The First Idea: How Symbols, Language, and Intelligence Evolved from Our Primate Ancestors to Modern Humans

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9780306814495: The First Idea: How Symbols, Language, and Intelligence Evolved from Our Primate Ancestors to Modern Humans

In the childhood of every human being and at the dawn of human history there is an amazing and, until now, unexplained leap from simple genetically programmed behavior to language, symbolic thinking, and culture. In The First Idea, Stanley Greenspan and Stuart Shanker explore this missing link and offer brilliant new insights into two longstanding questions: how human beings first create symbols and how these abilities evolved and were transmitted across generations over millions of years. From fascinating research into the intelligence of both human infants and apes, they identify certain cultural practices that are vitally important if we are to have stable and reflective future societies.

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About the Author:

Stanley I. Greenspan, M.D., author of the widely used and praised books The Challenging Child and (with Serena Wieder, Ph.D.) Engaging Autism, is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at George Washington University Medical School and lives in Bethesda, Maryland. Stuart G. Shanker, D.Phil., is Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Psychology at York University, in Toronto. At the forefront of research into ape and child language, his acclaimed books include Apes, Language and the Human Mind (with Sue Savage-Rumbaugh and Talbot Taylor) and Wittgenstein's Remarks on the Foundations of AI. Dr. Shanker's critiques of genetic determinist theories of human development have been the subject of television specials, including "The Today Show," "Discovery," and "The Pamela Wallin Show."

From Publishers Weekly:

Noam Chomsky is the best-known advocate of the view that language skills are hardwired into our brains, and Steven Pinker made this argument in The Blank Slate. Authors Greenspan, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics, and Shanker, an authority in child- and ape-language studies, completely reject this theory, claiming instead that our ability to reason is founded not on genetics but on emotional responses by infants to their environment, with emotional interactions forming the missing link in the development of symbols and language. In line with other recent research that ties cultural practices to areas of human development long held to be biologically determined, they maintain that symbolic thinking has been molded by cultural practices dating back to prehuman species. The authors trace the development of language skills and personality from birth to old age with a 16-stage hierarchy of what they call "functional emotional development capabilities" ranging from "Regulation and Interest in the Word" to "Wisdom of the Ages." In the last part of the book, they use these stages to examine major intellectual turning points and figures in history, such as the Greek philosophers, Descartes and Freud. This book should appeal most to readers working in psychology and child development, but its revolutionary ideas no doubt will lead to lively and well-publicized debates.
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Book Description INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US, United Kingdom, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In the childhood of every human being and at the dawn of human history there is an amazing and, until now, unexplained leap from simple genetically programmed behaviour to language, symbolic thinking, and culture. In The First Idea , Stanley Greenspan and Stuart Shanker explore this missing link and offer brilliant new insights into two longstanding questions: how human beings first create symbols and how these abilities evolved and were transmitted across generations over millions of years. From fascinating research into the intelligence of both human infants and apes, they identify certain cultural practices that are vitally important if we are to have stable and reflective future societies. Bookseller Inventory # AA29780306814495

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Book Description INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US, United Kingdom, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In the childhood of every human being and at the dawn of human history there is an amazing and, until now, unexplained leap from simple genetically programmed behaviour to language, symbolic thinking, and culture. In The First Idea , Stanley Greenspan and Stuart Shanker explore this missing link and offer brilliant new insights into two longstanding questions: how human beings first create symbols and how these abilities evolved and were transmitted across generations over millions of years. From fascinating research into the intelligence of both human infants and apes, they identify certain cultural practices that are vitally important if we are to have stable and reflective future societies. Bookseller Inventory # AA29780306814495

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Book Description Da Capo Press. Book Condition: New. "In the childhood of every human being and at the dawn of human history there is an amazing and, until now, unexplained leap from simple genetically programmed behavior to language, symbolic thinking," Num Pages: 512 pages, black & white illustrations. BIC Classification: CF; JHM; JM; PD. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 230 x 157 x 32. Weight in Grams: 806. . 2006. Paperback. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780306814495

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