Saturday, August 06, 2005

And the Winner Is...

The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition by Michael Tomasello will be the reading group's first book. The voting was close, and I'll be sure to include the books that did well in the voting for the second book, but for now, Tomasello's the man.

For those of you who are not familiar with Dr. Tomasello, he is in the Department for Developmental and Comparative Psychology at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. The bulk of his research is on human language development, and language and culture in nonhuman primates. Here is a list of his publications, and here is a recent paper in which he presents experiments that are designed to test the theories he discusses in the book we'll be reading. This paper, published 2 years before the book, touches on many of the ideas in it, and might be a good place to start while you're waiting for the book. Tomasello has other papers online that might be of interest as well, and I'd be happy to point anyone to them.

I will post a little introduction and background in the next week. If you have questions about the book before then, feel free to email them to me.

8 comments:

coturnix said...

Good. That was my vote, too. I have only read one of his papers (a book chapter) a long time ago and I have to confess I do not remember any of it!

I will get the book within the next couple of days and in the meantime will pursue your links.

Clark Goble said...

I admit I was gunning for the religious one, by Scott Atran, simply because it sounded intriguing. I notice it got 9 votes. I ended up buying that one from Amazon along with the Tomasello one, which does sound intriguing.

Chris said...

Maybe we'll do Atran next time around. It's definitely an interesting book, as is Pascal Boyer's on the same topic.

Razib said...

i suspect a lot of us have already read atran's book. it is a 'sexy' topic after all.

Chris said...

I know you've read it, and I think a couple others mentioned that they'd read it in response to my email. The same was also true for Damasio's book. I was pulling for one of the other two to win, too, for that reason, but it still might be interesting to read them down the line. Or perhaps we could read Boyer's book and those of us who've read Atran's can contrast the two.

Razib said...

boyer's book is more lay person friendly, that's for sure. of course, he uses terms popularized by dennett like 'cartesian theater,' while atran seems to almost start off on a blank slate as far as concepts (speaking as someone who was totally ignorant of cognitive science jargon in the spring of 2004 when i read both books).

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