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Hypothesis 8

The biological causes

Parade, Cusco, Peru, 27. 8. 1989
Parade, Cusco, Peru, 27. 8. 1989


The first task is to describe the biological mechanisms that led to the development of the human brain. The biological causes for the development of the human brain, brain growth and the end of thereof must be explained before the beginning of the cultural achievements of Homo sapiens are explored.

The second task is to describe how the existing human brain, through a functional change, could become the biological basis of the mind.

Explanation:

If I can’t make out the details of an object well enough, I would make use of a magnifying glass. If I still want to be able to see finer details or material structures, then I’ll use a microscope. If I want to research a subject scientifically, one possible method is to divide the subject into many small problem areas, each of which can then be examined individually. In the end, the results are combined once again.

The first task is therefore to define the decisive problem areas, the answers of which will contribute to the overall solution. The division of the biological process of brain growth and the cultural process of the development of the mind have already been discussed. First of all, the biological circumstances raise the question of what is special about the brain as a biological organ.

Then we have to ask how the amazing growth of the brain can be explained in the evolution of monkeys and great apes to hominids and present-day humans. Once we have recognised brain growth as an evolutionary principle, the end of this growth becomes a further mystery to be solved with the appearance of modern humans. Ernst Mayr addresses this:

Perhaps equally remarkable is the fact that since Homo sapiens reached this stage more than 100,000 years ago, there has been no further significant increase in brain size. It is difficult to understand why natural selection gave primitive humans such a perfect brain that 100,000 years later it would enable the achievements of a Descartes, Darwin or Kant or the invention of the computer, trips to the moon or the literary creations of a Shakespeare or Goethe.
(Mayr 2002, p. 501)

Was Ernst Mayr right with his assertion of the perfect brain in modern humans?

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