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Our ability to 'think' is really one of our most puzzling characteristics. What it would be like to be unable to think? What would it be like to lack self-awareness? The complexity of this activity is striking. 'Thinking' involves the interaction of a range of mental processes--attention, emotion, memory, planning, self-consciousness, free will, and language. So where did these processes arise? What evolutionary advantages were bestowed upon those with an ability to deceive, to plan, to empathize, or to understand the intention of others? In this compelling new work, Peter Gardenfors embarks on an evolutionary detective story to try and solve one of the big mysteries surrounding human existence--how has the modern human being's way of thinking come into existence. He starts by taking in turn the more basic cognitive processes, such as attention and memory, then builds upon these to explore more complex behaviors, such as self-consciousness, mindreading, and imitation. Having done this, he examines the consequences of "putting thought into the world" -i.e., using external media like cave paintings, drawings, and writing. Immensely readable and humorous, the book will be valuable for students in psychology and biology, and accessible to readers of popular science.
Why aren’t we more like other apes? How did we win the evolutionary race? Find out how “wise” Homo sapiens really are. Prehistory has never been more exciting: New discoveries are overturning long-held theories left and right. Stone tools in Australia date back 65,000 years—a time when, we once thought, the first Sapiens had barely left Africa. DNA sequencing has unearthed a new hominid group—the Denisovans—and confirmed that crossbreeding with them (and Neanderthals) made Homo sapiens who we are today. A Pocket History of Human Evolution brings us up-to-date on the exploits of all our ancient relatives. Paleoanthropologist Silvana Condemi and science journalist François Savatier consider what accelerated our evolution: Was it tools, our “large” brains, language, empathy, or something else entirely? And why are we the sole survivors among many early bipedal humans? Their conclusions reveal the various ways ancient humans live on today—from gossip as modern “grooming” to our gendered division of labor—and what the future might hold for our strange and unique species.
This book presents the human hand from an overall perspective – from the first appearance of hand-like structures in the fins of big fishes living millions of years ago to today ́s and the future’s mind-controlled artificial hands. Much focus is given to the extremely well-developed sensation of the hand, its importance and its linkage to brain plasticity mechanisms. How can active hands rapidly expand their representational area in the brain? How can the sense of touch substitute for other deficient senses, such as in Braille reading where hand sensation substitutes for missing vision? How can the mere observation of active hands, belonging to others, activate the hand area in the observer’s own brain and what is the importance of this phenomenon for learning by imitation and the understanding of other peoples’ actions, gestures and body language? Why are some of us left-handed and what are the consequences from cultural and physiological viewpoints? Why does phantom sensation and phantom pain occur after hand amputation, and what can we do about it? Why can salamanders regenerate new extremities while humans can not? Is it possible to transplant a hand from a diseased individual to an amputee? Can artificial robotic hands be controlled by our mind, and can they ever gain the role of a normal hand? What role did the hand and the brain play during evolution in tool construction and development of language and cognitive functions? The hand has a high symbolic value in religion, literature and art and our hands have a key role in gestures and body language. The Hand and the Brain is aimed at anybody with interest in life sciences, in the medical field especially hand surgeons, orthopaedic specialists, neurologists and general practitioners, and those working in rehabilitation medicine and pain treatment. The original Swedish version of The Hand and the Brain has also become very popular among physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, and among a general population with an interest in science.
This volume constitutes a sustained effort by prominent sociologists and other social scientists to assess the current standing of sociology. It is a stocktaking of the unique nature of sociology in the light of advances within the discipline itself and within a range of neighbouring disciplines.
"Risks in Technological Systems" is an interdisciplinary university textbook and a book for the educated reader on the risks of today’s society. In order to understand and analyze risks associated with the engineering systems on which modern society relies, other concerns have to be addressed, besides technical aspects. In contrast to many academic textbooks dealing with technological risks, this book has a unique interdisciplinary character that presents technological risks in their own context. Twenty-four scientists have come together to present their views on risks in technological systems. Their scientific disciplines cover not only engineering, economics and medicine, but also history, psychology, literature and philosophy. Taken together these contributions provide a broad, but accurate, interdisciplinary introduction to a field of increasing global interest, as well as rich opportunities to achieve in-depth knowledge of the subject.
