Origins Of Human Communication

Author: Michael Tomasello
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262261200
Size: 26.24 MB
Format: PDF, Docs
View: 1669
Download
Human communication is grounded in fundamentally cooperative, even shared, intentions. In this original and provocative account of the evolutionary origins of human communication, Michael Tomasello connects the fundamentally cooperative structure of human communication (initially discovered by Paul Grice) to the especially cooperative structure of human (as opposed to other primate) social interaction. Tomasello argues that human cooperative communication rests on a psychological infrastructure of shared intentionality (joint attention, common ground), evolved originally for collaboration and culture more generally. The basic motives of the infrastructure are helping and sharing: humans communicate to request help, inform others of things helpfully, and share attitudes as a way of bonding within the cultural group. These cooperative motives each created different functional pressures for conventionalizing grammatical constructions. Requesting help in the immediate you-and-me and here-and-now, for example, required very little grammar, but informing and sharing required increasingly complex grammatical devices. Drawing on empirical research into gestural and vocal communication by great apes and human infants (much of it conducted by his own research team), Tomasello argues further that humans' cooperative communication emerged first in the natural gestures of pointing and pantomiming. Conventional communication, first gestural and then vocal, evolved only after humans already possessed these natural gestures and their shared intentionality infrastructure along with skills of cultural learning for creating and passing along jointly understood communicative conventions. Challenging the Chomskian view that linguistic knowledge is innate, Tomasello proposes instead that the most fundamental aspects of uniquely human communication are biological adaptations for cooperative social interaction in general and that the purely linguistic dimensions of human communication are cultural conventions and constructions created by and passed along within particular cultural groups.

The Evolved Apprentice

Author: Kim Sterelny
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262300494
Size: 52.69 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
View: 4580
Download
Over the last three million years or so, our lineage has diverged sharply from those of our great ape relatives. Change has been rapid (in evolutionary terms) and pervasive. Morphology, life history, social life, sexual behavior, and foraging patterns have all shifted sharply away from those of the other great apes. In The Evolved Apprentice, Kim Sterelny argues that the divergence stems from the fact that humans gradually came to enrich the learning environment of the next generation. Humans came to cooperate in sharing information, and to cooperate ecologically and reproductively as well, and these changes initiated positive feedback loops that drove us further from other great apes. Sterelny develops a new theory of the evolution of human cognition and human social life that emphasizes the gradual evolution of information-sharing practices across generations and how these practices transformed human minds and social lives. Sterelny proposes that humans developed a new form of ecological interaction with their environment, cooperative foraging. The ability to cope with the immense variety of human ancestral environments and social forms, he argues, depended not just on adapted minds but also on adapted developmental environments.

The Elm And The Expert

Author: Jerry A. Fodor
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262560931
Size: 15.83 MB
Format: PDF, ePub
View: 4257
Download
Written in a highly readable, irreverent style, "The Elm and the Expert" provides a lively discussion of semantic issues about mental representation, with special attention to issues raised by Frege's problem, Twin cases, and the putative indeterminacy of reference.

Varieties Of Meaning

Author: Ruth Garrett Millikan
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262134446
Size: 62.10 MB
Format: PDF, Mobi
View: 4780
Download
How the various things that are said to have meaning—purpose, natural signs, linguistic signs, perceptions, and thoughts—are related to one another.

Sweet Dreams

Author: Daniel Clement Dennett
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262042253
Size: 72.28 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
View: 681
Download
The author of Consciousness Explained revises and renews his Multiple Drafts Model of consciousness in the light of recent research.

Constructing A Language

Author: Michael TOMASELLO
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674044398
Size: 39.71 MB
Format: PDF
View: 6340
Download
In this groundbreaking book, Tomasello presents a comprehensive usage-based theory of language acquisition. Drawing together a vast body of empirical research in cognitive science, linguistics, and developmental psychology, Tomasello demonstrates that we don't need a self-contained "language instinct" to explain how children learn language. Their linguistic ability is interwoven with other cognitive abilities.

A Natural History Of Human Thinking

Author: Michael Tomasello
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674726367
Size: 22.67 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
View: 3151
Download
Tool-making or culture, language or religious belief: ever since Darwin, thinkers have struggled to identify what fundamentally differentiates human beings from other animals. Michael Tomasello weaves his twenty years of comparative studies of humans and great apes into a compelling argument that cooperative social interaction is the key to our cognitive uniqueness. Tomasello maintains that our prehuman ancestors, like today's great apes, were social beings who could solve problems by thinking. But they were almost entirely competitive, aiming only at their individual goals. As ecological changes forced them into more cooperative living arrangements, early humans had to coordinate their actions and communicate their thoughts with collaborative partners. Tomasello's "shared intentionality hypothesis" captures how these more socially complex forms of life led to more conceptually complex forms of thinking. In order to survive, humans had to learn to see the world from multiple social perspectives, to draw socially recursive inferences, and to monitor their own thinking via the normative standards of the group. Even language and culture arose from the preexisting need to work together and coordinate thoughts. A Natural History of Human Thinking is the most detailed scientific analysis to date of the connection between human sociality and cognition.

Strong Feelings

Author: Jon Elster
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262262545
Size: 10.15 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
View: 1632
Download
Emotion and addiction lie on a continuum between simple visceral drives such as hunger, thirst, and sexual desire at one end and calm, rational decision making at the other. Although emotion and addiction involve visceral motivation, they are also closely linked to cognition and culture. They thus provide the ideal vehicle for Jon Elster's study of the interrelation between three explanatory approaches to behavior: neurobiology, culture, and choice.The book is organized around parallel analyses of emotion and addiction in order to bring out similarities as well as differences. Elster's study sheds fresh light on the generation of human behavior, ultimately revealing how cognition, choice, and rationality are undermined by the physical processes that underlie strong emotions and cravings. This book will be of particular interest to those studying the variety of human motivations who are dissatisfied with the prevailing reductionisms.*Not for sale in Belgium, France, or Switzerland.

Rationality In Action

Author: John R. Searle
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262250610
Size: 71.91 MB
Format: PDF, Docs
View: 1891
Download
The study of rationality and practical reason, or rationality in action, has been central to Western intellectual culture. In this invigorating book, John Searle lays out six claims of what he calls the Classical Model of rationality and shows why they are false. He then presents an alternative theory of the role of rationality in thought and action.A central point of Searle's theory is that only irrational actions are directly caused by beliefs and desires -- for example, the actions of a person in the grip of an obsession or addiction. In most cases of rational action, there is a gap between the motivating desire and the actual decision making. The traditional name for this gap is "freedom of the will." According to Searle, all rational activity presupposes free will. For rationality is possible only where one has a choice among various rational as well as irrational options.Unlike many philosophical tracts, Rationality in Action invites the reader to apply the author's ideas to everyday life. Searle shows, for example, that contrary to the traditional philosophical view, weakness of will is very common. He also points out the absurdity of the claim that rational decision making always starts from a consistent set of desires. Rational decision making, he argues, is often about choosing between conflicting reasons for action. In fact, humans are distinguished by their ability to be rationally motivated by desire-independent reasons for action. Extending his theory of rationality to the self, Searle shows how rational deliberation presupposes an irreducible notion of the self. He also reveals the idea of free will to be essentially a thesis of how the brain works.

Naturalizing The Mind

Author: Fred I. Dretske
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262540896
Size: 68.96 MB
Format: PDF, Mobi
View: 2489
Download
This text develops a representational theory of the qualitative, the phenomenal and other aspects of the mind that have defied traditional forms of naturalism. Combined with an evolutionary account of sensory representation, its aim is to provide a naturalistic account of phenomenal consciousness.