Brief History of the Mind: From Apes to Intellect and Beyond

Brief History of the Mind: From Apes to Intellect and Beyond

by William H. Calvin
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195182480

ISBN-13: 9780195182484

Pub. Date: 10/01/2005

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

This book looks back at the simpler versions of mental life in apes, Neanderthals, and our ancestors, back before our burst of creativity started 50,000 years ago. When you can't think about the future in much detail, you are trapped in a here-and-now existence with no "What if?" and "Why me?" William H. Calvin takes stock of what we have now

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Overview

This book looks back at the simpler versions of mental life in apes, Neanderthals, and our ancestors, back before our burst of creativity started 50,000 years ago. When you can't think about the future in much detail, you are trapped in a here-and-now existence with no "What if?" and "Why me?" William H. Calvin takes stock of what we have now and then explains why we are nearing a crossroads, where mind shifts gears again.
The mind's big bang came long after our brain size stopped enlarging. Calvin suggests that the development of long sentences—what modern children do in their third year—was the most likely trigger. To keep a half-dozen concepts from blending together like a summer drink, you need some mental structuring. In saying "I think I saw him leave to go home," you are nesting three sentences inside a fourth. We also structure plans, play games with rules, create structured music and chains of logic, and have a fascination with discovering how things hang together. Our long train of connected thoughts is why our consciousness is so different from what came before.
Where does mind go from here, its powers extended by science-enhanced education but with its slowly evolving gut instincts still firmly anchored in the ice ages? We will likely shift gears again, juggling more concepts and making decisions even faster, imagining courses of action in greater depth. Ethics are possible only because of a human level of ability to speculate, judge quality, and modify our possible actions accordingly. Though science increasingly serves as our headlights, we are out-driving them, going faster than we can react effectively.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195182484
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
10/01/2005
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
1,075,937
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 5.40(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Some State-setting Perspective
1When Chimpanzees Think3
2Upright Posture but Ape-sized Brains15
3Triple Startups about 2.5 Million Years Ago23
4Homo erectus Ate Well33
5The Second Brain Boom45
6Neanderthals and Our Pre-sapiens Ancestors53
7Homo sapiens without the Modern Mind61
8Structured Thought Finally Appears83
9From Africa to Everywhere107
10How Creativity Manages the Mixups127
11Civilizing Ourselves139
12What's Sudden About the Mind's Big Bang?151
13Imaging the House of Cards161
14The Future of the Augmented Mind171
Afterword191
Recommended Reading193
Notes197
Index207

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