Looking at Michael Tomasello’s Book (2014) “A Natural History of Human Thinking” (Part 3 of 22)

0199 With the previous blog in mind, I may return to the magnificent sentence at the start of chapter one.  I will compare it to the virtual nested form in the realm of actuality for Tomasello’s vision.

0200 The first half of the sentence, “Human thinking is individual improvisation…”, corresponds to the normal context and the actuality of the following nested form.

The second half of the sentence, “…enmeshed in a sociocultural matrix.”, corresponds to the actuality and the potential.

0201 Human thinking2c’ is phenotypical.  Each phenotypic expression (or individual) must improvise in response to events in nature and in human culture.  Fortunately, for me, the topic of how humans think has been around a long time.  Premodern medieval schoolmen use Aristotle to construct a formula that (ironically) may be diagrammed by a postmodern scholar, Razie Mah, using category-based nested forms.  The scholastic three-level interscope for the way humans think contains three sign-relations, carrying the labels of specifying, exemplar and interventional.

0202 Human culture2b’ habituates all three types of sign.

0203 Chimpanzees embody specifying signs.  Specifying signs present puzzles that require general intelligence. Many chimpanzee interventional signs are innate.  For example, some gestures and vocalizations are involuntary signals.  At the same time, many gestures are voluntary.  Requests involve voluntary gestures.

0204 Early hominins, such as some australopithecines and early Homo, use voluntary gestures to request, inform and share.  This promotes the exemplar sign as an adaptation.  The sign-object of an exemplar sign does not yield an involuntary sign-vehicle for the interventional sign.  Rather, following Tomasello, a perspective-level judgment2c,occurring in the normal context of a common ground3c and emerging from the potential of shared intentionality1c,initiates a voluntary, gesture-based interventional sign.

Also, I can say, “Following medieval scholastics, a perspective-level judgment2c, occurring in the normal context asking, ‘Does this make sense?’3c and operating upon the potential of ‘putting the situation into perspective’1c, initiates a species impressa2a.”

0205 Human culture2b’ enhances the reproductive success of joint attention2a’ and grounds the ontogenetic development of individual thought2c’.

0206 What solidifies hominin culture2b’ as a situation-level actuality?

Is it the substance of Tomasello’s research hylomorphe?

0207 Or is it a manifestation of an adjusted scholastic interscope for the way humans think?

Or both?


Looking at Michael Tomasello’s Book (2014) “A Natural History of Human Thinking” (Part 4 of 22)

0208 Tomasello presents his shared intentionality hypothesis in chapter one.  The cognitive adaptation of shared intentionality joins a behavioral adaptation of joint-attention.

The term, “shared intentionality”, like the term, “joint attention”, is difficult to define.

Perhaps, the term is too broad.

So, to narrow the field of inquiry, Tomasello breaks out several components which are more compatible with positivist approaches.  The three components are first (1), the ability to takes one’s perception’s “off-line”, second (2), the ability to make inferences that transform a perception causally, intentionally and logically, and third (3), the ability to self-monitor and evaluate those inferences and how they may produce a desirable behavioral outcome.

0209 Yeah.  The three components sound way more scientific.

At the same time, these three components associate to the one of the three signs contained in the scholastic three-level interscope.

Here is a picture.

0210 The exemplar sign says, “A perception2b (SVe) stands for a judgment2c (SOe) in regards to a common conceptual ground2c operating on the potential of ‘mutual intentions’1c (SIe).”

The perspective-level of the scholastic interscope says, “The normal context of a common conceptual ground3c brings the actuality of a judgment2c into relation with the possibilities inherent in ‘mutual expectations’1c. The potential of ‘mutual intentions’1c puts the individual’s perceptions2b into perspective.”

0211 What about the three components?

First (1), the exemplar sign takes one’s perceptions2b “off-line”, because the sign-object is a judgment2c (which is itself a triadic relation, SOe).  The perception2b (SVe) does not generate an action.

Second (2), the exemplar sign-object (SOe) becomes what the perception (SVe) stands for.  A judgment2c puts a perception2b into perspective.

Third (3), the exemplar sign-object (SOe) is a relation between what is and what ought to be.  If a unique Peircean category is assigned to each element, then the judgment is actionable.  Actionable judgments unfold into category-based nested forms.  If a unique Peircean category is not assigned, then the judgment is reflective.  Reflective judgments are more likely to involve self-monitoring, evaluation and estimation.

