Books  Evolutionary Biology  Human Evolution & Anthropology 

Origins of the Modern Mind: Three Stages in the Evolution of Culture and Cognition

By: Merlin Donald (Author)

424 pages, 17 illustrations, 5 tables

Harvard University Press

Paperback | May 1993 | #95357 | ISBN: 0674644840
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £23.95 $29/€27 approx

About this book

This bold book asks the ultimate question of the life sciences: How did the human mind acquire its incomparable power? In seeking the answer, Merlin Donald traces the evolution of human culture and cognition from primitive apes to artificial intelligence, presenting an enterprising and original theory of how the human mind evolved from its presymbolic form.

"Origins of the Modern Mind is an admirable book [...] Its author displays throughout an engaging enthusiasm, a fertile imagination and an impressive knowledge of his subject-matter."
– Christopher Longuet-Higgins, Times Literary Supplement

"A fine, provocative and absorbing account of what makes humans human."
Kirkus Reviews

"Nowadays one hears [...] that hand-held calculators destroy young people's motivation to learn arithmetic. But not to worry, says Merlin Donald, author of this revelatory but demanding history of human consciousness. He welcomes the computer, as well as other forms of electronic storage and manipulation of data and images, including TV, as the highest stage of mental development – and perhaps the final one."
– John Wilkes, Los Angeles Times

"A wonderful book that deserves to be read by everyone interested in the human mind. It weaves together the best available evidence into a convincing theory of cognition, culture, consciousness, and communication – their structure, evolution, meaning, and future."
– Hans Moravec, Carnegie Mellon University

"A radically different evolutionary framework for the understanding of mind and behavior: I don't know when I have enjoyed reading a book more, or when I have learned so much from one."
– Sheldon White, Harvard University


    The Organization of This Book
    Darwin on Animal Intelligence
    A Multidisciplinary Puzzle
    Neuropsychological Aspects of Evolution
    The Case of Brother John
    The Chronology of Anatomical and Cultural Change
    A Recent Innovation
    Episodic Culture
    From Episodic to Mimetic Culture
    From Mimetic to Mythic Culture
    External Symbolic Storage
    Consciousness and Indeterminacy

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Merlin Donald is Emeritus Professor, Department of Psychology Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

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