Uniquely Human: The Evolution of Speech, Thought, and Selfless Behavior by Philip LiebermanUniquely Human: The Evolution of Speech, Thought, and Selfless Behavior by Philip Lieberman

Uniquely Human: The Evolution of Speech, Thought, and Selfless Behavior

byPhilip Lieberman

Paperback | January 1, 1993

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In a stimulating synthesis of cognitive science, anthropology, and linguistics, Philip Lieberman tackles the fundamental questions of human nature: How and why are human beings so different from other species? Can the Darwinian theory of evolution explain human linguistic and cognitive ability? How do our processes of language and thought differ from those of Homo erectus 500,000 years ago, or of the Neanderthals 35,000 years ago? What accounts for human moral sense?

Lieberman believes that evolution for rapid, efficient vocal communication forged modern human beings by creating the modern human brain. Earlier hominids lacked fully human speech and syntax, which together allow us to convey complex thoughts rapidly. The author discusses how natural selection acted on older brain mechanisms to produce a structure that can regulate the motor activity necessary for speech and command the complex syntax that enhances the creativity of human language. The unique brain mechanisms underlying human language also enhance human cognitive ability, allowing us to derive abstract concepts and to plan complex activities. These factors are necessary for the development of true altruism and moral behavior.

Lieberman supports his argument about the evolution of speech and the human brain by combining the comparative method of Charles Darwin, insights from archaeology and child development, and the results of high-tech research with computerized brain scanning and computer models that can recreate speech sounds made by our ancestors over 100,000 years ago.

Uniquely Human will stimulate fresh thought and controversy on the basic question of how we came to be.

Philip Lieberman is Fred M. Seed Professor of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences and Professor of Anthropology at Brown University.
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Title:Uniquely Human: The Evolution of Speech, Thought, and Selfless BehaviorFormat:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 9 × 6 × 0 inPublished:January 1, 1993Publisher:Harvard

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0674921836

ISBN - 13:9780674921832

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Customer Reviews of Uniquely Human: The Evolution of Speech, Thought, and Selfless Behavior

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Table of Contents

Introduction

1. Brain Structure, Behavior, and Circuitry

2. Human Speech

3. A Thoroughly Modern Human Brain

4. The Brain's Dictionary

5. Learning to Talk and Think

6. Culture and Selfless Behavior

Notes

References

Index

From Our Editors

In a stimulating synthesis of cognitive science, anthropology, and linguistics, Philip Lieberman tackles the fundamental questions of human nature: How and why are human beings different from other species? Can the Darwinian theory of evolution explain human linguistic and cognitive behavior? How do our language and thought processes differ from those of Homo erectus 500,000 years ago? What accounts for human moral sense? Uniquely Human will stimulate fresh thought on the basic question of how we came to be.

Editorial Reviews

Lieberman has distilled the best of his twenty-five years of accumulated wisdom about man's unique gift of speech and has presented it here in much too readable a form to be limited to experts. I hope it reaches the broad audience it deserves.