0212 Surely, the three components that Tomasello identifies as subjects for research in cognitive psychology apply to the exemplar sign.


Looking at Michael Tomasello’s Book (2014) “A Natural History of Human Thinking” (Part 5 of 22)

0213 How are Tomasello’s three components in play in the exemplar sign embedded within the scholastic three-level interscope for the way humans think?

Here is a diagram.

0214 Species intelligibilis2c takes the phantasm2b off-line (1).  How does this occur?  Species intelligibilis2c engages a triadic relation, called “judgment”, consisting of a three elements: relation, what is and what ought to be.  As noted before, when each element is assigned a unique category, the judgment becomes actionable (on the basis of those assignments).

0215 What goes into elements A, B and C?

A relation goes into element C.  For a typical species intelligibilis2c, the relation associates with thirdness.  Thirdness brings secondness into relation with firstness (2).

A universal aspect of species impressa (the content-level actuality) goes into element B.  What does a “universal aspect” mean?  Consider fiat currency in America.  All the one-dollar bills are the same (the universal aspect).  Yet, none of them are exactly the same, since they have been folded and carried in different purses and wallets.  Some are slightly ripped up.  Some are pristine.

So, when I ask, “What is it?”

You say, “A one-dollar bill.”

An intelligible aspect of species expressa (the situation-level actuality) goes into element A.  What does “intelligible aspect” mean?  Consider the one-dollar bill.  It is labeled a “federal reserve note”.  So it is merely a promise by an institution called “The Federal Reserve”.  What is the promise? The piece of paper is legal tender.  Legal tender?  Exactly, how does this “legal tender” materialize?  Who substantiates this “legal tender”?  Ah, if I ruminate too long on this term, “legal tender”, it starts to make no sense at all.  When I enter a grocery store, then it makes sense again.

0216 Here is a picture of species intelligibilis2c, the sign-object of the exemplar sign (SOe).

Note how the schoolmen qualify the intelligibility of the situation-level and universality of the content-level with the same label, “intelligibilis“.

“Intelligibilis” implies both intelligibility and universality.

0217 Clearly, the situation-level perception2bthe sign-vehicle of the exemplar sign (SVe), stands for a causally, intentionally and logically transformed perspective-level judgment2cthe sign object of the exemplar sign (SOe) (2).

0218 Finally, the exemplar sign-object (SOe) employs an exemplar sign-interpretant (SIe) consisting in a perspective-level normal context3c and its corresponding potential1c (3). The normal context3c asks, “Does this make sense?”.  Its corresponding potential1c replies, “Well, my perception2b stands for my judgment2c about what is going on.  Plus, my judgment seems to be in line with our shared intentions.”

0219 Our “shared intentions”?

Yes, the subject-matter of our joint attention.

Plus, the joys of working together.


Looking at Michael Tomasello’s Book (2014) “A Natural History of Human Thinking” (Part 6 of 22)

0220 Okay, Tomasello’s shared-intentionality hypothesis fits, like a hand, into the glove of the exemplar sign.

The exemplar sign is embedded within the situation and perspective levels of the scholastic interscope for the way humans think.

0221 What are the implications in terms of hominin evolution?

Tomasello addresses this question at the conclusion of chapter one.

To me, the first implication is that the exemplar sign contains the components that are missing within great ape cognition.

The second implication is that the exemplar sign is part and parcel of the adaptation of joint attention.  Reflective and normative characteristics of the exemplar sign adapt to the opportunities and the dangers of collaboration and cooperation with others.

0222 In contrast, the LCAs are not so much interested in whether their perceptions make sense.  They are more inclined toward individual goals.  So, an interventional sign is typically triggered as a reaction to a situation (which humans would not typically label a “judgment”, but may have the same relational structure as judgment).  Plus, the specifying sign is the bread and butter of daily life in the band.  In particular, the specifying sign addresses the question, “Should I eat this thing or not?”

0223 Chapter two is titled, “Individual Intentionality”.

Here is a diagram of the actualization of the scholastic interscope for our last common ancestor.  The sign-interpretant for the exemplar sign is missing.  The sign-object for the exemplar sign has the same relational structure as judgment, but we (modern humans) would not call it that.  The interventional sign pales in comparison to the specifying sign, because it rarely occurs and engages involuntary gestures and vocalizations.  The specifying sign reflects those cognitive features that are under voluntary control.

