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- DescriptionIs it in our nature to be altruistic, or evil, to make art, use tools, or create language? Is it in our nature to think in any particular way? For Daniel L. Everett, the answer is a resounding : it isn't in our nature to do any of these things because human nature does t exist at least t as we usually think of it. Flying in the face of major trends in Evolutionary Psychology and related fields, he offers a provocative and compelling argument in this book that the only thing humans are hardwired for is freedom: freedom from evolutionary instinct and freedom to adapt to a variety of environmental and cultural contexts. Everett sketches a blank-slate picture of human cognition that focuses t on what is in the mind but, rather, what the mind is in namely, culture. He draws on years of field research among the Amazonian people of the Pirah? in order to carefully scrutinize various theories of cognitive instinct, including Noam Chomsky's foundational concept of universal grammar, Freud's tions of unconscious forces, Adolf Bastian's psychic unity of mankind, and works on massive modularity by evolutionary psychologists such as Leda Cosmides, John Tooby, Jerry Fodor, and Steven Pinker. Illuminating unique characteristics of the Pirah? language, he demonstrates just how differently various cultures can make us think and how vital culture is to our cognitive flexibility. Outlining the ways culture and individual psychology operate symbiotically, he posits a Buddhist-like conception of the cultural self as a set of experiences united by various apperceptions, episodic memories, ranked values, kwledge structures, and social roles and t, in any shape or form, biological instinct. The result is fascinating portrait of the dark matter of the mind, one that shows that our greatest evolutionary adaptation is adaptability itself.
- Author BiographyDaniel L. Everett is the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He is the author of many books, including Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes; Language: The Cultural Tool; and Linguistic Fieldwork: A Student Guide. His life and work is also the subject of a documentary film, The Grammar of Happiness.
- Author(s)Daniel L. Everett
- PublisherThe University of Chicago Press
- Date of Publication16/12/2016
- SubjectPsychology: Professional & General
- Place of PublicationChicago, IL
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintUniversity of Chicago Press
- Weight658 g
- Width152 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine30 mm
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