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.