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How Homo Became SapiensOn the evolution of thinking$
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Peter Gardenfors

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198528517

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198528517.001.0001

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Thinking from an evolutionary perspective

Thinking from an evolutionary perspective

(p.1) Chapter 1 Thinking from an evolutionary perspective
How Homo Became Sapiens

Peter Gärdenfors

Oxford University Press

Since the inception of the scientific theory of evolution of Charles Darwin in 1859, another question arises — how are humans different from their distant cousins the chimpanzee and bonobo? The difference of course lies in our ability to think and to communicate through systematic sets of codes. This chapter discusses the complexity of human thinking — the components of thinking and how this process has evolved. Thinking is the most central feature of consciousness. Thinking is a complex combination of sensation, attention, emotion, memory (procedural, semantic, and episodic), thought and imagination, planning, self-consciousness, free will, and language. The four sources of empirical support cited in this study are: phylogeny, neurophysiology, ontogeny, and archaeology (and anthropology). It also discusses the four-step model for the development of consciousness. Lastly, this chapter discusses how thinking is related to the behaviourist approach of Frederic Skinner.

Keywords:   Charles Darwin, communication, consciousness, memory, free will, phylogeny, neurophysiology, ontogeny, archaeology, Frederic Skinner

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