The Symbolic Species: The Co-evolution of Language and the Brain (Google eBook)

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W. W. Norton & Company, Apr 17, 1998 - Science
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"A work of enormous breadth, likely to pleasantly surprise both general readers and experts."ŚNew York Times Book Review

This revolutionary book provides fresh answers to long-standing questions of human origins and consciousness. Drawing on his breakthrough research in comparative neuroscience, Terrence Deacon offers a wealth of insights into the significance of symbolic thinking: from the co-evolutionary exchange between language and brains over two million years of hominid evolution to the ethical repercussions that followed man's newfound access to other people's thoughts and emotions.

Informing these insights is a new understanding of how Darwinian processes underlie the brain's development and function as well as its evolution. In contrast to much contemporary neuroscience that treats the brain as no more or less than a computer, Deacon provides a new clarity of vision into the mechanism of mind. It injects a renewed sense of adventure into the experience of being human.
  

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Contents

THE HUMAN PARADOX
21
Technical Difficulties and Hopeful Monsters
28
The Missing Simple Languages
39
A LOSS FOR WORDS
47
In Other Words
51
The Reference Problem
59
SYMBOLS ARENT SIMPLE
69
The Symbolic Threshold
79
SYMBOL MINDS
254
Making Symbols
264
LOCATING LANGUAGE
279
The Illuminated Brain
288
Where Symbols Arent
300
Taking Sides
309
III
319
AND THE WORD BECAME FLESH
321

Unlearning an Insight
92
OUTSIDE THE BRAIN
102
The Other Evolution
110
Emerging Universals
115
Better Learning Through Amnesia
122
II
143
THE SIZE OF INTELLIGENCE
145
Brains in Bodies
153
Thinking Your Own Size
159
GROWING APART
165
Using Fly Genes to Make Human Brains
174
The Developmental Clock
187
A DARWINIAN ELECTRICIAN
193
Displacement
207
An Alien Brain Transplant Experiment
214
Beyond Phrenology
220
THE TALKING BRAIN
225
Visceral Sounds
230
Why Dont Mammals Sing Like Birds?
236
A Leveraged Takeover
247
Language Adaptations
334
Homo symbolicus
340
The CoEvolutionary Net
349
The Writing on the Wall
365
SYMBOLIC ORIGINS
376
Why Human Societies Shouldnt Work
384
A Symbolic Solution
393
Ritual Beginnings
401
A SERENDIPITOUS MIND
411
The Sphinx
416
No Mind Is an Island
423
SUCH STUFF AS DREAMS ARE MADE ON ENDS
433
What Is the Difference?
438
Reinventing the Mind
455
Notes
465
Additional Readings
485
Bibliography
489
Index
511
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

Terrence W. Deacon is a professor of biological anthropology and neuroscience and the chair of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. The author of The Symbolic Species and Incomplete Nature, he lives near Berkeley, California.

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