Michael Tomasello on The Social Origins of Cognition and Agency
Human beings have developed wondrous capacities to take in information about the world, mull it over, think about a suite of future implications, and decide on a course of action based on those deliberations. These abilities developed over evolutionary history for a variety of reasons and under a number of different pressures. But one crucially important aspect of their development is their social function. According to Michael Tomasello, we developed agency and cognition and even morality in order to better communicate and cooperate with our fellow humans.
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Michael Tomasello received a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Georgia. He is currently the James Bonk Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience and Director of the Developmental Psychology Program at Duke University. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among his awards are the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association, the Wiley Prize in Psychology, and the Heineken Prize for Cognitive Science. His newest book is The Evolution of Agency: Behavioral Organization from Lizards to Humans.
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