"Our modern skulls house a Stone Age mind."

— Gottlieb, Anthony

September 17, 2012
"Our modern skulls house a Stone Age mind."
Metaphor in Context
There are plenty of factions in this newish science of the mind. The most influential sprang up in the nineteen-eighties at the University of California, Santa Barbara, was popularized in books by Steven Pinker and others in the nineteen-nineties, and has largely won over science reporters. It focusses on the challenges our ancestors faced when they were hunter-gatherers on the African savanna in the Pleistocene era (between approximately 1.7 million and ten thousand years ago), and it has a snappy slogan: "Our modern skulls house a Stone Age mind." This mind is regarded as a set of software modules that were written by natural selection and now constitute a universal human nature. We are, in short, all running apps from Fred Flintstone's not-very-smartphone. Work out what those apps are--so the theory goes--and you will see what the mind was designed to do.
Anthony Gottlieb, "It Ain't Necessarily So" (September 17, 2012). <Link to www.newyorker.com>
Date of Entry

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.