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The Recursive Mind: The Origins of Human Language, Thought, and Civilization - Updated Edition by [Corballis, Michael C.]
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The Recursive Mind: The Origins of Human Language, Thought, and Civilization - Updated Edition Kindle Edition


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Length: 297 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English

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Review

The Recursive Mind: The Origins of Human Language, Thought, and Civilization, is a fascinating and well-grounded exposition of the nature and power of recursion. In its ultra-reasonable way, this is quite a revolutionary book because it attacks key notions about language and thought. Most notably, it disputes the idea, argued especially by linguist Noam Chomsky, that thought is fundamentally linguistic--in other words, you need language before you can have thoughts. -- Liz Else, New Scientist

Product Description

The Recursive Mind challenges the commonly held notion that language is what makes us uniquely human. In this compelling book, Michael Corballis argues that what distinguishes us in the animal kingdom is our capacity for recursion: the ability to embed our thoughts within other thoughts. "I think, therefore I am," is an example of recursive thought, because the thinker has inserted himself into his thought. Recursion enables us to conceive of our own minds and the minds of others. It also gives us the power of mental "time travel"--the ability to insert past experiences, or imagined future ones, into present consciousness.


Drawing on neuroscience, psychology, animal behavior, anthropology, and archaeology, Corballis demonstrates how these recursive structures led to the emergence of language and speech, which ultimately enabled us to share our thoughts, plan with others, and reshape our environment to better reflect our creative imaginations. He shows how the recursive mind was critical to survival in the harsh conditions of the Pleistocene epoch, and how it evolved to foster social cohesion. He traces how language itself adapted to recursive thinking, first through manual gestures, then later, with the emergence of Homo sapiens, vocally. Toolmaking and manufacture arose, and the application of recursive principles to these activities in turn led to the complexities of human civilization, the extinction of fellow large-brained hominins like the Neandertals, and our species' supremacy over the physical world.

Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4255 KB
  • Print Length: 297 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Revised edition (27 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IRL3L7I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #484,928 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com

Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars 14 reviews
Matthew Rapaport
4.0 out of 5 starsA plausible look at the central place of recursive thought in the development of modern consciousness and language.
14 September 2016 - Published on Amazon.com
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One person found this helpful.
Trippedonearth
5.0 out of 5 starsanother must-read book for anthropology!
27 May 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
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Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 starsA very well written book by Michael Corballis. It ...
11 May 2018 - Published on Amazon.com
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P. Berry
3.0 out of 5 starsKey insight breezily sketched
17 January 2015 - Published on Amazon.com
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13 people found this helpful.
readsalot
4.0 out of 5 starsA good enough book, well worth reading, the author is good at poking fun at himself.
11 June 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
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One person found this helpful.