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Origins Of Human Communication

Author: Michael Tomasello
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262261200
Size: 20.17 MB
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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: 72.99 MB
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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.

Constructing A Language

Author: Michael TOMASELLO
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674044398
Size: 43.64 MB
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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.

The Elm And The Expert

Author: Jerry A. Fodor
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262560931
Size: 14.18 MB
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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.

Why We Cooperate

Author: Michael Tomasello
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262258498
Size: 29.28 MB
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Drop something in front of a two-year-old, and she's likely to pick it up for you. This is not a learned behavior, psychologist Michael Tomasello argues. Through observations of young children in experiments he himself has designed, Tomasello shows that children are naturally--and uniquely--cooperative. Put through similar experiments, for example, apes demonstrate the ability to work together and share, but choose not to. As children grow, their almost reflexive desire to help--without expectation of reward--becomes shaped by culture. They become more aware of being a member of a group. Groups convey mutual expectations, and thus may either encourage or discourage altruism and collaboration. Either way, cooperation emerges as a distinctly human combination of innate and learned behavior.In Why We Cooperate, Tomasello's studies of young children and great apes help identify the underlying psychological processes that very likely supported humans' earliest forms of complex collaboration and, ultimately, our unique forms of cultural organization, from the evolution of tolerance and trust to the creation of such group-level structures as cultural norms and institutions.Scholars Carol Dweck, Joan Silk, Brian Skyrms, and Elizabeth Spelke respond to Tomasello's findings and explore the implications.

Sweet Dreams

Author: Daniel Clement Dennett
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262042253
Size: 61.69 MB
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The author of Consciousness Explained revises and renews his Multiple Drafts Model of consciousness in the light of recent research.

A Natural History Of Human Thinking

Author: Michael Tomasello
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674726367
Size: 75.73 MB
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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.

The Cultural Origins Of Human Cognition

Author: Michael TOMASELLO
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674044371
Size: 73.32 MB
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Bridging the gap between evolutionary theory and cultural psychology, Michael Tomasello argues that the roots of the human capacity for symbol-based culture are based in a cluster of uniquely human cognitive capacities. These include capacities for understanding that others have intentions of their own, and for imitating, not just what someone else does, but what someone else has intended to do. Tomasello further describes with authority and ingenuity how these capacities work over evolutionary and historical time to create the kind of cultural artifacts and settings within which each new generation of children develops.

Adam S Tongue

Author: Derek Bickerton
Publisher: Hill and Wang
ISBN: 9781429930291
Size: 42.55 MB
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How language evolved has been called "the hardest problem in science." In Adam's Tongue, Derek Bickerton—long a leading authority in this field—shows how and why previous attempts to solve that problem have fallen short. Taking cues from topics as diverse as the foraging strategies of ants, the distribution of large prehistoric herbivores, and the construction of ecological niches, Bickerton produces a dazzling new alternative to the conventional wisdom. Language is unique to humans, but it isn't the only thing that sets us apart from other species—our cognitive powers are qualitatively different. So could there be two separate discontinuities between humans and the rest of nature? No, says Bickerton; he shows how the mere possession of symbolic units—words—automatically opened a new and different cognitive universe, one that yielded novel innovations ranging from barbed arrowheads to the Apollo spacecraft. Written in Bickerton's lucid and irreverent style, this book is the first that thoroughly integrates the story of how language evolved with the story of how humans evolved. Sure to be controversial, it will make indispensable reading both for experts in the field and for every reader who has ever wondered how a species as remarkable as ours could have come into existence.

Strong Feelings

Author: Jon Elster
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262262545
Size: 68.60 MB
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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.