The greatest problems facing humanity today are climate change, poverty, and the increasing separation between the rich and poor. The aim of this book is to examine the social constructions that have led to these breakdowns, and provide potential solutions that are based on a fundamental change in the structure of society and the values on which a new and better social system can be built. Unless we as a society set a drastically different course soon, human life as we know it will suffer greatly, perhaps even cease altogether. Excess consumption is becoming anti-social as the effects of global warming and increasing poverty become apparent. What, then, will form the new social values on which society replaces the present emphasis on work and material consumption that now prevail? This book’s answer to that question is accomplishment and aesthetic consumption. This proposed refocused existence will necessitate a new economic order that provides access to a livelihood beyond the market system. This groundbreaking book will appeal to students and scholars of sociology, leisure studies, political science, and social work.
Cognitive archaeology is a relatively new interdisciplinary science that uses cognitive and psychological models to explain archeological artifacts like stone tools, figurines, and art. Squeezing Minds From Stones is a collection of essays from early pioneers in the field, like archaeologists Thomas Wynn and Iain Davidson, and evolutionary primatologist William McGrew, to 'up and coming' newcomers like Shelby Putt, Ceri Shipton, Mark Moore, James Cole, Natalie Uomini, and Lana Ruck. Their essays address a wide variety of cognitive archaeology topics, including the value of experimental archaeology, primate archaeology, the intent of ancient tool makers, and how they may have lived and thought.
This volume describes features of autonomy and integrates them into the recent discussion of factors in evolution. In recent years ideas about major transitions in evolution are undergoing a revolutionary change. They include questions about the origin of evolutionary innovation, their genetic and epigenetic background, the role of the phenotype and of changes in ontogenetic pathways. In the present book, it is argued that it is likewise necessary to question the properties of these innovations and what was qualitatively generated during the macroevolutionary transitions. The author states that a recurring central aspect of macroevolutionary innovations is an increase in individual organismal autonomy whereby it is emancipated from the environment with changes in its capacity for flexibility, self-regulation and self-control of behavior. The first chapters define the concept of autonomy and examine its history and its epistemological context. Later chapters demonstrate how changes in autonomy took place during the major evolutionary transitions and investigate the generation of organs and physiological systems. They synthesize material from various disciplines including zoology, comparative physiology, morphology, molecular biology, neurobiology and ethology. It is argued that the concept is also relevant for understanding the relation of the biological evolution of man to his cultural abilities. Finally the relation of autonomy to adaptation, niche construction, phenotypic plasticity and other factors and patterns in evolution is discussed. The text has a clear perspective from the context of systems biology, arguing that the generation of biological autonomy must be interpreted within an integrative systems approach.
This book explores the use of technology to detect, predict and understand social cues, in order to analyze and prevent conflict. Traditional human sciences approaches are enriched with the latest developments in Social Signal Processing aimed at an automatic understanding of conflict and negotiation. Communication—both verbal and non-verbal, within the context of a conflict—is studied with the aim of promoting the use of intelligent machines that automatically measure and understand the escalation of conflict, and are able to manage it, in order to support the negotiation process. Particular attention is paid to the integration of human sciences findings with computational approaches, from the application of correct methodologies for the collection of valid data to the development of computational approaches inspired by research on verbal and multimodal communication. In the words of the trade unionist Pierre Carniti, "We should reevaluate conflict, since without conflict there is no social justice." With this in mind, this volume does not approach conflict simply as an obstacle to be overcome, but as a concept to be fully analyzed. The philosophical, linguistic and psychological aspects of conflict, once understood, can be used to promote conflict management as a means for change and social justice.
THE GRIPES OF WRATH is guaranteed to make you laugh - and also make your blood boil! This mind-blowing collection of absurd and yet completely true stories, rules, claims, and crazy legislation portrays the Britain that we have become, almost without realizing it. Political columnist Simon Carr has scoured national and local newspapers, Hansard parliamentary reports, the minutes of parliamentary committee meetings, statements from quangos and local councils to compile hundreds of true stories, anecdotes and events that will prompt the scandalized response of: 'I don't believe it!'. From political sleaze to massaged waiting lists, from barmy health and safety concerns to bizarre compensation claims, everyone who believes in justice, decency, fair play and common sense will find something in this attractively produced book to infuriate them.