So, the depth of color reflects actualization of each element.

0224 This interscope manifests during the era of individual intentionality, lasting from our last common ancestor (7Myr) to the start of bipedalism, coinciding with the earliest appearance of the southern apes (around 3.5Myr).   Bipedalism emerges in the Pliocene.  The Pliocene marks a change of global environment starting a little over 5Myr.  The emergence of bipedalism opens the door to the era of joint attention (which I tentatively locate between 3.5 and 0.8Myr).

Technical note: Bipedal australopithecines and Homo were once called “hominids”.  “Hominids” are bipedal apes or humans.  The subset of these who belong to our own lineage are called “hominins”.

0225 Tomasello suggests that our lineage is forced into cooperative lifeways, by a changing environment and ecology,.  In particular, individuals foraging alone could not quite acquire enough food to survive.  But, individuals working together not only acquired enough food for themselves, they acquired enough to share with other individuals in the band.

Tomasello’s suggestion makes sense in so far as (1) the Pliocene environment and ecology are changing enough for bipedalism to evolve and (2) bipedalism must be an adaptation to seasonally rich, yet widely distributed food resources, as expected in mixed forest and savannah.


Looking at Michael Tomasello’s Book (2014) “A Natural History of Human Thinking” (Part 7 of 22)

0226 Tomasello does not combine his insights with that of British evolutionary anthropologists writing on the same topic in 2014.  The e-book, Comments on Clive Gamble, John Gowlett and Robin Dunbar’s Book (2014) Thinking Big (by Razie Mah, available at smashwords and other venues), highlights the theme of social circles.

0227 Dunbar claims that, for mammals, relative brain size correlates to group size.

The relative cranial capacity of bipedal australopithecines corresponds to the size of a band (around 50).  This is the size of a collective that is large enough to be safe (from predators) when sleeping together at night.

The relative cranial capacity of humans corresponds to a community (around 150), indicating that hominin brains have grown larger over the past three million years.

Or, is it group size?

0228 What do the bracketing numbers for a band (50) and a community (150) imply?

The number increases by a factor of three, leading to the question of whether these numbers indicate waystations for optimal sizes with respect to social arrangements.  Does the pattern extend to larger and small social circles?

0229 Consider the following table.

0230 So, what am I suggesting?

Tomasello’s insight that early hominins (bipedal southern apes) are forced into more cooperative lifeways elevates the importance of one social circle, more than any other.  If an individual working alone is unlikely to forage enough food, then individuals working in teams might acquire enough food for themselves, as well as for members outside of the team.  If one team can gather enough food to feed themselves three times over, the team can feed the band. 

At first, teamwork is optional.  Over generations, teamwork becomes necessary.

0231 Yes, nature, being a fickle master, offers opportunities for such harvests only on occasion and in certain locations.  On any given day, the team that is the most prepared for the day’s opportunities will be more productive than other teams.  The team that is the most prepared will tend to be the one that is most experienced in a particular style of harvesting.  For example, if mushrooms are suddenly plentiful, the mushroom team will know which ones are safe and which ones are poisonous.  The same goes for tubers, and plants, and fruits, and so on.  For animals, each team will know hunting tricks for the prey that it specializes in.

0232 Each team shares the same intentions in regards to a particular endeavor.

We work for food.

0233 And, that is not all.

Each team gets better and better as generations pass, because the tricks for each team end up as adaptations, increasing the range of cognitive traits for the southern apes.  Each team ends up creating its own neural workspace, so to speak.  As collaborative teams succeed and diversify, hominin cranial capacity increases incrementally.


Looking at Michael Tomasello’s Book (2014) “A Natural History of Human Thinking” (Part 8 of 22)

0234 Chapter three of Tomasello’s book is titled, “Joint Intentionality”.

At this point, I would like to re-iterate my associations for the eras of intentionality to the archaeological record

0235 Tomasello’s three periods of intentionality correspond to the titles of chapters two, three and four.

In each era, shared intentionality adapts to a select number of social circles

0236 Now, when do these eras appear in the archeological record?

Well, the last common ancestor is an estimate from the genetic divergence between chimpanzees and humans.

In regards to fossils, some finds are more controversial than others. Each fossil ends up classified according a genus and a species.  Radiometric dating can be conducted on volcanic ash laid down by a nearby eruption.  The dust contains radioactive minerals that serve as clocks on the timescale of millions of years.  The best dated fossils occur in a sedimentary layer between layers of volcanic ash.

