From Homininity to Humanity: Compassion from the Earliest Archaics to Modern Humans

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JournalTime & mind-The journal of archaeology consciousness and culture
DatePublished - Nov 2010
Issue number3
Volume3
Number of pages23
Pages (from-to)303-325
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

We are increasingly aware of the role of emotions and emotional construction in social relationships. However, despite their significance, there are few constructs or theoretical approaches to the evolution of emotions that can be related to the prehistoric archaeological record. Whilst we frequently discuss how archaic humans might have thought, how they felt might seem to be beyond the realm of academic inquiry. In this paper we aim to open up the debate into the construction of emotion in early prehistory by proposing key stages in the emotional motivation to help others; the feeling of compassion, in human evolution. We review existing literature on compassion and highlight what appear to be particularly significant thresholds in the development of compassion for human social relationships and the evolution of the human mind.

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    Research areas

  • compassion, archaeology, prehistory, evolution of the mind, altruism, MODERN HUMAN-BEHAVIOR, PLEISTOCENE HUMAN CRANIUM, SOUTH-CENTRAL AFRICA, MIDDLE PLEISTOCENE, ATTACHMENT SECURITY, HOMO-ERECTUS, SHELL BEADS, ALTRUISTIC PUNISHMENT, PALEOLITHIC SOCIETY, DECISION-MAKING

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