Jesse S. Cook III (jcook@AWOD.COM)
Thu, 22 Aug 1996 10:44:36 -0400

On 19 August 1996, Nicholas Gessler replied:

"What is the source of your confidence that you know what we may or may not
have known or been told 30 years ago...?"

It's not "confidence", Nick; it's skepticism. One reads so much garbage on
this list, especially from the likes of Gary Goodman, that one adopts a
skeptical attitude toward everything that appears. And, of course, this
list isn't the only one: Gary's counterpart on the jcs-online list is a guy
by the name of Greg Nixon. (JCS stands for "Journal of Consciousness Studies".)

"What precisely is your assertion and what sorts of cognitive structures are
you positing for pre, proto, and contemporary culture-bearers?"

Positing cognitive structures is a bit out of my line, so I'd have to say
"none". But, what precisely is your assertion with regard to proto-culture?
As I think I've said before, I don't believe there is any such thing.
Before stone tools, there was no culture. With the advent of stone tools,
there was culture.

"1) Can a presemt day H.s.s. learn *or teach another H.s.s.* the making and
usage of stone tools with no linguistic communication? My answer: 'yes'."
(Emphasis added.)

Leave the emphasized part out and I agree.

"2) Could a present day H.s.s. transported to the encampment of H.s.n.
*learn* the making and usage of their stone tools just by observation with
no linguistic communication? My answer: 'yes'." (Emphasis added.)

With the emphasized part in, I agree.

"3) Could a H.s.n. (or pre-modern) *learn* the making and usage of their
stone tools without a linguistic interface?" (Emphasis added.)

I would say so.

"a) [W]ithout language having evolved [?]"

Yes, of course. It's quite possible that that was the way it happened.

"What I chose to defend was John's assertion that, 'I can teach someone
stone toolmaking basics in hours...' and the observation that such
learning/teaching can progress with minimal (or no) speaking or
subvocalization (internal dialog)."

What I chose to attack was John's assertion that he could *teach* anyone
stone toolmaking basic in any length of time without, as you put it,
"linguistic communication". Obviously, such learning (not teaching) "can
progress with minimal (or no) speaking".

But I doubt that it would *normally* "progress" without "subvocalization
(internal dialog)". As Iain Davidson said on 20 August 1996: "I concur with
the view that modern humans learning stone knapping are likely to be doing
some internal chatter to themselves about what they think is going on." It
only stands to reason, Nick; it's part of our everyday experience.

Jesse S. Cook III E-Mail:
Post Office Box 40984 or
Charleston, SC 29485 USA

"Our attitude toward others is not determined by who *they* are;
it is determined by who *we* are."