0237 Here is a picture of the earliest fossil appearances for the human lineage.

0238 What does this timeline imply?

First, bipedalism marks the start of the era of joint intentionality.

Second, the Homo genus appears around the middle of the era of joint intentionality.

Third, the speciation of the Neanderthal, the Denisovan, Homo heidelbergensis, early Homo sapiens and other late species in the Homo genus, starts soon after hominin cranial capacity has significantly expanded during the Era of Joint Intentionality.  These later species must be re-organizing the multiple specialized mental modules associated with adaptation into particular teams.

0239 Do we know anything about the character of these archaic teams?

The archaeological record of hominin artifacts provide clues.

The stone-tool using team is the only one to leave archaeological traces.  These traces are significant, because stone tools are useful for highly dangerous scavenging (Oldowan) and hunting (Acheulean) team operations.  This suggests that some teams engage in less risky harvesting and other teams tolerate dangerous conditions while harvesting.  Living in the wildis always dangerous to some degree.

Notably, hand talk is used as a proto-language within each team.  I use the term, “proto-language”, because each team has its own vocabulary and grammar.  Hominins get better and better at hand talk within teams.

0240 Here is a list of artifact-based markers in the archaeological record.

0241 What about the domestication of fire?

Was there a fire team?

No, but there must have been teams that use fire in various ways.

0242 The domestication of fire makes a good marker for the start of the era of collective intentionality, because fire increases the number and diversity of teams.  How so?  Cooking food makes less digestible raw food into digestible tasty delights.  More calories are available when food is cooked.  Cooked food is easier to eat.  Cooking often removes toxins.  It is like a bakery extending its offerings from baked bread to every confection in a French pastry shop.

Well, maybe I am exaggerating.

0243 At the same time, it is hard to exaggerate (1) slow and steady increases in the sophistication of stone-tool and composite technologies, (2) the speciation of the Neanderthal, the Denisovan, and perhaps, other species, from late Homo erectus, (3) current phenotypic clues that hominins develop a general fully linguistic hand talk, and (4) the descent of the larynx, suggesting that hominins are using the voice (singing) to synchronize mega-band and tribal gatherings.  Probably, singing gets caught up with sexual selection. Hominins get very good at warbling.

0244 Once the vocal tract comes under voluntary neural control, the voice is exapted as an accompaniment to hand-talk at the start of our own species.

If that is so, then anatomically modern humans make their appearance on Earth practicing a dual-mode way of talking,hand-speech talk, containing all the natural sign-qualities of hand talk along with the adornment of speech.  Initially, speech serves as a melodic complement.  Then, over generations, speech takes on a life of its own, while remaining within the bounds of hand-speech talk.

Here is a list of the three eras of intentionality, corresponding to chapter two, three and four.


Looking at Michael Tomasello’s Book (2014) “A Natural History of Human Thinking” (Part 9 of 22)

0245 Can intentionality evolve?

Well, is intentionality an adaptation?

Or, is it a phenotype?

0246 Tomasello’s discussion suggests, to me, that shared intentionality (a cognitive trait) and joint attention (a behavioral trait) are different manifestations of the same adaptation.

The cognitive development of newborns and infants demonstrate a phenotypic expression of these adaptations.  But, the phenotype requires the presence of human culture in order to actualize.

Consequently, for Tomasello, human culture2b virtually situates the adaptation of joint attention2a.  Plus, the phenotype of early human cognitive development2c virtually puts human culture2b into perspective.

0247 Here is a diagram of Tomasello’s vision.

0248 Of course, there is a problem.  For biologists, phentoype2b virtually situates the individual’s, species’, or genus’ DNA2a.

Here is a diagram.

0249 Another problem is that adaptation2b virtually situates an actuality independent of the adapting species2a.

Here is a picture.

0250 All biologists face this conundrum.  A phenotype2b is not the same as its corresponding adaptation2b.  Each demands its own discipline, genetics for phenotype2b and natural history for adaptation2b.  Yet, both these terms apply to the same actuality2, whether one calls that actuality2, “individual”, “species” or “genus”.

The category-based nested forms for natural selection3H and body development2V intersect.

Here is a figure.

0251 According to the masterwork, How To Define the Word “Religion” (by Razie Mah, available at smashwords and other e-book venues), intersections characterize the message underlying the word.  Intersections are mysterious.

