Past event

A. Fuentes (Princeton): "Meaning-making, belief and world shaping as core processes in the human" School of Psychology and Neuroscience Seminar

Prof. Agustín Fuentes (Princeton)

Humans represent an infinitesimally small percentage of all the life on this planet. Yet, despite being such a tiny part of the great diversity of living things, humans are among the most significant forces affecting ecosystems and all other life on this planet. Why and how this came to be are two of the most pressing questions one can ask about what it means to be human. I suggest that extensive biocultural complexity and distinctive neurocognitive capacities for meaning-making and world shaping (or better put, niche construction) are at the heart of the answers to these queries. It is the human capacity to move between the reality of “what is” and the possibilities of “what could be,” socially, cognitively and technologically, that signifies a distinctive evolutionary context for the genus Homo. In this talk I briefly outline the evidence and dynamics of these processes across Pleistocene human evolution.