Beyond Homo Sapiens – Enlightened Faith, is the last book of the Beyond Homo Sapiens trilogy. It concludes the series’ mystical/political review of the historical events of the last 5,000 years with the struggle of progressive thinkers and activists to help people recognize their universality and achieve enlightenment during the last 140 years. The ongoing fight for human rights and social justice is a battle against the interests of the privileged few who work to stay in power by keeping the masses anchored in their automatic reactions of self-defense and in-fighting, immediate gratification and reproduction. Advances in human knowledge can lead us to our next phase of evolution, one that must be made consciously. Quantum physics has shown us that the wall of separation we perceive between everything that exists in the universe and therefore, between matter and energy, subject and object, is not really there. Matter is not solid and space is not empty. The same particles that make up a table are interwoven with the air around it and with the table’s owner. Once all of humanity accepts this vision of matter as a single but multiform creative energy event, we can begin a new era and the possibility of enlightened faith.
The science of change from cells to culture Cells to Civilizations is the first unified account of how life transforms itself—from the production of bacteria to the emergence of complex civilizations. What are the connections between evolving microbes, an egg that develops into an infant, and a child who learns to walk and talk? Award-winning scientist Enrico Coen synthesizes the growth of living systems and creative processes, and he reveals that the four great life transformations—evolution, development, learning, and human culture—while typically understood separately, actually all revolve around shared core principles and manifest the same fundamental recipe. Coen blends provocative discussion, the latest scientific research, and colorful examples to demonstrate the links between these critical stages in the history of life. Coen tells a story rich with genes, embryos, neurons, and fascinating discoveries. He examines the development of the zebra, the adaptations of seaweed, the cave paintings of Lascaux, and the formulations of Alan Turing. He explores how dogs make predictions, how weeds tell the time of day, and how our brains distinguish a Modigliani from a Rembrandt. Locating commonalities in important findings, Coen gives readers a deeper understanding of key transformations and provides a bold portrait for how science both frames and is framed by human culture. A compelling investigation into the relationships between our biological past and cultural progress, Cells to Civilizations presents a remarkable story of living change.
This book evaluates the Western conception of man. After having examined primitive thought in which Nature comprises everything that exists, including man, the author explains why in Western thought man is usually not only different from Nature, but opposed to it, which may have grave consequences to Nature’s fate.
While a rational consciousness grasps many truths, Gananath Obeyesekere believes an even richer knowledge is possible through a bold confrontation with the stuff of visions and dreams. Spanning both Buddhist and European forms of visionary experience, he fearlessly pursues the symbolic, nonrational depths of such phenomena, reawakening the intuitive, creative impulses that power greater understanding. Throughout his career, Obeyesekere has combined psychoanalysis and anthropology to illuminate the relationship between personal symbolism and religious experience. In this book, he begins with Buddha's visionary trances wherein, over the course of four hours, he witnesses hundreds of thousands of his past births and eons of world evolution, renewal, and disappearance. He then connects this fracturing of empirical and visionary time to the realm of space, considering the experience of a female Christian penitent, who stares devotedly at a tiny crucifix only to see the space around it expand to mirror Christ's suffering. Obeyesekere follows the unconscious motivations underlying rapture, the fantastical consumption of Christ's body and blood, and body mutilation and levitation, bridging medieval Catholicism and the movements of early modern thought as reflected in William Blake's artistic visions and poetic dreams. He develops the term "dream-ego" through a discussion of visionary journeys, Carl Jung's and Sigmund Freud's scientific dreaming, and the cosmic and erotic dream-visions of New Age virtuosos, and he defines the parameters of a visionary mode of knowledge that provides a more elastic understanding of truth. A career-culminating work, this volume translates the epistemology of Hindu and Buddhist thinkers for western audiences while revitalizing western philosophical and scientific inquiry.
