Re: Aunger speaks, London 11th November

From: William Benzon (
Date: Wed 06 Nov 2002 - 18:41:40 GMT

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    on 11/5/02 6:25 AM, derek gatherer at wrote:

    > Autumn Term 2002
    > 11th November
    > 4-6pm. Institute of Archaeology
    > Room 612
    > AHRB Centre for the Evolutionary Analysis of Cultural
    > Behaviour
    > Major transitions in technology
    > Dr. Rober Aunger
    > Cambridge University
    > Abstract
    > In this lecture, I ask the question 'How did
    > physical objects become so complex?' To answer this
    > question, I use a recent theory developed to explain
    > long-term biological evolution: major transition
    > theory (MTT; Maynard Smith and Szathmary 1995). MTT is
    > primarily concerned with identifying and
    > analyzing discontinuities in the way evolution
    > works.


    MTT may be new, but the idea that human culture has been through major transitions is not. After all, that's what people have in mind when they talk about the agricultural revolution, the scientific revolution, and so on. The media folks believe writing and printing have precipitated major discontinuities in human culture. Alvin Toffler argued the whole gamut in his 1973 book, The Third Wave. David Hays and I argued for a number of such revolutionary discontinuities in the cultural construction of psychological mechanisms:

    Benzon, W. L. and D. G. Hays (1990). "The Evolution of Cognition." Journal of Social and Biological Structures 13: 297-320.

    Benzon, W. L. (1993). "The Evolution of Narrative and the Self." Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems 16: 129-155.

    Benzon, W. L. (1993). "Stages in the Evolution of Music." Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems 16(3): 283-296.

    Hays, D. G. (1992). "The Evolution of Expressive Culture." Journal of Social and Biological Structures 15: 187-215.

    Hays, D. G. (1993). The Evolution of Technology Through Four Cognitive Ranks. New York, Metagram Press. (I can provide this in html form.)

    William L. Benzon, Ph. D.
    708 Jersey Avenue, Apt. 2A
    Jersey City, NJ 07302
    201 217-1010
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