Phase 2: Continuing CEACB projects (phase 1): Project 034|
Minds in Prehistory: Conceptual Issues in the Archaeology and Evolution of Mind
SUPERVISOR: - Stephen Shennan
Stephen Shennan (Institute of Archaeology, University College London)
PROJECT FUNDING: PhD
Wittgenstein's linguistic insights ('meaning is in use'), and a subsequent Wittgensteinian analysis of mind ('mind is manifest in behaviour'), have a profound impact on how we can sensibly use psychological language in archaeological interpretation, and in the way in which it makes sense to talk about the evolution of the mind.
This project seeks to understand just what we can (and cannot) say about the mind in prehistory, and how we can do so. Specifically it seeks to explore how we can use psychological language when in prehistory the ordinary criteria of such use (language, bodily and facial posture, behaviour, and context) are often highly degraded or absent.
Four psychological terms('consciousness', 'intention', 'thought', and 'knowledge') will be assessed in relation to the archaeological case study of Homo neanderthalensis in western Europe from c.60,000 to 35,000bp.
Finally it will explore, both in the light of the nature of these specific psychological terms, and with regard to the practical limitations on their use imposed by the archaeological record, in what sense, and to what extent, we can talk about the evolution of the mind.
FINAL PROJECT REPORT:
Delete from website?
No update, except to note the tragic death of Ben Samphire, killed while working on a primate study field project in Ecuador in 2009. Thesis successfully completed in 2007 and PhD degree awarded.