Descartes boldly claimed: "I think, therefore I am." But one
might well ask: Why do we think? How? When and why did our human
ancestors develop language and culture? In other words, what makes
the human mind human?
Evolution of Mind, Brain, and Culture offers a
comprehensive and scientific investigation of these perennial
questions. Fourteen essays bring together the work of
archaeologists, cultural and physical anthropologists,
psychologists, philosophers, geneticists, a neuroscientist, and an
environmental scientist to explore the evolution of the human mind,
the brain, and the human capacity for culture. The volume
represents and critically engages major theoretical approaches,
including Donald's stage theory, Mithen's cathedral model,
Tomasello's joint intentionality, and Boyd and Richerson's modeling
of the evolution of culture in relation to climate change.
No recent publication combines this breadth of evidential and
theoretical perspective. The essays range in topic from the
macroscopic (the evolution of social cooperation) to the
microscopic (examining genetic data to infer evolutions in brain
structure and function), and from the ancient (paleoanthropological
reconstructions of hominin cognitive abilities) to the modern
(including modern hominin's similarities to our primate cousins).
Considered together, these essays constitute a fascinating,
detailed look at what makes us human.
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