×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Recursive Mind: The Origins of Human Language, Thought, and Civilization
     

The Recursive Mind: The Origins of Human Language, Thought, and Civilization

by Michael C. Corballis
 

ISBN-10: 0691145474

ISBN-13: 9780691145471

Pub. Date: 05/05/2011

Publisher: Princeton University Press

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,

Overview

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 of 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691145471
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
05/05/2011
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
870,304
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Chapter 1 What Is Recursion? 1

PART 1: Language 17
Chapter 2: Language and Recursion 19
Chapter 3: Do Animals Have Language? 36
Chapter 4: How Language Evolved from Hand to Mouth 55

PART 2: Mental Time Travel 81
Chapter 5: Reliving the Past 83
Chapter 6: About Time 100
Chapter 7: The Grammar of Time 112

PART 3: Theory of Mind 129
Chapter 8: Mind Reading 131
Chapter 9: Language and Mind 151

PART 4: Human Evolution 167
Chapter 10: The Recurring Question 169
Chapter 11: Becoming Human 181
Chapter 12: Becoming Modern 208
Chapter 13: Final Thoughts 221

Notes 227
References 253
Index 281

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews