Tracing the leading role of emotions in the evolution of the mind, a philosopher and a psychologist pair up to reveal how thought and culture owe less to our faculty for reason than to our capacity to feel. Many accounts of the human mind concentrate on the brain’s computational power. Yet, in evolutionary terms, rational cognition emerged only the day before yesterday. For nearly 200 million years before humans developed a capacity to reason, the emotional centers of the brain were (...) hard at work. If we want to properly understand the evolution of the mind, we must explore this more primal capability that we share with other animals: the power to feel. Emotions saturate every thought and perception with the weight of feelings. The Emotional Mind reveals that many of the distinctive behaviors and social structures of our species are best discerned through the lens of emotions. Even the roots of so much that makes us uniquely human—art, mythology, religion—can be traced to feelings of caring, longing, fear, loneliness, awe, rage, lust, playfulness, and more. From prehistoric cave art to the songs of Hank Williams, Stephen T. Asma and Rami Gabriel explore how the evolution of the emotional mind stimulated our species’ cultural expression in all its rich variety. Bringing together insights and data from philosophy, biology, anthropology, neuroscience, and psychology, The Emotional Mind offers a new paradigm for understanding what it is that makes us so unique. (shrink)
In this paper we argue that autobiographical memory can be conceptualized as a mental state resulting from the interplay of a set of psychological capacities?self-reflection, self-agency, self-ownership and personal temporality?that transform a memorial representation into an autobiographical personal experience. We first review evidence from a variety of clinical domains?for example, amnesia, autism, frontal lobe pathology, schizophrenia?showing that breakdowns in any of the proposed components can produce impairments in autobiographical recollection, and conclude that the self-reflection, agency, ownership, and personal temporality are (...) individually necessary and jointly sufficient for autobiographical memorial experience. We then suggest a taxonomy of amnesic disorders derived from consideration of the consequences of breakdown in each of the individual component processes that contribute to the experience of autobiographical recollection. (shrink)
These papers are based on a Symposium at the COGSCI Conference in 2010. 1. Naturalizing the Mammalian Mind 2. Modularity in Cognitive Psychology and Affective Neuroscience 3. Affective Neuroscience and the Philosophy of Self 4. Affective Neuroscience and Law.
An affective approach to culture and cognition may hold the key to uniting findings across experimental psychology and, eventually, the human sciences. Many accounts of the human mind concentrate on the brain’s computational power, yet for nearly 200 million years before humans developed a capacity to reason the emotional centers of the brain were running the show. To attain a clearer picture of the evolution of mind, we challenge the cognitivist and behaviorist paradigms in psychology by exploring how the emotional (...) capacities that we share with other animals saturate every thought and perception. Many of the distinctive social and cultural behaviors of our species, including, bonding, social learning, hierarchy, decision-making, self-identity, can be integrated if we use an affective approach. (shrink)
Metaphors of mind and their elaboration into models serve a crucial explanatory role in psychology. In this article, an attempt is made to describe how biology and engineering provide the predominant metaphors for contemporary psychology. A contrast between the discursive and descriptive functions of metaphor use in theory construction serves as a platform for deliberation upon the pragmatic consequences of models derived therefrom. The conclusion contains reflections upon the possibility of an integrative interdisciplinary psychology.
I contrast two notions of cognition offered in Joseph LeDoux’s (2019) The Deep History of Ourselves toward arguing for the functional role of affect and consciousness in the evolution of matter. I argue that an emphasis on the cultural construction of emotions misrepresents the relationship between culture and biology. A more parsimonious story about the evolution of mind requires leaving behind some aspects of a cognitivist epistemology.