0252 Biologists are forced to deal with intersections in their subject matter. But, as scientists, they want to avoid mysteries.  Consequently, the biological literature strains to show that the phenotype and the adaptation are same, even though they are not the same. But, if they not the same, then either genetics takes precedence over natural history or visa versa.

0253 Tomasello’s arc of inquiry says that genetics takes precedence over natural history.

Oops, I meant to say, “…phenotype2c puts adaptation2a into perspective.”

Okay, I bet that he would claim that innate cognitive developments are… um… adaptations.

0254 Tomasello’s arc of inquiry, starting in 1999 with the publication of The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition and ending in 2019 with the publication of Becoming Human, contains rich illustrations of the cognitive behavior of human newborns and infants as… well… as… a frank admission that observations and measurements of the cognitive behaviors of great apes leads to models that do not get very far past individual intentionality.

0255 Indeed, descriptions of the elaborate experiments performed by cognitive scientists working with great apes in captivity show that apes recognize the intentions of others and… well… are not much interested in sharing their own intentions.  Unless of course, when intentions come into conflict, as in “I got the banana and I can see that you want the banana but I’m going to eat it now.”

0256 Finally, another aspect of Tomasello’s choice concerns the way that the eras of individual, joint and collective intentionality map onto the archaeological record.   Tomasello misses the obvious connections that are rendered in this examination.


Tomasello’s vision elevates phenotype over adaptation.

0257 Tomasello’s vision is very clever, because it situates joint attention2a with culture2b and contextualizes culture2b with human cognitive development2c, which requires human culture in order to actualize.

But, in doing so, Tomasello’s work loses a certain… how shall I say it?… flavor.

It is the flavor that everyone who opens a book about who we are and how we came to be wants to taste.

I want to put the scroll in my mouth and taste the sweetness of mystery, not the blandness of explanations that… in one fashion or another… confuse the distinction between phenotype and adaptation.

0258 With this admonition in mind, I offer a libation.

If Tomasello presents a mystery, here is the genetics paradigm.

Here is the Darwinian paradigm.

0259 Here is (my estimation) of Tomasello’s vision as a mystery.

0260 Place this intersection into the slot for species impressa2a and taste how we (humans) are happening3a and how the Lebenswelt that we evolved in fashions ‘us coming to be’1a.

Taste the mystery.


Looking at Michael Tomasello’s Book (2014) “A Natural History of Human Thinking” (Part 10 of 22)

0261 Here is a picture of scholastic interscope where Tomasello’s intersection of human evolution enters the slot for species impressa2a.

0262 Once again, here is the story.

Tomasello’s vision is captured by a three-level interscope.  The content-level and perspective-level actualities correspond to adaptation and phenotype, respectively.   This three-level interscope shows that Tomasello elevates phenotype over adaptation. 

Yet, the phenotype and the adaptation together constitute a single actuality, that is to say, the biologist cannot elevate one or the other.  Each is the subject matter of a different biological discipline, genetics and natural history, respectively.  When the actualities of two nested forms constitute a single actuality, the resulting purely relational structure is called an “intersection”.

0263 What happens when Tomasello’s vision is cast as a mysterious intersection?

What is the perspective-level judgment2c?

It is the sign-vehicle of an interventional sign (SVi).

It is also a judgment, labeled by medieval schoolmen as “a kind of intelligence2c“, a species intelligibilis2c

Here is a picture of my guess.

0264 Because each element is assigned to one of Peirce’s categories, the judgment is actionable.

Actionable judgments unfold into category-based nested forms.

Here is how my guess unfolds into… yes… the content level of the scholastic interscope for the way humans think.

0265 In the unfolding, Tomasello’s judgment2c (SVi) stands for an intersection2a (SOi) in regards to two disciplinary languages describing who we are3a operating on the potential of observations of ape’s and children’s cognition1a (SIi).

0266 Then, the specifying sign follows.

The diagram of Tomasello’s intersection of human evolution2a (SVs) specifies an experience of mystery2b (SOs), because I cannot sensibly ascertain what it means to me3b. Why?  The diagram contains unresolvable contradictions (and therefore, cannot be sensibly situated)1b (SIs).

0267 Finally, this reader of Tomasello’s book puts that experience of mystery into perspective while executing the exemplar sign-relation, which is the prime sign-relation that distinguishes humans from great apes.

