August 18, 2010
So what really makes us human?
Here’s a pdf file of Chapter 2 of my book draft, Finding the Li: Towards a Democracy of Consciousness. This chapter’s called “So What Really Makes Us Human?” It traces human evolution over several million years, reviewing Merlin Donald’s idea of mimetic culture and the crucial breakthrough of “theory of mind.” It examines the “social brain hypothesis” and explores the current thinking in “altruistic punishment” as a key to our unique human capability for empathy and group values. Finally, it looks at how social intelligence metamorphosed into cognitive fluidity, and how the pfc’s newly evolving connective abilities enabled humans to discover the awesome power of symbols.
As always, constructive comments and critiques from readers of my blog are warmly welcomed.