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Ben Jeffares
Australian National University (PhD)
  1. The Evolution of Technical Competence: Economic and Strategic Thinking.Ben Jeffares - 2010 - ASCS09: Proceedings of the 9th Conference of the Australasian Society for Cognitive Science.
    This paper will outline a series of changes in the archaeological record related to Hominins. I argue that these changes underlie the emergence of the capacity for strategic thinking. The paper will start by examining the foundation of technical skills found in primates, and then work through various phases of the archaeological and paleontological record. I argue that the key driver for the development of strategic thinking was the need to expand range sizes and cope with increasingly heterogeneous environments.
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  2. Testing Times: Confirmation in the Historical Sciences.Ben Jeffares - 2008 - Dissertation, Australian National University
    In this thesis, I argue that a good historical science will have the following characteristics: Firstly, it will seek to construct causal histories of the past. Secondly, the construction of these causal histories will utilise well-tested regularities of science. Additionally, well-tested regularities will secure the link between observations of physical traces and the causal events of interest. However, the historical sciences cannot use these regularities in a straightforward manner. The regularities must accommodate the idiosyncrasies of the past, and the degradation (...)
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  3. The Scope and Limits of Biological Explanations in Archaeology.Ben Jeffares - 2003 - Dissertation, Victoria University of Wellington
    I show how archaeologists have two problems. The construction of scenarios accounting for the raw data of Archaeology, the material remains of the past, and the explanation of pre-history. Within Archaeology, there has been an ongoing debate about how to constrain speculation within both of these archaeological projects, and archaeologists have consistently looked to biological mechanisms for constraints. I demonstrate the problems of using biology, either as an analogy for cultural processes or through direct application of biological principles to material (...)
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