•  63
    Why Consciousness Conferences Are Not Really Getting Us Anywhere
    with Tjiniman Murinbata
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (6): 81-85. 2000.
    In 1998 I asked my friend Tjiniman, who is a stone-age hunter, to give us his non-western perspective on ‘Tucson III’ (Murinbata&Whitehead, 1998).Most people thought I just made Tjiniman up and the whole thing was intended as a joke, and he has spent the last two years worrying about this. Since then he has gained a modest BSc in Social Anthropology, though in my view the examiners failed to appreciate some of his less obvious insights, and he deserved a higher mark. He now has a better unders…Read more
  •  62
    It is now more than twenty years since Knight (1987) first presented his paradigm-shifting theory of how and why the ‘human revolution’ occurred — and had to occur — in modern humans who, as climates dried under ice age conditions and African rainforests shrank, found themselves surrounded by vast prairies and savannahs, with rich herds of game animals roaming across them. The temptation for male hunters, far from any home base, to eat the best portions of meat at the kill site — as do other soc…Read more
  •  46
    Do you think the quotation in my title is reasonable or unreasonable? I find it unreasonable, but I know that many will not. Two people can react to the same idea, opinion, or data in opposite ways, and the reasons for this are often ideological. Ideology always has a political origin — in this case perhaps reflecting turf wars, career promotion, self-legitimation, the privileged status of science in post-industrial societies, and the need to say the right things in order to get research …Read more
  •  28
    Children seem to have a profound implicit knowledge of human behaviour, because they laugh at Bugs Bunny cartoons where much of the humour depends on animals behaving like humans and our intuitive recognition that this is absurd. Scientists, on the other hand, have problems defining what this 'human difference' is. I suggest these problems are of cultural origin. For example, the industrial revolution and the protestant work ethic have created a world in which work is valued over play, object in…Read more