The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

(Copyright © 2013 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
Inquire about purchasing the book | Table of Contents | Annotated Bibliography | Class on Nature of Mind

These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

An Evolutionary Accident

Several biologists and anthropologists believe that language was "enabled" by accidental evolution of parts of the brain and possibly other organs.

The US biologist Philip Lieberman  views the brain as the result of evolutionary improvements that progressively enabled new faculties. Human language is a relatively recent evolutionary innovation that came about when speech and syntax were added to older communication systems. Speech allowed humans to overcome the limitations of the mammalian auditory system, and syntax allowed them to overcome the limits of memory.

The US neurologist Frank Wilson believes that the evolution of the human hand allowed humans a broad range of new activities that, in turn,  fostered an evolution of the brain that resulted in the brain of modern humans. Anatomical changes of the hand dramatically altered the function of the hand, eventually enabling it to handle and use objects. This new range of possibilities for the hand created a new range of possibilities for thought: the brain could think new thoughts and could structure them. The human brain (and only the human brain) organizes words into sentences, i.e. does syntax, because of the hand. "The brain does not live inside the head".

 


Back to the beginning of the chapter "The History of Language: Why We Speak" | Back to the index of all chapters