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In this compelling new work, Peter Gardenfors attempts to solve one of the big mysteries surrounding human existence - the evolution of complex thought. He starts by taking in turn the more basic cognitive processes, such as attention and memory, then builds upon these to explore more complex behaviours, such as self-consciousness, mindreading and imitation. He then examines the consequences of "putting thought into the world" - using external media like cave paintings, drawings, and writing.
1. THINKING FROM AN EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVE; 1.1 The human family tree; 1.2 Enter Homo; 1.3 What is to be explained: the components of thought; 1.4 Four sources of empirical support; 1.5 Early stages in the evolution of thought; 1.6 Skinnerian beings; 2. SENSATION, PERCEPTION AND IMAGINATION; 2.1 Sensations: being aware of the world; 2.2 The art of aiming - why chimpanzees cannot throw darts; 2.3 Perceptions: seeing the world; 2.4 Categorical perception: sorting the world into boxes; 2.5 Object permanence: the world outside our sensations; 2.6 The art of chasing a mouse; 2.7 Going between the senses; 2.8 Causal reasoning: finding the invisible threads; 2.9 A room with a view; 2.10 Imagination: detaching the senses; 3. THE WORLD WITHIN; 3.1 Popperian beings; 3.2 Representations and the brain; 3.3 Pretense: playing in the inner world; 3.4 Directing thought: intentionality; 3.5 Imitation - why apes cannot ape; 3.6 Planning - why the squirrel does not plan for the winter; 3.7 Ockham's razor; 3.8 Thinking about tomorrow; 3.9 Making tools; 3.10 The human dilemma; 4. READING OTHER PEOPLE'S MINDS; 4.1 Levels of theory of mind; 4.2 Understanding emotions; 4.3 Understanding attention; 4.4 Understanding intentions; 4.5 Understanding what others know; 4.6 Deception; 4.7 Machiavellian intelligence; 4.8 Autism: when there are gaps in the inner world; 5. SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS; 5.1 What is self-consciousness?; 5,2 Animals for themselves: Why baboons do not wear lipstick; 5.3 Communication, attention, and consciousness; 5.4 It's not rude to point; 5.5 You and I; 5.6 The mirror of the soul; 5.7 Free will; 5.8 Consciousness and morality - why vervets are incapacitated; 6. THE DAWN OF LANGUAGE; 6.1 Signals and symbols; 6.2 ... and icons; 6.3 Linguistic communication and higher-order intentions; 6.4 Animals' linguistic capacity; 6.5 Kanzi - at the brink of language; 6.6 How children learn language; 6.7 Miming as intentional communication; 6.8 Keeping time - why chimps do not play in the circus orchestra; 7. THE ORIGIN OF SPEECH; 7.1 Why just humans?; 7.2 Consciousness and language; 7.3 The gossip theory; 7.4 Sharing visions for the future - co-operation begets language; 7.5 Language as a social marker; 7.6 Motherese; 7.7 Proto-language; 7.8 The role of grammar; 7.9 Myths and narratives; 7.10 Language in the brain; 7.11 Where are the meanings of words?; 8. EXTERNALISING THE INNER WORLD; 8.1 External memories; 8.2 The development of writing; 8.3 The influence of writing on thought; 8.4 Science: the world of theories; 8.5 Drifting thought - and the selfish meme; 8.6 Detached identity; 8.7 The open person; Epilogue
Gardenfors presents a wealth of thought-provoking information and discussion, with a well-argued viewpoint, in a clear style. JBE, Vol. 40, No. 4 ... well written and admirably succinct. Although it has an argument to make, it does so in a fair and evenhanded way. This would make a good introduction for anyone venturing into the evolution of mind literature for the first time. Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol 79, No 4