolic Species Conferences I, II (which took place in 2006, 2007). In 1997 the American anthropologist Terrence Deacon published The Symbolic Species: The Coevolution of Language and the Brain. The book is widely considered a seminal work in the subject of evolutionary cognition. However, Deacons book was the first step – further steps have had to be taken. The proposed anthology is such an important associate. The contributions are written by a wide variety of scholars each with a unique view on evolutionary cognition and the questions raised by Terrence Deacon - emergence in evolution, the origin of language, the semiotic 'missing link', Peirce's semiotics in evolution and biology, biosemiotics, evolutionary cognition, Baldwinian evolution, the neuroscience of linguistic capacities as well as phylogeny of the homo species, primatology, embodied cognition and knowledge types.

Incomplete Nature How Mind Emerged from Matter

Author: Terrence W. Deacon
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393049914
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
Examines the emergent processes that bridge the gap between organisms that think and have consciousness and those that do not and discusses the origins of life, information, and free will.

Human Language and Our Reptilian Brain

Author: Philip Lieberman
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674040229
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
Download Now
This book is an entry into the fierce current debate among psycholinguists, neuroscientists, and evolutionary theorists about the nature and origins of human language. A prominent neuroscientist here takes up the Darwinian case, using data seldom considered by psycholinguists and neurolinguists to argue that human language--though more sophisticated than all other forms of animal communication--is not a qualitatively different ability from all forms of animal communication, does not require a quantum evolutionary leap to explain it, and is not unified in a single "language instinct." Using clinical evidence from speech-impaired patients, functional neuroimaging, and evolutionary biology to make his case, Philip Lieberman contends that human language is not a single separate module but a functional neurological system made up of many separate abilities. Language remains as it began, Lieberman argues: a device for coping with the world. But in a blow to human narcissism, he makes the case that this most remarkable human ability is a by-product of our remote reptilian ancestors' abilities to dodge hazards, seize opportunities, and live to see another day.

Language and Species

Author: Derek Bickerton
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226046112
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
Language and Species presents the most detailed and well-documented scenario to date of the origins of language. Drawing on "living linguistic fossils" such as "ape talk," the "two-word" stage of small children, and pidgin languages, and on recent discoveries in paleoanthropology, Bickerton shows how a primitive "protolanguage" could have offered Homo erectus a novel ecological niche. He goes on to demonstrate how this protolanguage could have developed into the languages we speak today. "You are drawn into [Bickerton's] appreciation of the dominant role language plays not only in what we say, but in what we think and, therefore, what we are."—Robert Wright, New York Times Book Review "The evolution of language is a fascinating topic, and Bickerton's Language and Species is the best introduction we have."—John C. Marshall, Nature

Principles of Brain Evolution

Author: Georg F. Striedter
Publisher: Sinauer Associates Incorporated
ISBN: 9780878938209
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
Aimed at advanced undergraduate and graduate students, this textbook describes some of the basic principles affecting brain evolution. The author refers to data from a wide array of vertebrates while minimizing technical jargon. Particular attention has been paid to the ways in which changes in brain structure impact function and behavior. The volume concludes with a discussion on how mammal brains diverged from other brains and how Homo sapiens evolved a very large and special brain.

Language and Social Relations

Author: Asif Agha
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521576857
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
Download Now
Provides a way of accounting for the relationship between language and a variety of social phenomena.

Neither Ghost nor Machine

Author: Jeremy Sherman
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231545991
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
If the universe is aimless, how do selves and aims emerge? Why do living beings have aims when inanimate things do not? Current science encourages us to reject the ghost-in-the-machine explanation—that something called spirit, soul, mind, or will was somehow breathed into matter—and instead accept that selves are just matter, in aimless mechanistic motion like everything else. But what about life’s many emergent qualities, the multifarious purposes that shape actual physical behavior not just in human lives, but in all of life? Even the simplest life forms have adaptive functions, traits that accomplish goals or ends. How can we explain the nature and origin of selves and aims without resorting to supernatural forces or explaining them away as nothing but cause-and-effect mechanisms? In Neither Ghost nor Machine, Jeremy Sherman explains the emergence of selves and aims in an aimless universe. He distills for a general audience the theory developed by renowned neuroscientist Terrence Deacon, which extends the breakthrough constraint-based insight that inspired evolutionary, information, and self-organization theory. Emergent dynamics theory provides a testable hypothesis for how mattering arose from matter, function from physics, and means-to-ends behavior from cause-and-effect dynamics. It offers a physics of purpose, demonstrating that there is a strictly physical explanation for the emergence and nature of selves and aims, one that shows our existence in an otherwise inanimate universe is not absurd. Neither Ghost nor Machine bridges the gap between the hard and soft sciences, suggesting fresh and exciting solutions to philosophical mysteries that have perplexed humanity for millennia, from free will to causality to morality.

Numbers Language and the Human Mind

Author: Heike Wiese
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781139438971
Format: PDF, Kindle
Download Now
What constitutes our number concept? What makes it possible for us to employ numbers the way we do; which mental faculties contribute to our grasp of numbers? What do we share with other species, and what is specific to humans? How does our language faculty come into the picture? This 2003 book addresses these questions and discusses the relationship between numerical thinking and the human language faculty, providing psychological, linguistic and philosophical perspectives on number, its evolution and its development in children. Heike Wiese argues that language as a human faculty plays a crucial role in the emergence of systematic numerical thinking. She characterises number sequences as powerful and highly flexible mental tools that are unique to humans and shows that it is language that enables us to go beyond the perception of numerosity and to develop such mental tools.

The Recursive Mind

Author: Michael C. Corballis
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400851491
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
The Recursive Mind challenges the commonly held notion that language is what makes us uniquely human. In this compelling book, Michael Corballis argues that what distinguishes us in the animal kingdom is our capacity for recursion: the ability to embed our thoughts within other thoughts. "I think, therefore I am," is an example of recursive thought, because the thinker has inserted himself into his thought. Recursion enables us to conceive of our own minds and the minds of others. It also gives us the power of mental "time travel"--the ability to insert past experiences, or imagined future ones, into present consciousness. Drawing on neuroscience, psychology, animal behavior, anthropology, and archaeology, Corballis demonstrates how these recursive structures led to the emergence of language and speech, which ultimately enabled us to share our thoughts, plan with others, and reshape our environment to better reflect our creative imaginations. He shows how the recursive mind was critical to survival in the harsh conditions of the Pleistocene epoch, and how it evolved to foster social cohesion. He traces how language itself adapted to recursive thinking, first through manual gestures, then later, with the emergence of Homo sapiens, vocally. Toolmaking and manufacture arose, and the application of recursive principles to these activities in turn led to the complexities of human civilization, the extinction of fellow large-brained hominins like the Neandertals, and our species' supremacy over the physical world. Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.