I generate my own species intelligibilis2c, which does not resolve the mystery that Tomasello struggles with.  Rather, it2ccelebrate it.

0268 My judgment2c does not cohere to the Era of Joint Intentionality.  It2c coheres to the Era of Collective Intentionality.

Obviously, this judgment2c is not about whether the team’s activities are on track or not.

No, this judgment2c is about whether a scientific analysis of human evolution is on track or not.

The word, “religion”, does not appear in the index of Tomasello’s book.

Yet, here is a demonstration of how the mystery of biological (including human) evolution swims just below the surface of Tomasello’s excellent scientific exposition.

0269 So, let me now step back from that placid surface, for fear of capturing a glimpse of the beauty that stands before, emanating from my own mind.

Imagine Narcissus falling in love with his own ideas.

0270 Imagine seeing the mystery within Tomasello’s vision, swimming just below the surface of his well-organized prose.


Looking at Michael Tomasello’s Book (2014) “A Natural History of Human Thinking” (Part 11 of 22)

0271 Now, I play a game.

I imagine the intersection for human evolution entering into my slot for species impressa2a.  I ask myself, “What is a sensible interpretation of the phenotype and adaptation for each era of intentionality?”

Chapter two considers the era of individual intentionality.  Here is a picture of the species impressa2a.

0272 What is the phenotype2V and the adaptation2H for the era of individual intentionality, ranging between the last common ancestor (LCA)2 and the beginning of bipedalism, covering from 7 to around 3.5Myr?

Here is my perception2b.

0273 “Relevance” is a key characteristic of the specifying sign.  Relevance includes the potential of approaching (opportunity), evading (danger) or safely ignoring.  Relevance is built into the potential underlying the question, “What does this mean to me?”  Obviously, the intentions of others in the band are relevant.  So is the fact that I may see food or a danger that someone else does not.  Whatever I do, I should not provide clues to that fact, unless it suits me.

Little do I realize that cognitive psychologists have set up the entire scenario and are videotaping my every move.

The specifying sign-vehicle includes both natural events and signals from other members of the band.  The most important signals come from family (feed and protect my youngsters) and intimates (please groom me to remove bugs or at least, let me groom you).  I suspect these voluntary actions are the occasions of interventional signs. 

The sign-vehicle of the interventional sign that may be classified as a judgment (in the common sense of the term, in our current civilization), concerns occasions when one great ape must intervene in an open conflict between two other great apes.  Some evolutionary anthropologists call these judgments, “Machiavellian”, and, in doing so, introduce unnecessary implications.

The exemplar sign, even though it exists in the diagram, is not as adaptive as it will be in subsequent evolutionary eras.  The reason?  Once bipedalism arises, as an adaptation to an ecology of mixed forest and savannah, the incentive structures change.  Collaborative foraging becomes advantageous.  Later, collaborative foraging becomes obligate.


Looking at Michael Tomasello’s Book (2014) “A Natural History of Human Thinking” (Part 12 of 22)

0274 My game of labeling adaptation and phenotype continues.

I imagine the following intersection for human evolution entering into my slot for species impressa2a.  I ask myself,  “What is a sensible interpretation of the phenotype and adaptation for the era of joint intentionality, lasting from the beginning of bipedalism to the domestication of fire, covering from around 3.5 to around 0.8Myr?

Here is the topic for chapter three.

0275 What is the phenotype2V and the adaptation2H for the Era of Joint Intentionality,

What about my perception2b?

0276 To begin, I consider contemporary chimpanzees hunting for monkeys.  They do not play this exercise when food is scarce.  Rather, they play for sport.  Hey, there are some monkeys around here.  Maybe, I… er… “we” can capture one and eat it raw.  Yes, each chimpanzee entertains the same judgment and is willing to go along with the others.

Off the troop of the willing goes.  Once they get around an isolated monkey, each positions himself to block an escape route.  The monkey takes one ill-fated path and one of the chimpanzees gets hold of it and then, runs off, in order to eat as much of the little critter as possible before the others demand their share.

0277 Does that sound like shared intentionality?

Yes and no.

Clearly, human collaborative efforts are very different.  Humans are willing to share.

Aren’t they?

0278 Here is a figure with my perception2b.

0279 Tomasello envisions the opening of a new foraging niche, where collaboration pays off.  Mixed forest and savannah offer widely spaced, occasionally and locally rich, foods.  Bipedalism solves the widely spaced problem.  But, that is not enough.  One cannot walk and forage at the same time.

