The concept of "cognitive revolution"

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Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,662
Florania
The rise of the "terrible upright ape", the Chinese joke term for Homo sapiens, has puzzled many anthropologists.
Some may have conjured that cognitive revolution happened between 100,000 to 70,000 years ago that
transformed archaic Homo sapiens to modern Homo sapiens.
The involved uses of fictions and myths, or collective imaginations, to organize large scale societies.
Who initiated the concept of cognitive revolution?
While La Planète des singes is quite well-known due to its movie adoption, how difficult is it for non-human great apes to
achieve cognitive revolution?
 

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Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,662
Florania
Was La Planète des singes written before the concept of cognitive revolution was proposed?
Interestingly, we discover differences between humans and non-human great apes beside brain size, manual dexterity and vocalization.
Realistically speaking, it would be almost impossible to give non-human great apes "cognitive revolution".
 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,708
I think cognition and the difference between humans and other animals was talked about long before that book was published but only in the late 1940s did it become more systematically studied in academia with several papers and articles published in a flurry in the mid 1950s being the main basis for the establishment of cognition and such books as "Plant of the Apes" having resources to mine.
 
Jul 2012
774
Australia
Is "cognitive revolution" the right term here? Cognitive science is now the dominant line of enquiry in modern psychology .

Perhaps "evolution of human cognition" is the better term...
"Research on the evolution of human cognition asks what types of thinking make us such peculiar animals, and how they have been generated by evolutionary processes. .....suggests that the evolution of human cognition has been much more gradual and incremental than previously assumed. It accords crucial roles to cultural evolution, techno-social co-evolution and gene–culture co-evolution. These have produced domain-general developmental processes with extraordinary power—power that makes human cognition, and human lives, unique. "
New thinking: the evolution of human cognition

or is "Human Revolution" the more relevant term?

The Human Revolution (human origins)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Human Revolution (human origins) - Wikipedia

"The Human Revolution" is a term used by archaeologists, anthropologists and other specialists in human origins; it refers to the spectacular and relatively sudden – apparently revolutionary – emergence of language, consciousness and culture in our species. The term came into fashion following a conference on human origins held in the late 1980s, resulting in a 1989 edited volume entitled The Human Revolution, edited by archaeologist Paul Mellars and palaeontologist Chris Stringer. In this early version, the rapid process of change was identified as the so-called 'Upper Palaeolithic Revolution' which occurred in Ice Age Europe around 40,000 years ago, resulting in the displacement of the local Neanderthals by anatomically modern Homo sapiens, with their sophisticated ivory tools, carved figurines and cave paintings. More recently, archaeologists have come to realise that if we can speak of a 'human revolution' at all, it happened tens of thousands of years earlier, in sub-Saharan Africa rather than Europe. This means that the revolution was inseparable from the emergence of modern Homo sapiens in Africa between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago.[2]

From the mid-1990s and as of 2010, archaeological revelations from the African Middle Stone Age have transformed our picture of the timing of symbolic culture's emergence. Until the early 1990s, the prevailing view of the "human revolution" was concerned with Europe and focused on the Upper Palaeolithic Revolution, which was seen as humanity's "Great Leap Forward". Recent discoveries from Africa have made some researchers controversially claim symbolic activity before 40,000 years ago. Researchers diverge in their positions concerning the timeline for symbolic culture's emergence.
 
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Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,662
Florania
Is "cognitive revolution" the right term here? Cognitive science is now the dominant line of enquiry in modern psychology .

Perhaps "evolution of human cognition" is the better term...
"Research on the evolution of human cognition asks what types of thinking make us such peculiar animals, and how they have been generated by evolutionary processes. .....suggests that the evolution of human cognition has been much more gradual and incremental than previously assumed. It accords crucial roles to cultural evolution, techno-social co-evolution and gene–culture co-evolution. These have produced domain-general developmental processes with extraordinary power—power that makes human cognition, and human lives, unique. "
New thinking: the evolution of human cognition

or is "Human Revolution" the more relevant term?

The Human Revolution (human origins)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Human Revolution (human origins) - Wikipedia

"The Human Revolution" is a term used by archaeologists, anthropologists and other specialists in human origins; it refers to the spectacular and relatively sudden – apparently revolutionary – emergence of language, consciousness and culture in our species. The term came into fashion following a conference on human origins held in the late 1980s, resulting in a 1989 edited volume entitled The Human Revolution, edited by archaeologist Paul Mellars and palaeontologist Chris Stringer. In this early version, the rapid process of change was identified as the so-called 'Upper Palaeolithic Revolution' which occurred in Ice Age Europe around 40,000 years ago, resulting in the displacement of the local Neanderthals by anatomically modern Homo sapiens, with their sophisticated ivory tools, carved figurines and cave paintings. More recently, archaeologists have come to realise that if we can speak of a 'human revolution' at all, it happened tens of thousands of years earlier, in sub-Saharan Africa rather than Europe. This means that the revolution was inseparable from the emergence of modern Homo sapiens in Africa between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago.[2]

