Neanderthal cognitive equivalence: Epistemological problems and a critical analysis from radical embodiment

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Dokumentart: PhDThesis
Date: 2015
Source: Cognitive perspectives in tool behaviour ; 2
Language: English
Faculty: 7 Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Geographie, Geoökologie, Geowissenschaft
Advisor: Harvati, Katerina (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2015-07-07
DDC Classifikation: 500 - Natural sciences and mathematics
550 - Earth sciences
Keywords: Neandertal
Other Keywords:
radical embodiment
early body ornaments
cognitive archaeology
material engagement
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The current project consists of three interconnected components. First, it aims to establish an epistemological framework for selecting alternative theories in the cognitive archaeology domain. Second, it purposes to eliminate the conditions of necessity that are considered to connect the production and use of early body ornaments to abstract shared concepts and theory of mind. Third, it aims to argue that material engagement with non-symbolic material scaffolds is necessary to the emergence of symbolism and meta-representational abilities. A combination of notions from radical embodied cognitive science and situated concepts it is used to support this eliminativist attempt. Overall, this analysis aims to advance some doubts on the idea that the presence of early body ornaments in the archaeological record of Middle Palaeolithic populations constrains the existence of mental capabilities that are considered as signature of modern human cognition. If embodied strategies could be in principle implemented by primitive mental architectures to produce early body ornaments, then these artefacts would not suffice to prove the thesis of cognitive equivalence between ornament-makers and modern populations.

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