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Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness: Julian Jaynes's Bicameral Mind Theory Revisited Paperback – May 15, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"In this book Marcel Kuijsten and his colleagues have integrated a quintessential collection of original thoughts concerning Jaynes's concepts as well as some of Jaynes's original essays. I have rarely read a manuscript that so eloquently and elegantly examines a complex and pervasive phenomenon. The contributors of this volume have integrated the concepts of psychology, anthropology, archaeology, theology, philosophy, the history of science, and modern neuroscience with such clarity it should be considered an essential text for any student of human experience." -- From the Foreword by Dr. Michael A. Persinger, Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience, Biomolecular Sciences Program, Laurentian University

"New ideas that shake up the status of human beings relative to their world have never gone down easily, from Galileo to Darwin to Jaynes. Yet, over the past three decades, a dozen or so scholars have gambled their reputations on the possibility that Jaynes may be right. Gathered in this volume, their research provides hard data in support of Jaynes's claims. ... Such information holds the power to restore mystery and wonder to the world we thought we knew." --Julie Kane, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Dept. of Language & Communication, Northwestern State University

"... Offers insights into otherwise inexplicable aspects concerning the pharaoh Tutankhamun and dragon-motifs in Shang China ... Jaynes' theory merits in my view the reassessment by the scientific community urged in this volume." --Ilkka Kallio, Helsinki, Finland, in the Journal of Consciousness Studies

"An indispensable resource for ideas on consciousness, religion, and theory of ancient civilizations ... Interdisciplinary, insightful, provocative, in the original spirit of Jaynes' seminal work, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, but goes well beyond mere support and evidence of that work." -- John Hainly, Dept. of Philosophy, Southern University

"A book which ... after 30 years and in light of new research and ideas, introduces again Jaynes's theory to a scientific world that, now, may be ready to accept it." --Roberto Bottini, Department of Human Sciences, University of Bergamo, Italy

"Gathering together both additional writings by Jaynes himself, along with thoughtful essays by scholars from a wide range of disciplines, the book both explores ways in which Jaynes's thought can be applied in specific fields of study and serves as a testimony to the centrality of the issue of consciousness to all fields of intellectual endeavor. This worthy sequel to Jaynes's original book has been a long time coming, but the wait has been worth it." --Theodore J. Remington, School of Arts & Sciences, University of Saint Francis



"Anyone who has read Jaynes s book should read Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness for a greater appreciation of the work. Whether one agrees in whole or part, it is a testament to Jaynes s research and work that this collection of essays in Reflections either agrees with him in total or does not find a great deal to dispute concerning his theories. In the thirty years since Origin was released a great deal of research has in the main proven the man to be remarkably prescient." -- John Holt, in California Literary Review

"Blending biography with analytical and critical discussions and evaluations, this volume presents a rounded picture of Jaynes as an individual and scholar, while not shrinking from controversial and difficult issues." -- Klaus J. Hansen, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Dept. of History, Queen's University, Ontario

"Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness is ... an accessible re-introduction to Julian Jaynes, whose wondrous and wonderful The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind first brought to public awareness the 'invisible mansion of all moods, musings, and mysteries ... the introcosm' that is consciousness." --Richard M. Restak, M.D., Clinical Professor of Neurology, George Washington Hospital University, School of Medicine and Health Sciences

"In this book Marcel Kuijsten and his colleagues have integrated a quintessential collection of original thoughts concerning Jaynes's concepts as well as some of Jaynes's original essays. I have rarely read a manuscript that so eloquently and elegantly examines a complex and pervasive phenomenon. The contributors of this volume have integrated the concepts of psychology, anthropology, archaeology, theology, philosophy, the history of science, and modern neuroscience with such clarity it should be considered an essential text for any student of human experience." -- From the Foreword by Dr. Michael A. Persinger, Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience, Biomolecular Sciences Program, Laurentian University

"New ideas that shake up the status of human beings relative to their world have never gone down easily, from Galileo to Darwin to Jaynes. Yet, over the past three decades, a dozen or so scholars have gambled their reputations on the possibility that Jaynes may be right. Gathered in this volume, their research provides hard data in support of Jaynes's claims. ... Such information holds the power to restore mystery and wonder to the world we thought we knew." --Julie Kane, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Dept. of Language & Communication, Northwestern State University

About the Author

Marcel Kuijsten is Founder and Executive Director of the Julian Jaynes Society. His other books are "The Julian Jaynes Collection" and "Gods, Voices, and the Bicameral Mind."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Julian Jaynes Society; First Edition edition (May 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097907441X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979074417
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,004,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bruce Trinque VINE VOICE on April 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
For three decades I have been enthralled by the ideas put forth in Julian Jaynes's "The Origin of Consciousness In the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" and have been waiting in vain (until now) for a follow-up volume. "Reflections On the Dawn of Consciousness" is a collection of incisive essays by Julian Jaynes himself and by others, commenting on and extending his previously published work.

