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"A truly pioneering work, perhaps the first by a practicing archaeologist to review coherently the evolution of human cognitive abilities." ―Colin Renfrew, author of Before Civilization and Archaeology and LanguageHere is an exhilarating intellectual performance, in the tradition of Roger Penrose's The Emperor's New Mind and Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct. On the way to showing how the world of our ancient ancestors shaped our modern modular mind, Steven Mithen shares one provocative insight after another as he answers a series of fascinating questions:
Review: Try an experiment: take a passenger along on a brief car trip--a jaunt to the supermarket, say. Have a nice conversation while you're driving, and take a scenic route. Now, the next day, try to reconstruct the details of both the conversation and the trip. Chances are, unless something unusual happened along the way, that your memory of both will be indistinct, for we tend to forget the mundane--an example of what the cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett calls "rolling consciousness with swift memory loss."
Steven Mithen, an archaeologist with an interest in psychology, believes that just such a consciousness obtained among early humans when they went foraging for food or made tools. The evolution of higher, more memory-laden consciousness, he continues, occurred only as a result of a cognitive trick that doubtless involved some trial and error. The trick, simply put, was to guess what the social behavior of some member of one's social group might be in a given circumstance--to step outside one's own mind, in other words, and enter another's. This guesswork underlies the famed cave paintings of Altamira, an attempt to predict the behavior of migratory animals. It underlies as well another experiment: the development of agriculture, with the requisite predicting of how plants and animals might behave under a wide range of conditions.
Mithen's reconstruction of the ancestral human mind, laid out in a clear and accessible narrative, is a fine intellectual adventure. --Gregory McNamee
Title: The Prehistory of the Mind: The Cognitive ...
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Book Description Thames & Hudson. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Book shows a small amount of wear to cover and binding. Some pages show signs of use. Bookseller Inventory # G0500281009I3N00
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Book Description Thames & Hudson. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Book shows minor use. Cover and Binding have minimal wear, and the pages have only minimal creases. Bookseller Inventory # G0500281009I3N00
Book Description Thames & Hudson. Paperback. Book Condition: VERY GOOD. Very Good copy, cover and pages show some wear from reading and storage. Binding may have light creases. Lots of life left in these pages. Bookseller Inventory # 2797332134
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Book Description Thames & Hudson, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. Open Books is a nonprofit social venture that provides literacy experiences for thousands of readers each year through inspiring programs and creative capitalization of books. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000331081
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Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. Used book in VERY GOOD condition. Tight Spine, Cover shows minor wear. Minor markings and highlights inside the book. Text Only. Fast Shipping. Prompt Customer Service. Satisfaction guaranteed. Bookseller Inventory # 0500281009VGA