Reading Ancient Minds: Metaphor, Culture, and Complexity
Scott Ortman, Omidyar Fellow, Santa Fe Institute; Lightfoot Fellow, Crow Canyon Archeaological Center
How much does culture influence human societies? The traditional view in many fields is that material forces – land, climate, warfare – trump less tangible human conceptualizations like currencies and laws. But Ortman argues that we don’t really know, yet. Cognitive science suggests that conceptual metaphors are the building blocks of human systems, from governments to ideologies. He illustrates how new archaeological methods and linguistic analysis can reveal these metaphors and allow us to better understand the critical role culture plays in human history.