At the upcoming Breaking Convention conference (April 2-3, University of Kent, Canterbury) I will present a talk in one of the seminar tracks. The title and abstract of the talk are as follows:
Altered states of cognitive science: What can non-ordinary consciousness tell us about the origin of symbolic thought?
There is growing interest in cognitive science to understand the conscious mind in terms of the living-experiencing body, and as co-constituted by biological and socio-cultural factors. One major outstanding issue is to explain the origin of symbolic thought, which is a defining form of human cognition. The first archeological evidence of symbolic thought is found in pre-historic ‘rock art’ (e.g. rock and cave paintings). Given the likelihood that non-ordinary states of mind played a fundamental role in the production of this art, we can ask: what was the role of altered states of consciousness in the origin of symbolic thought?