Not So Exceptional: Away from Chomskian Saltationism and Towards a Naturally Gradual Account of Mindfulness

In Liz Stillwaggon Swan (ed.), Origins of Mind. New York: Springer Verlag. pp. 289--299 (2012)
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Abstract

It is argued that a chief obstacle to a naturalistic explanation of the origins of mind is human exceptionalism, as exempli fi ed in the seventeenth century by René Descartes and in the twentieth century by Noam Chomsky. As an antidote to human exceptionalism, we turn to the account of aesthetic judgment in Charles Darwin’s Descent of Man , according to which the mental capacities of humans differ from those of lower animals only in degree, and not in kind. Thoroughgoing naturalistic explanation of these capacities is made easier by shifting away from the substance-metaphysical implications of the search for an account of mind , toward a dispositional account of the origins of mindfulness .

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Alex Levine
University of South Florida
Andrew M. Winters
Yavapai College

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References found in this work

Aspects of the Theory of Syntax.Noam Chomsky - 1965 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
On the origin of species.Charles Darwin - 1964 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Gillian Beer.
An enquiry concerning human understanding.David Hume - 2000 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. New York, NY, United States of America: Oxford University Press USA. pp. 112.

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