Every day we use our mobiles and computers to communicate, but ironically we are losing touch with face-to-face talk. Catherine Blyth reveals the endless possibilities of conversation and shows that when it works it can come close to heaven. With examples from Elizabeth I to Tommy Cooper, courtesans to nomads, The Art of Conversation is full of tips on listening, the perfect handshake, talking shop and surviving conversational bores. Be it sharing a joke with a stranger, sparking a new idea or just letting off steam with a friend, there are infinite adventures to be had if you break the ice and say hello . . .
This is the first volume to address directly the question of the speciation of modern Homo sapiens. The subject raises profound questions about the nature of the species, our defining characteristic (it is suggested it is language), and the brain changes and their genetic basis that make us distinct. The British Academy and the Academy of Medical Sciences have brought together experts from palaeontology, archaeology, linguistics, psychology, genetics and evolutionary theory to present evidence and theories at the cutting edge of our understanding of these issues. Palaeontological and genetic work suggests that the transition from a precursor hominid species to modern man took place between 100,000 and 150,000 years ago. Some contributors discuss what is most characteristic of the species, focussing on language and its possible basis in brain lateralization. This work is placed in the context of speciation theory, which has remained a subject of considerable debate since the evolutionary synthesis of Mendelian genetics and Darwinian theory. The timing of specific transitions in hominid evolution is discussed, as also is the question of the neural basis of language. Other contributors address the possible genetic nature of the transition, with reference to changes on the X and Y chromosomes that may account for sex differences in lateralization and verbal ability. These differences are discussed in terms of the theory of sexual selection, and with reference to the mechanisms of speciation. These essays will be vital reading for anyone interested in the nature and origins of the species, and specifically human abilities.
After a brief overview of the glorious history of Iran interrupted by the invasion of external forces and periods of darkness, Journey from Tehran to Chicago addresses the mutual, beneficial interaction between Islamic and Iranian civilizations and cultures. It dissects and analyses maladaptive and adaptive behavioral patterns of certain Iranian leaders throughout history. Dr. Dizadji, an American-Iranian, describes his childhood, schooling, medical school training, and his army experience in Iran. He elaborates on the social, political, and economic states of Iran during that period, which he thinks have contributed to the Iranian revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran. After the completion of his cardiology training in the United States, the author returns to Iran to achieve his intended goal, to practice medicine in Iran. However, disappointed, he returns to the United States as a postdoctoral fellow in cardiology sponsored by the National Heart Institute of the United States. He eventually engages in a successful medical practice, and takes additional educational courses in Chicago. Holding several prestigious positions in the medical community, he then focuses on the health care system of the United States, discussing its rapid changes with advantages and weaknesses.
In this new fourth edition, Campbell has revised and updated his classic introduction to the field. Human Evolution synthesizes the major findings of modern research and theory and presents a complete and integrated account of the evolution of human beings. New developments in microbiology and recent fossil records are incorporated into the enormous range of this volume, with the resulting text as lucid and comprehensive as earlier editions. The fourth edition retains the thematic structure and organization of the third, with its cogent treatment of human variability and speciation, primate locomotion, and nonverbal communication and the evolution of language, supported by more than 150 detailed illustrations and an expanded and updated glossary and bibliography. As in prior editions, the book treats evolution as a concomitant development of the main behavioral and functional complexes of the genus Homo among them motor control and locomotion, mastication and digestion, the senses and reproduction. It analyzes each complex in terms of its changing function, and continually stresses how the separate complexes evolve interdependently over the long course of the human journey. All these aspects are placed within the context of contemporary evolutionary and genetic theory, analyses of the varied extensions of the fossil record, and contemporary primatology and comparative morphology. The result is a primary text for undergraduate and graduate courses, one that will also serve as required reading for anthropologists, biologists, and nonspecialists with an interest in human evolution. "Synthesizes the conventional academic thought into a textbook or detailed account for lay readers. Along the chronological narrative are discussions of progress in homeostasis, the primate radiation, locomotion and the hindlimb, function and structure of the head, reproduction and social structure, and culture and society." Book News Bernard Campbell has been a visiting lecturer at Harvard and Cambridge, and has taught and conducted research in Eastern and Southern Africa. He was professor of anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles, from 1970-76. Dr. Campbell is author/coauthor of Sexual Selection and the Descent of Man; Human Ecology (second edition, Aldine); Humankind Emerging and the definitive three-volume Catalogue of Fossil Hominids.

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