Brain Size

Discussion of Julian Jaynes's third hypothesis - dating the development of consciousness to roughly 1500-1200 BCD in Egypt, Greece, and Mesopotamia (the transition occurred at different times in different places around the world). Includes analysis of ancient texts (such as the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Bible), linguistics, and archeological evidence from ancient civilizations as it pertains to the transition from the bicameral mind to consciousness.
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Brain Size

Post by grpugh » ... linda+beck

The above links to an article in the WSJ. The author notes that our brains have shrunk 10 percent in the last 5000 years. Might not that link to the issues of the bicameral mind?
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Re: Brain Size

Post by Moderator »

Perhaps very tangentially in the sense that it demonstrates that there have in fact been changes to the brain over the course of much shorter time scales than previously thought possible.

Gregory Cochran has written on the topic of recent evolution and brain changes with regards to Jaynes's theory. See his book "The 10,000 Year Explosion." Although I don't think he specifically discusses Jaynes in this book he does elsewhere.
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Re: Brain Size

Post by bfinn »

Yes, I've recently read The 10,000 Year Explosion which I strongly recommend. He doesn't mention Jaynes however.

The main gist of the book is that human evolution didn't stop with the birth of agriculture & civilisation (as is often assumed) - on the contrary, it has sped up. Indeed the authors contend that one reason the Industrial Revolution occurred when it did rather than centuries (or millennia) earlier is due to evolutionary improvements in IQ and/or other abilities; perhaps that a critical mass of people with certain innate abilities (e.g. above a certain IQ) was required for it to come about.
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