Paper $32.00 ISBN: 9780226526782 Will Publish November 2017
Cloth $40.00 ISBN: 9780226070766 Published November 2016
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Dark Matter of the Mind

The Culturally Articulated Unconscious

Daniel L. Everett

Dark Matter of the Mind

Daniel L. Everett

400 pages | 6 halftones, 18 line drawings, 2 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2016
Paper $32.00 ISBN: 9780226526782 Will Publish November 2017
Cloth $40.00 ISBN: 9780226070766 Published November 2016
E-book $10.00 to $32.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226401430 Published November 2016
Is it in our nature to be altruistic, or evil, to make art, use tools, or create language? Is it in our nature to think in any particular way? For Daniel L. Everett, the answer is a resounding no: it isn’t in our nature to do any of these things because human nature does not exist—at least not as we usually think of it. Flying in the face of major trends in Evolutionary Psychology and related fields, he offers a provocative and compelling argument in this book that the only thing humans are hardwired for is freedom: freedom from evolutionary instinct and freedom to adapt to a variety of environmental and cultural contexts.
           
Everett sketches a blank-slate picture of human cognition that focuses not on what is in the mind but, rather, what the mind is in—namely, culture. He draws on years of field research among the Amazonian people of the Pirahã in order to carefully scrutinize various theories of cognitive instinct, including Noam Chomsky’s foundational concept of universal grammar, Freud’s notions of unconscious forces, Adolf Bastian’s psychic unity of mankind, and works on massive modularity by evolutionary psychologists such as Leda Cosmides, John Tooby, Jerry Fodor, and Steven Pinker. Illuminating unique characteristics of the Pirahã language, he demonstrates just how differently various cultures can make us think and how vital culture is to our cognitive flexibility. Outlining the ways culture and individual psychology operate symbiotically, he posits a Buddhist-like conception of the cultural self as a set of experiences united by various apperceptions, episodic memories, ranked values, knowledge structures, and social roles—and not, in any shape or form, biological instinct.

The result is fascinating portrait of the “dark matter of the mind,” one that shows that our greatest evolutionary adaptation is adaptability itself.
 
Contents
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Part 1   Dark Matter and Culture
1          The Nature and Pedigree of Dark Matter
2          The Ranked-Value Theory of Culture
3          The Ontogenesis and Construction of Dark Matter
4          Dark Matter as Hermeneutics
Part 2   Dark Matter and Language
5          The Presupposed Dark Matter of Texts
6          The Dark Matter of Grammar
7          Gestures, Culture, and Homesigns
8          Dark Matter Confrontations in Translation
Part 3   Implications
9          Beyond Instincts
10        Beyond Human Nature
Conclusion
Notes
References
Index
Review Quotes
Elena Levy, University of Connecticut
“Everett draws on his own deep insights gained from living and working in non-Western cultures in order to make a powerful argument for the influence of culture on unconscious forces that underlie human behavior and the individual’s sense of self. After decades of a field derailed by ethnocentric, instinct-based views of language and the mind, the cognitive sciences need the sort of informed analyses his book offers of the relationships among culture, cognition, and language as they are embodied in speech and gesture.”
Kim Sterelny, author of The Evolved Apprentice
“In Dark Matter of the Mind, Everett defends two ideas that were once highly heterodox but which he has helped push toward the mainstream. One is a radical antinativism. Informed by his rich and challenging background as a linguist and anthropologist, Everett sees the human mind as profoundly shaped and organized by learning and culture. As he sees it, there is nothing like a language acquisition device or theory of mind module to be found in the architecture of the mind. The second is an emphasis on implicit information: hunches, know-how, and skill. That is the ‘dark matter,’ thought that moves us in action and decision without our being able to articulate it, sometimes beyond awareness. The work is rich with example and argument; it is a reflection of many years of thought and experience.”
Tom Wolfe | Harper’s, on Don't Sleep There are Snakes
“A hit and the biggest wallop in the breadbasket Noam Chomsky’s hegemony had ever suffered.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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