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Likeness-Making and the Evolution of Cognition

Greif, Hajo (2021) Likeness-Making and the Evolution of Cognition. [Preprint]


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Paleontological evidence suggests that human artefacts with intentional markings might have originated already in the Lower Paleolithic, up to 500.000 years ago and well before the advent of 'behavioural modernity'. These markings apparently did not serve instrumental, tool-like functions, nor do they appear to be forms of figurative art. Instead, they display abstract geometric patterns that potentially testify to an emerging ability of symbol use. In a variation on Ian Hacking's speculative account of the possible role of "likeness-making" in the evolution of human cognition and language, this essay explores the central role that the embodied processes of making and the collective practices of using such artefacts might have played in early human cognitive evolution. Two paradigmatic findings of Lower Paleolithic artefacts are discussed as tentative evidence of likenesses acting as material scaffolds in the emergence of symbolic reference-making. They might provide the link between basic abilities of mimesis and imitation and the development of modern language and thought.

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Item Type: Preprint
Greif, Hajomail@hajo-greif.net0000-0002-1003-7494
Additional Information: Accepted version of manuscript (pre-print) for Biology & Philosophy
Keywords: Evolution of cognition; Co-evolution; Scaffolding; Mimesis; Symbolic reference; Iconic reference; 4E cognition
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Specific Sciences > Cultural Evolution
Depositing User: Dr. Hajo Greif
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2021 05:36
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2021 05:36
Item ID: 19943
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Specific Sciences > Cultural Evolution
Date: 26 November 2021

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