Beyond writing: The development of literacy in the Ancient Near East

Cambridge Archaeological Journal 2 (26):285–303 (2016)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
Previous discussions of the origins of writing in the Ancient Near East have not incorporated the neuroscience of literacy, which suggests that when southern Mesopotamians wrote marks on clay in the late-fourth millennium, they inadvertently reorganized their neural activity, a factor in manipulating the writing system to reflect language, yielding literacy through a combination of neurofunctional change and increased script fidelity to language. Such a development appears to take place only with a sufficient demand for writing and reading, such as that posed by a state-level bureaucracy; the use of a material with suitable characteristics; and the production of marks that are conventionalized, handwritten, simple, and non-numerical. From the perspective of Material Engagement Theory, writing and reading represent the interactivity of bodies, materiality, and brains: movements of hands, arms, and eyes; clay and the implements used to mark it and form characters; and vision, motor planning, object recognition, and language. Literacy is a cognitive change that emerges from and depends upon the nexus of interactivity of the components.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
OVEBWT
Upload history
Archival date: 2019-11-01
View other versions
Added to PP index
2019-11-01

Total views
271 ( #20,003 of 57,027 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
105 ( #5,528 of 57,027 )

How can I increase my downloads?

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