September 2016: Tools, Language, and the Evolution of the Human Mind

Gibson_Kathleen

Sunday, Sept 25, 2016 at 3pm          Archaeological Institute of America Lecture

Dr. Kathleen Gibson

Tools, Language, and the Evolution of the Human Mind

 

Darwin and Wallace, co-discoverers of evolution by natural selection, held contrasting views about the origins of the human mind. Wallace considered the human mind to be qualitatively distinct from that of other animals, while Darwin postulated that animal and human minds differ in degree but not in kind, a position that represented a sharp break with traditional Cartesian views that human behavior is rational, but animal behavior is instinctive. Manufactured stone tools from Lomekwi, Kenya (3.3. mya), complex tools from Africa which long predate the Upper Paleolithic, Indonesian paintings dating to about 40,000 years ago, and increasing evidence of Neanderthal “symbolic” activities and of interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans, continue to challenge old views. This talk discusses this new evidence in light of continuity versus qualitative gap perspectives of human/animal and modern human/fossil hominin mental differences. It concludes that much of what we see in the archaeological record accords with an increased information processing model of tool-making, cooperative, and communicative abilities, and, hence, with Darwinian views that differences of degree, rather than of kind, distinguish human from animal minds (and by extension modern human minds from those of other hominins).

 

THIS LECTURE WILL BE IN FOUNDATION HALL IN THE MANZULLI BOARD ROOM.  Sunday at 3pm.  Wagner College, 631 Howard Avenue (1 Campus Road), Grymes Hill, Staten Island, NY 10301

AIA lectures (Oct 18 & April 24) are FREE and open to all

 

ASSI lectures are free for ASSI and AIA members, students 22 years or younger

And Wagner Faculty and Staff – Please show ID

Others may attend ASSI lectures for a $10.00 donation or may join the ASSI at the door.

Meet the speaker over coffee and cake following each lecture

For more information write: The Archaeology Society of Staten Island, P.O. Box 140504, Staten Island, NY 10314-0504, or visit our website www.siarchaeology.org

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