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Social Brain, Distributed Mind$
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Robin Dunbar, Clive Gamble, and John Gowlett

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264522

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264522.001.0001

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Fragmenting Hominins and the Presencing of Early Palaeolithic Social Worlds

Fragmenting Hominins and the Presencing of Early Palaeolithic Social Worlds

(p.412) (p.413) 20 Fragmenting Hominins and the Presencing of Early Palaeolithic Social Worlds
Social Brain, Distributed Mind

John Chapman

Bisserka Gaydarska

British Academy

This chapter introduces the fragmentation premise — the idea that the deliberate breakage of a complete object and the re-use of the resultant fragments as new and separate objects ‘after the break’ was a common practice in the past. It also summarizes the main implications of the fragmentation premise for the study of enchained social relations and of the creation and development of personhood in the past. Enchained relations connect the distributed elements of a person's social identity using material culture. These concepts of fragmentation, enchainment and fractality are used to think through some of the earliest remains of objects in the world. Following the philosopher David Bohm, the discussion supports the co-evolution of fragmentation in both consciousness and in objects, and compares Bohm's three-stage ideas to Mithen's model of cognitive evolution and Donald's model of external symbolic storage.

Keywords:   fragmentation premise, enchained social relations, personhood, material culture, David Bohm, cognitive evolution

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