The Sapient Paradox: Social Interaction as a Foundation of Mind

November 17, 2016
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Colin Renfrew (University of Cambridge) discussed evolving social behaviour as an indicator of the expansion of intelligent thought in the human race.
Intelligent purposive behaviour is a feature of many species. Yet systematic engagement with the material world takes on a new dimension with the systematic production of tools. Why it took so long for this to develop into more impressive aspects of behaviour seen with the first village communities constitutes the sapient paradox. It will be argued that within the new social relations that then developed lie the key foundations of mind.
Mind is a difficult property to discern and to pin down in early prehistoric communities. Yet the practice of measure, sometimes involving the use of recognisable units, is a valuable indicator. This event was presented by “The Ancient Mind: Mind, Brain, and Society,” a Humanities Futures working group, and co-sponsored by Classical Studies; Art, Art History, & Visual Studies; and the Wired! Lab.
Featuring Colin Renfrew, Senior Fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at the university of Cambridge.