Even after thirty years I cannot say that I feel that I have fully accepted (or, perhaps, fully understood) all aspects of Jaynes's theories about the eruption of consciousness just a few millennia ago, but I do believe he provided a very strong case for the reality of the bicameral mind and its role in providing the auditory hallucinations which were interpreted as the voices of gods in ancient times. Kuijsten's book reinforces these points. Although "Reflections On the Dawn of Consciousness" could be read independently (and as an introduction to Jaynes's work), it will probably be most appreciated by those familiar with Jaynes's book. Neither volume provides what might be called "light reading," but both are intensely thought-provoking.
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Format: Hardcover
I particularly enjoyed the fairly detailed biographical information about J. Jaynes which was included in several of the essays. The technical essays aren't all necessarily accessible to everyone who's read and understood "Origin", though many are. Anyone fascinated and moved by "Origin" will find much of interest in this collection, though not everyone will find appeal in exactly the same things. I'd buy it again.
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Format: Hardcover
An indispensible resource for ideas on consciousness, religion, and theory of ancient civilizations. Includes various authors including some important but lesser known articles by Julian Jaynes himself. Interdiscliplinary, insightful, provocative, in the original spirit of Jaynes' seminal work, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, but goes well beyond mere support and evidence of that work. Contains profuse notes and bibliographies for each article.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the seventies a largely unknown Princeton academic by the name of Julian Jaynes published a book with the most leaden title imaginable: The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. It was, and is, an extraordinary book, which playfully announces an utterly preposterous premise: that human beings acquired consciousness less than 3000 years ago, that it was a cultural rather than a physiological development, and this cultural acquisition either led to, or was prompted by, a deterioration in the previously prevailing human mental configuration which, in a nutshell, involved hallucinating gods out of the effigies of fallen leaders and was, more or less, schizophrenic in nature. You read that right: human civilisation got past the point of the Iliad courtesy of imaginary voices.

Having announced that absurd premise, Jaynes' book then impishly, wittily, elegantly but always compellingly, set out to justify it and, while it did not revolutionise the fields on which it expressed opinions (and there were many, including anthropology, psychiatry, linguistics, epistemology, biology and philosophy) - which is what it would have needed to do to gain widespread acceptance - Julian Jaynes' outrageous theory has proved surprising elusive of its critics. Only philosopher Ned Block has had a really good go at it, and the consensus is that his efforts have largely been in vain.
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Format: Hardcover
If you are interested in Julian Jaynes's theory in particular or the topics of the origin of the modern mind and human history in general, "Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness" is a must read and will make an excellent addition to your collection. I enjoyed this book's multidisciplinary approach, with discussion of Jaynes's theory by scholars from the fields of psychology, philosophy, anthropology, linguistics, ancient history, and neuroscience, as well as a captivating biography of Julian Jaynes.
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Format: Hardcover
Since Julian Jaynes (RIP) wrote his classic "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind", further evidence in support of Jaynes's theory has come to light. Notably, the study of Chinese culture and specifically the evolution of their "personation" ceremonies.

Not only does this book cover this, but it covers other academics' thought regarding Jaynes's hypothesis. The collection of essays, and the simple fact of the support that Jaynes has had from respectable academics is itself impressive.
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Format: Hardcover
Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness explains, extends, and expands many of Julian Jaynes's most provocative ideas. For readers who finished The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind and wondered 'What comes next?', this collection provides answers. Gathering together both additional writings by Jaynes himself, along with thoughtful essays by scholars from a wide range of disciplines, the book both explores ways in which Jaynes's thought can be applied in specific fields of study and serves as a testimony to the centrality of the issue of consciousness to all fields of intellectual endeavor. This worthy sequel to Jaynes's original book has been a long time coming, but the wait has been worth it
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