By Terrence W. Deacon

"A paintings of large breadth, prone to pleasantly shock either normal readers and experts."—New York instances ebook Review
This innovative booklet offers clean solutions to long-standing questions of human origins and cognizance. Drawing on his step forward examine in comparative neuroscience, Terrence Deacon bargains a wealth of insights into the importance of symbolic pondering: from the co-evolutionary alternate among language and brains over million years of hominid evolution to the moral repercussions that man's newfound entry to different people's recommendations and emotions.

Informing those insights is a brand new knowing of ways Darwinian tactics underlie the brain's improvement and serve as in addition to its evolution. not like a lot modern neuroscience that treats the mind as not more or below a working laptop or computer, Deacon presents a brand new readability of imaginative and prescient into the mechanism of brain. It injects a renewed feel of event into the adventure of being human.

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Additional resources for The Symbolic Species: The Co-evolution of Language and the Brain

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Considered i'rrespective of semantics, in terms of merely physical or mechanical correlations with other objects, signifiers are often called signals. Thus, for example, a light on the dashboa'rd of a car might be a sig­ nal that the engine is low on oil by virtue of its being electrically linked with an oil pressure sensor. Later, I will refer to this as an index. This biplanar account, based on an oppositional categorical scheme (transparent/opaque; correspondingly pat­ terned/arbitrary; natural/conventional; semantic/nonsemantic), obscures the un­ derlying interdependence of these forms of referential relationship.

Words are not just sounds, configurations of ink on paper, or light on a computer screen. " If I am unable to produce an appro­ priate symbolic interpretive response to an unfamiliar foreign word, I can only use physical co-occurrence to guess at what objects or events might be relevant to what is being said. Clearly, what distinguishes a dog's ability to get one sort of reference from a phrase and a person's to get that and some­ thing more is the result ofsomething additional that is produced in the head of the person.

Peirce once characterized an icon as something which upon closer inspection can provide further infor­ ity to treat this smell as an indication of fire arise? It likely arose by learn­ ing, because I had past experiences in which similar odors were traced to mation about the attributes of its object. Looking at the one is like looking things that were burning. After a few recurrences it became a familiar as­ at the other in some respects. Looking at a caricature can, for example, get sociation, and the smell of smoke began to indicate to me tllat a fire might one to notice for the first time that a well-known politician has a protrud­ be near.

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