From the mid-1990s and as of 2010, archaeological revelations from the African Middle Stone Age have transformed our picture of the timing of symbolic culture's emergence. Until the early 1990s, the prevailing view of the "human revolution" was concerned with Europe and focused on the Upper Palaeolithic Revolution, which was seen as humanity's "Great Leap Forward". Recent discoveries from Africa have made some researchers controversially claim symbolic activity before 40,000 years ago. Researchers diverge in their positions concerning the timeline for symbolic culture's emergence.
Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens: a Brief History has gathered attentions from both academics and laypeople alike; I
praise the simplicity and accessibility of style; then, he seems to be claiming that something special
happened from 70,000 to 40,000 years ago.
He also made the questionable term "cognitive revolution" popular.
 

notgivenaway

Ad Honorem
Jun 2015
5,767
UK
it's not a concept.
It's just from around 60,000 years, we find artistic artefacts. Before this point, we don't.
So clearly there is a reason why there is this cut off point.
 

specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,405
Australia
... that depends where you look. Some artifacts in Australia are dated between 65000 and 80000 .

So, unless Australia had its own separate 'cognitive revolution ' , they must have been 'cognate' before they came here - pushing the dates back further .

(Which , I think, is the more recent view on dates of cognative revolution ... way back before 60, 000 years and centered in Africa .)
 

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,662
Florania
... that depends where you look. Some artifacts in Australia are dated between 65000 and 80000 .

So, unless Australia had its own separate 'cognitive revolution ' , they must have been 'cognate' before they came here - pushing the dates back further .

(Which , I think, is the more recent view on dates of cognative revolution ... way back before 60, 000 years and centered in Africa .)
Then, it was certain that something separated modern Homo sapiens sapiens from archaic Homo sapiens sapiens; Harari called it "organization by fictions and myths".
 

specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,405
Australia
The 'change' ( in cognition ) seems to be identified by artifacts, art, 'religion' etc . ie. the development of human culture . I thought archaic HSS
had started to develop culture ?

However that is the 'development ' of those traits ... not the 'organization' of them ' . I suppose the 'organization' is the process of using that trait, not just for toolmaking but for imagining possible scenarios , the different ways they might play out and what responses and reactions would be best. Most of these 'lines of though' will not eventuate , but they need to be thought through as possibilities. The best plans for actions and responses then may have been collated into myths and stories . Nearly all initiation rites (where people are turned from 'human animals into men - ie. they begin to learn their socio-cultural responsibilities) , are based on stories of ancestors or heroes actions and choices, which, in various ways, the initiate is supposed to emulate .

I have also noted in my studies the incredable capacity of such a mind to store and call up information about a vast range of subjects .

The prime difference that 'Humans' seem to have developed is in the imagination. My theory is this became expressed through tool making.

When I first started studying Anthropology ( over 40 years ago ) 'Man' was defined as 'the toolmaker' . But then we realized that other animals make simple tools. But man makes complex tools, what is the difference ?

Man seems able to foresee .... to plan ahead and visualize. He made tools and took them with him, not made them on the spot as needed. The visualizing and imagining is exhibited more in a multi use tool. That combined with the large brain and the dexterous hands , and the feedback from practical use, to make any modifications all helped the visualization process , the development of the imagination , until, at some point , it got 'more organized' .

It still surprises me today how vivid some people's imagination is and how much some lack that ability. I noticed this a couple of years back. The guys in martial arts club often wonder how I came up with some of the stuff I do, or learn forms so quickly. I asked them if they practice in bed . I got a big " HUH ? " and was asked what I meant .

"You know .... lying in bed before you go to sleep . I imagine myself standing on the floor and practicing forms and correcting mistakes . I try out techniques on imaginary opponents to see if they work or not . "

and they all are standing around ..... :oops:

I think they all think I am a bit strange .

Same at work .... mate rushes up in a panic raving techno stuff I cant comprehend about how his equipment isnt working, and insisting I have to and I can help him, but I cant even comprehend what he is saying - you will have to explain, in terms I can understand how it is supposed to work . When he does that, I can imagine the process and usually detect where it has broken down. Then I will give feedback ... in the dumb terms was first explained to me ... he will give me a weird look ... think and then exclaim something like " Of course ! I'm an idiot, it must be the comfubulator rubbing on the whatsit and shorting out the fliflam (or whatever the hell he is saying ) . Thanks ! " and rushes off . But I dont really know what he is talking about ... and HE is the expert in that field . To me, that demonstrates the great advantage of good visualization / imagination ability.

