The Cradle of Humanity: A Psychological and Phenomenological Perspective

Cosmos and History 13 (3):54-76 (2017)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
We present an account of the evolutionary development of the experiences of empathy that marked the beginning of morality and art. We argue that aesthetic and moral capacities provided an important foundation for later epistemic developments. The distinction between phenomenal consciousness and attention is discussed, and a role for phenomenology in cognitive archeology is justified-critical sources of evidence used in our analysis are based on the archeological record. We claim that what made our species unique was a form of meditative and empathic thinking that made large-scale human cooperation possible through pre-linguistic, empathic communication. A critical aspect of this proposal is that the transformation that led to the dawn of our species was not initially driven by semantic or epistemic factors, although clearly, these factors increased the gap between us and other species dramatically later on. Our proposal suggests that recent philosophy of mind and psychology might have "epistemicized" phenomenal consciousness too much by construing it in terms of semantic content rather than by describing it in terms of empathic and meditative thinking. Instead of the prevailing approach, we favor the type of subjectivity that is fundamentally "other-involving" as essential, because on our account, a necessary condition for subjectivity is the empathic understanding of other individuals' psychology, not through inference or judgment, but through immediate conscious engagement.
Keywords
No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories
No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
MONTCO-30
Revision history
Archival date: 2019-03-11
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

View all 19 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2017-11-22

Total views
11 ( #39,763 of 40,103 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #33,921 of 40,103 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.