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Greek Zombies: On the Alleged Absurdity of Substantially Unconscious Greek Minds

Jan Sleutels
In Marcel Kuijsten (ed.), Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness: Julian Jaynes's Bicameral Mind Theory Revisited (Julian Jaynes Society, 2006).


... Even if Kant is right in his analysis of consciousness, this does not necessarily invalidate Jaynes's claims about the mental life of earlier cultures. It is far from inconceivable that earlier minds were not minds in the Kantian sense. As is well-known, Kant tied his account of the transcendental ego very closely to the historical conditions of Western science. Kant himself was fully aware of the fact that his view of the mind was specifically calibrated to meet the requirements of a number of scientific disciplines (specifically Aristotelian logic, Euclidean geometry, Arabian arithmetic, and Newtonian physics). Now, the Mycenaean Greeks and other putatively bicameral people were quite obviously strangers to that intellectual enterprise. That their minds may have been profoundly different from the minds shaped by Kant's needs is a very real possibility indeed. ...