I can see the advantage in individuals ... it is a tremendous advantage for a whole species ! But not everyone has it . Which leads me to think that maybe back then not everyone had it OR a lot of us have lost it due to 'development' , modern lifestyles, etc. Or it morphed into more and more complex symbolics which made advanced technology possible ..... like ;

1564004781187.png

Nope ! Dont have clue what that means .... but others might wizzzz through it .


I found this nook interesting , it is about the ongoing development and elaborations of the faculty , after its early 'organization'


1564003958874.png
 
Jul 2012
774
Australia
... that depends where you look. Some artifacts in Australia are dated between 65000 and 80000 .

So, unless Australia had its own separate 'cognitive revolution ' , they must have been 'cognate' before they came here - pushing the dates back further .

(Which , I think, is the more recent view on dates of cognative revolution ... way back before 60, 000 years and centered in Africa .)

In his essay "The impact of the concept of Culture on the concept of Man" found in his 1973 collection of essays: The Interpretation of Culture, Clifford Geertz argues that the process of acquiring cognition took perhaps a million years, and was possible only by the accompanied development of culture, which means that man's biological evolution was dependant on some sort of cultural evolution as well.

Here are some passages on the matter.....


Culture, the accumulated totality of such patterns, is not just an ornament of human existence but the principal basis of its specificity — an essential condition for it.

.....the realization that man is, in physical terms, an incomplete, an unfinished, animal; that what sets him off most graphically from non-men is less his sheer ability to learn (great as that is) than how much and what particular sorts of things he has to learn before he is able to function at all.


The traditional view of the relations between the biological and the cultural advance of man was that the former, the biological, was for all intents and purposes completed before the latter, the cultural, began.
..........
At some particular stage in his phylogenetic history, a marginal genetic change of some sort rendered him capable of producing and carrying culture, and thenceforth his form of adaptive response to environmental pressures was almost exclusively cultural rather than genetic.
.........
After that magical moment, the advance of the hominids depended almost entirely on cultural accumulation, on the slow growth of conventional practices, rather than, as it had for ages past, on physical organic change.
........
The only trouble is that such a moment does not seem to have existed.


Thus, as at least elemental forms of cultural, or if you wish protocultural, activity (simple tool-making, hunting, and so on) seem to have been present among some of the Australopithecines, there was an overlap—of, as I say, well over a million years between the beginning of culture and the appearance of man as we know him today. The precise dates — which are tentative and which further research may later alter in one direction or another — are not critical; what is critical is that there was an overlap and that it was a very extended one. The final phases (final to date, at any rate) of the phylogenetic history of man took place in the same grand geological era—the so-called Ice Age — as the initial phases of his cultural history. Men have birthdays, but man does not. What this means is that culture, rather than being added on, so to speak, to a finished or virtually finished animal, was ingredient, and centrally ingredient, in the production of that animal itself

Between the cultural pattern, the body, and the brain, a positive feedback system was created in which each shaped the progress of the other, a system in which the interaction among increasing tool use, the changing anatomy of the hand, and the expanding representation of the thumb on the cortex is only one of the more graphic examples. By submitting himself to governance by symbolically mediated programs for producing artifacts, organizing social life, or expressing emotions, man determined, if unwittingly, the culminating stages of his own biological destiny. Quite literally, though quite inadvertently, he created himself.
.........
Most bluntly, it suggests that there is no such thing as a human nature independent of culture. Men without culture would not be the clever savages of Golding’s Lord of the Flies thrown back upon the cruel wisdom of their animal instincts; nor would they be the nature’s noblemen of Enlightenment primitivism or even, as classical anthropological theory would imply, intrinsically talented apes who had somehow failed to find themselves. They would be unworkable monstrosities with very few useful instincts, fewer recognizable sentiments, and no intellect: mental basket cases. As our central nervous system—and most particularly its crowning curse and glory, the neo-cortex—grew up in great part in interaction with culture, it is incapable of directing our behavior or organizing our experience without the guidance provided by systems of significant symbols. What happened to us in the Ice Age is that we were obliged to abandon the regularity and precision of detailed genetic control over our conduct for the flexibility and adaptability of a more generalized, though of course no less real, genetic control over it. To supply the additional information necessary to be able to act, we were forced, in turn, to rely more and more heavily on cultural sources—the accumulated fund of significant symbols. Such symbols are thus not mere expressions, instrumentalities, or correlates of our biological, psychological, and social existence; they are prerequisites of it. Without men, no culture, certainly; but equally, and more significantly, without culture, no men.


You can read the full essay here: http://web.mit.edu/allanmc/www/geertz.pdf .