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Book Sections Year : 2018

Leroi-Gourhan: technical trends and human cognition


DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-89518-5\₁3 The work of André Leroi-Gourhan has had a strong impact on 20th century French thought. His work covers a vast spectrum, ranging from the history of technology to prehistoric art, prehistory, ethnology, paleontology and anthropology, all linked and mutually embedded in an over-riding project: to try and understand the “human phenomenon” at all time-scales, in continuity with the biological world, and through a ‘Technology’, i.e. the study of functional couplings between the organisms and their environment. The approach of Leroi-Gourhan is of great interest today, and that it can offer cognitive science some fruitful and original hypotheses. To Leroi-Gourhan, cognitive faculties are not explained by the brain, but by an evolutionary process in which the brain is one of the consequences. Thus, in his master-work Le geste et la parole (Gesture and Speech) ([1964-1965] 1993), Leroi-Gourhan proposes an explanation, ranging from the biological process of hominization to the freeing of social memory, which accounts for the specificity of our cognitive capacities of anticipation and language. The fulcrum of this liberation is the tool: both a biological fact and a movable organ, it permits the passage from the biological world to the human world.
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hal-04583041 , version 1 (23-05-2024)



Charles Lenay. Leroi-Gourhan: technical trends and human cognition. French Philosophy of Technology, 29, Springer, pp.209--226, 2018, ⟨10.1007/978-3-319-89518-5\₁3⟩. ⟨hal-04583041⟩
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