Critiques & Responses Part 1

Miscellaneous Critiques

Marcel Kuijsten
Julian Jaynes Society

“Reflexive rejection of novel concepts is the antithesis of discovery.”
− Michael Persinger, Ph.D. in Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness

Below are a selection of published critiques of Julian Jaynes’s theory, followed by brief responses or references to more lengthy responses. Please also see Parts 2 and 3. For responses to general myths and misconceptions, please see Myths vs. Facts About Julian Jaynes’s Theory.

1. Critiques Regarding the Nature of Consciousness

1.1. Consciousness is Biologically Innate and Not Based on Language Misconception (Ned Block; John Smythies)

2. Critiques Regarding Bicameral Mentality & Jaynes’s Neurological Model

2.1. Confusing the Split-Brain with the Bicameral Mind (Robert Sapolsky)

2.2. Not Enough Evolutionary Time for Physiological Changes to the Brain Misconception (Cavanna, et al.; D.M. Johnson; W.R. Klemm; Fernyhough; S.A. McDaniel)

2.3. Right Hemisphere Not Involved in Hallucinations Misconception (Klemm; Asaad & Shapiro)

2.4. Brain Lateralization Misconception (Michael Corballis)

2.5. Only the Left Hemisphere is Conscious Misconception (Michael Corballis)

2.6. Modern Religious People Don’t Hallucinate Misconception (W.R. Klemm)

2.7. Confusion Regarding Schizophrenia as a Vestige of the Bicameral Mind (Iain McGilchrist)

3. Critiques Regarding Bicameral Mentality in Ancient History

3.1. On the Alleged Lack of Evidence for Bicameral Hallucinations in Mesopotamia (McCarthy-Jones)

3.2. The encounter with the god Markduk in Ludlul Bel Nemeqi should be taken metaphorically rather than literally. (McCarthy-Jones)

3.3. Jaynes’s claim of the king kneeling before an empty throne of Tukulti-Ninurta is incorrect. (McCarthy-Jones)

4. Critiques Regarding the Dating of Consciousness (The Iliad and the Old Testament)

4.1. The Presence of Consciousness in the Iliad Misconception (Leudar and Thomas)

4.2. The Presence of Consciousness in the Book of Daniel Misconception (D.M. Johnson)