Chapter

On the recent origin of symbolically-mediated language and its implications for psychological science

Andrew Lock

in The Descent of Mind

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780192632593
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191670497 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192632593.003.0017
On the recent origin of symbolically-mediated language and its implications for psychological science

Show Summary Details

Preview

The earliest dates for anatomically-modern human fossil remains are around 100,000 years ago. It would seem that early modern humans had an essentially modern intelligence, and on that basis also had the capacity to act in the ways that later modern humans do. The conclusion to be drawn is that modern human languages were established after the emergence of biological species. The central point to be made in this chapter is that social structures put varying pressures on the communication systems that sustain them, through the different levels of presuppositionality a society's members share with each other. The chapter also points out that human discourse practices is moved from the fringe of psychological science to its centre, for the processes fundamental to the project of the so-called ‘cognitive revolution’ are no longer encapsulated within the head of an individual, but distributed in the symbolically-mediated practices that comprise human cultures, distributed between the individual and the social.

Keywords: humans; intelligence; languages; communication systems; psychological science; cognitive revolution; symbolically-mediated practices; human cultures

Chapter.  16162 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.