The Neurocognitive Revolution: Triumph or Undoing?

Southern Nights

Donald Donald in his Origins of the Modern Mind: Three Stages in the Evolution of Culture and Cognition (1993) once argued the australopithecines were limited to concrete/episodic minds: bipedal creatures able to benefit from pair-bonding, cooperative hunting, etc., but essentially of a seize-the-day mentality: the immediacy of the moment. The first transition away from the instant, the present, and toward a more temporal system of knowledge acquisition and transmission was to a “mimetic” culture: the era of Homo erectus in which mankind absorbed and refashioned events to create rituals, crafts, rhythms, dance, and other prelinguistic traditions. This was followed by the evolution to mythic cultures: the result of the acquisition of speech and the invention of symbols. The third transition carried oral speech to reading, writing, and an extended external memory – store seen today in computer and advanced machine or artificial Intelligence and extrinsic data-memory technologies.

At the same time that our external…

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