Richard Menary

Enculturating Cognition: From Simple Minds to Talking Heads and Back

Monday, Septemper 24, 2018, 18.30 - 20.00

Venue: Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Luisenstraße 56, Room 144 (ground floor), 10117 Berlin 


How do we get from the simplest kinds of minds to complex minds capable of language and culture? Dennett provides a sweeping account in his recent book, in which he provides a sustained argument for how cultural evolution is key to gradually evolving fully enculturated minds. My own work has been primarily focussed on the mechanisms of enculturation including: Learning driven plasticity, re-use (degeneracy) and cultural canalisation. I’ll propose a way of filling in the details of how enculturation works, taking into account a gradualist explanation of the slow transition from simple minds to fully enculturated talking heads. In closing, I’ll consider some possible objections.


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