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Selected Books by Edmund Blair Bolles

  • Galileo's Commandment: 2500 Years of Great Science Writing
  • The Ice Finders: How a Poet, a Professor, and a Politician Discovered the Ice Age
  • Einstein Defiant: Genius vs Genius in the Quantum Revolution

« The Workings of Co-Evolution | Main | Building a New Brain from Old Parts »

Comments

JoseAngel

There's another issue associated with tools and toolmaking (especially when tools are involved in toolmaking). There is a rearrangement of attention and of the sense of body limits, so that the body of the tool wielder includes the tool so to speak. This would seem to be if not exclusive to human beings then at least greatly developed in them, and one would think it involves a reflexive sense of one's bodily alterations, and the enhancement of corresponding neurological paths (possibly a circuit which enables a complex feedback of information between intentions, process schemata and sense data). Even if the neurological paths for tools and those for language are not the same, and don't let's forget that signs are (to some extent) tools, one may suppose that the neurological flexibility required to develop those neural paths might have an indirect effect on the development of the feedback and reprojection paths needed for language processing and advanced conceptualization.

Jesus Sanchis

Many scientists, like the ones mentioned in this post, have tried to draw conclusions from the study of pre-historic stone-tools. But I see a problem in this. What about the other tools used in those pre-historic times? These objects, made of wood or other non-durable materials, do not appear in the archaeological record, but we must assume they existed. How complex were these objects a few million years ago? What kind of parallel mental processes could they imply? This is why I think the analysis of stone tools in isolation cannot yield far-reaching conclusions.
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BLOGGER: Although the point is valid, I don't think you need to despair. Evolutionary evidence rests on the few odd survivors. Soft tissue does not survive. Most bones are not fossilized. Yet by dint of hard work a much more complete account of lost times has appeared than once seemed possible. In this game, you go with what you've got and see where it takes you. My African students used to make tools out of the vegetation. Maybe Homo habilis did too. Who knows? But the fact that we cannot know everything does not mean we cannot know anything.

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