Bipedalism keys into a proximate niche.

Collaboration keys into an ultimate niche.

Why does collaboration become practical?

Rather than one individual foraging within a band, a team separates from the band and forages for its specialty. If successful, that team gathers more than each member of the team can eat.  The team refrains from eating their full and falling asleep.  Why?  The team is on a mission.  Gather food for me and my friends.  That is the obligation.  We work for food.

When more than one team operates at the same time, then collaborative foraging requires more than cooperation within each team.  It requires that teams cooperate as well.  Thus, the seeds of the next era are already germinating within the Era of Joint Intentionality.

0280 Tomasello calls the novel foraging strategy, “obligatory collaborative foraging”.

Of course, the modern term, “obligatory” means not having a choice.

But, that is not the real insight.  The real insight comes when “obligatory” means “obligation” and “obligation” means “responsibility”.

Teammates are responsible for one another.  Each member is more productive (and more likely to survive) when responding to content (the tasks at hand, clues to nearby predators, and so forth) and to situation (whether I or my teammate is near a cache or near danger).  Intentional signs are valued.

0281 As noted by Tomasello, hominin intentional signs build on the pantomime and pointing gestures of the prior era.  Indeed, these intentional signs become more and more routine.  At some point, they may be described as “hand talk“.  Hand talk consists of icons and indexes that are sufficiently distinct from one another that they are easily interpreted in the course of a team’s activities.

Hand-talk couples the sign-objects of intentional signs with the sign-vehicles of specifying signs.  Hand-talk is recognizable because it starts as iconic (pantomime) or indexal (pointing) natural signs. Hand-talk gestures become more and more facile, in both generation and interpretation, when they become distinct from one another.  A third natural sign, the symbol, enters into the picture because symbols are distinct from one another.  A symbol is a sign-relation whose sign-object is based on habit, tradition, convention, law and so forth.  Symbols must be different from one another in order to… um… serve as symbols.

0282 Here is one way to think about the coupling of intentional sign-object and specifying sign-vehicle.  

The intentional sign-vehicle is a judgment.  Judgments are purely relational beings.  Therefore, they must be symbolic.  So, if one judgment occurs over and over again, then it is likely to be different…. er… distinct from other judgments that occur over and over again. So, the sign-object of the interventional sign will introduce symbolic features to hand talk.

The specifying sign-relation prefers icons and indexes, in order for the reference to be grounded in the real.  Icons and indexes inherently specify their referents.

Indeed, when a symbol is presented, reference is not obvious.  So, hominins prefer icons and indexes to initiate a specifying sign-vehicle, rather than the fact that one gesture-word is distinct from other gesture words.  Implicit abstraction connects hand-talk gesture to its referent.  The reference is recognized as something that one can picture or point to.  Grounded reference facilitates sensible construction.

When a team members are out and doing their business, they are not playing word-games.  Sensible construction is the order of the day.  Everyone should have the same perception when a teammate hand-talks.

0283 With this said, I would like to return to the game of presenting my perception of adaptation and phenotype, once again.

0284 Okay, joint attention adapts to a proximate and to an ultimate niche.

In terms of diverse proximate niches, each successful team produces its own specialized adaptations.  Each successful team gets better and better over generations.  Consequently, each team produces divergent evolution.

In terms of an ultimate niche, all teams have one feature in common.  Members of the team engage in hand talk.  So, even though each team develops its own “language”, all the team-languages have the common niche of triadic relations.  In particular, the interventional and specifying signs constitute the niche for all team-related proto-languages.  As such, all teams undergo convergent evolution.

0285 What about the adaptation of shared intentionality?

Joint attention is behavioral and describes how each team operates.

Shared intentionality is more… um… psychic and describes how each member within each team figures out what everyone else on the team is thinking at the moment.

0286 Surely, this adaptation has something to do with the exemplar sign.

In the scholastic exemplar sign, my species expressa2b (SVe) stands for a species intelligibilis2c (SOe) in regards to a normal context asking, “Does this make sense?”3c operating on the potential of ‘contextualizing the situation’1c (SIe).

In Tomasello’s exemplar sign, my perception2b (SVe) stands for a judgment2c (SOe) in regards to the normal context of joint attention3c operating on the potential of ‘shared intentionality’1c (SIe).

0287 Does that call for another perception2b for era one?

Here is a picture.