Of Two Minds

My good friend Jess Kaplan has just sent me a link to a transcript of a 1985 lecture by the late Julian Jaynes. I’ve been meaning for a while to mention his book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, and now seems as good a time as any.

I first came upon this book many years ago, in early days of my own interest in the question of consciousness, and was drawn in by its lengthy and mysterious-sounding title. I thought it would be a summary of mainstream research, but it it turned out to be quite the opposite. It is, instead, a detailed and closely-argued brief for a radical theory of human history and development.

Jaynes, who died in 1997 at the age of 77, was a professor of psychology at Princeton University. But he is best remembered now for his claim, fantastic at first hearing, that our consciousness – the ordinary self-awareness that we are accustomed to – is in fact a very recent acquisition, and that within historical times humans were quite unconscious.

Jaynes begins by examining our experience of, and commonsense ideas about, our own consciousness, for which he has coined the excellent word “introcosm”. He makes the point that our notion of having a plenary awareness of ourselves is an illusion; that consciousness is gappy in the extreme, and says that, as I have also argued in an earlier post, “consciousness is a much smaller part of our mental life than we are conscious of, because we cannot be conscious of what we are not conscious of.” This is the issue of sleep that is so central to esoteric systems. But this book is not an examination of the possibilities and methods of our attainment of greater consciousness, but rather an extrapolation in the other direction. If we are able to spend so much of our time, and do so much, unconsciously, is it possible that the circumscribed consciousness that we do experience is not essential to human life? Could it be that at an earlier time in history we lived quite unconsciously? How would human life have been different? What would the archaeological signs be? What would the psychological and physiological underpinning of such a shift consist of, and why would it happen? Jaynes set out to research these questions.

In the first section of the book he closely examines those activities for which we generally consider consciousness to be necessary: conceptualizing, learning, thinking, reasoning, judging – and patiently demonstrates that all of these can be done quite unconsciously. He concludes this chapter with the following:

If our reasonings have been correct, it is perfectly possible that there could have existed a race of men who spoke, judged, reasoned, solved problems, indeed did most of the things we do, but who were not conscious at all. (p. 47)

In subsequent chapters Jaynes develops his central thesis: that in the early days of human civilization, men had no inner life, no stream of conscious thought, but were, rather, living in a world of auditory hallucinations, strikingly similar to the inner voices heard by schizophrenics today. He suggests that the activity of the two hemispheres of the brain was quite separate, and that whereas the generation of language is in contemporary people normally conducted solely in the Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas of the left hemisphere, the corresponding areas in the right hemisphere, which nowadays apparently have no dedicated function, were the source of these hallucinations. Furthermore, what we experience nowadays as consciousness is a result of the integration of these two areas later in our history, but in ancient times these parts functioned quite separately, and neither was conscious. Humans heard the voices of their gods and kings inside their heads, and obeyed.

This is an astonishing claim. Jaynes spends most of the book adducing a tremendous assortment of archaeological, physiological, and literary data to support it, and the depth of his scholarship and strength of his argument are very impressive indeed. He begins with an examination of the language of the Iliad, in which nowhere is there to be found any sense of any inner life, any deliberation, any autonomy on the part of the characters. They are told what to do by the gods, who everywhere take the place that we would normally assign to consciousness.

Jaynes goes on to examine burial customs. In what he considers to be preconscious times, important figures are always buried as if they are still alive – with food, servants, concubines, and so forth. Jaynes says that the practice “has no clear explanation except that their voices were still heard by the living, and were perhaps demanding such accommodation.” (p. 161)

Jaynes also examines the prevalence in all cultures of this period of idols, very often with huge staring eyes, and mouths half-open as if in speech, that he asserts were used as assistants to the production and focus of bicameral voices. He shows some striking examples, similar to those you can see here, and here.

Jaynes attributes the breakdown of this system – societies consisting of unconscious humans obeying the hallucinated voices of their gods and kings – to the growth of trade, and the collision of populations that resulted. As societies increasingly interpenetrated, the effect of these hallucinations became more and more chaotic and detrimental, until finally, as modern consciousness began to emerge as a result of the integration of the functioning of the brain’s hemispheres, and those who still heard the voices began to be reviled, we find, for example, accounts of bicameral “prophets” being rounded up like cattle. He amasses considerable archeaological and historical evidence for this transition period, including representations in story and art of the loss of the gods, and the catastrophic psychic and societal dislocations that resulted.

Jaynes’ theory has always stood on the fringe of a number of disciplines. The claim he makes is quite extraordinary, but equally so is the detailed scholarship with which he supports it. There is a group called the Julian Jaynes Society that is dedicated to keeping his work alive. If you have any serious interest in the mystery of consciousness, you must read this book.

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  1. Bob Koepp says

    Malcolm –
    It’s been a long time since I read Jaynes’ book, but I do recall thinking at the time that the sort of emergent consciousness he described almost certainly would not have involved any changes in our biological heritage. Rather than being a phylogenetic (i.e., evolutionary) phenomenon, the emergence would result from processes operating at the level of individual ontogeny (i.e., developmental processes), and would be repeated as each individual “emerged.”

    If the above is accepted, there probably are many people, even today, even adults, who have not made the transition to “modern” consciousness. The flip side of this is that it becomes likely (or at least plausible) that what was called “enlightenment” a few thousand years ago, and was very rare indeed at that time, is a sort of consciousness that “moderns” take pretty much for granted.

    Going a step further… this might mean that anybody “sufficiently aware” to experience the psychic tensions characteristic of “seekers” already possesses the jewel. Sound familiar?

    Posted February 1, 2006 at 10:21 am | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    You raise an interesting point, Bob. Certainly if the bicamerality of the mind could be broken down in the lifetime of a single individual – which should be true if the change occurred as Jaynes described, by the interpenetration of cultures – then if we wish to avoid Lamarckian inheritance of acquired characteristics we must assume that the switch can be flipped one way or the other by external influences: nurture, not nature. Of course, over generations, a tendency toward bicamerality could be strongly maladaptive, and if there is a genetic component it might be strongly selected out. It might be that there were always those who had more difficulty hearing the gods; their offspring would have flourished in the new climate.

    I don’t know to what extent the bicameral men are supposed by Jaynes to have changed, rather than dying off. I should go back over that section of the book – it’s been a while since I read it myself. It is an interesting inversion – in bicameral times, those who were conscious in the modern (albeit half-asleep!) sense must have seemed quite mad, whereas afterward the bicameral men, raving and hearing voices, were first considered “prophets” whose counsel was sought by kings, then were marked – explicitly so, right in the Bible (for example, see ZEC 13:3) for death. Nowadays we call them schizophrenics.

    Anyway, this is perhaps the weakest link in the argument – how this change to the modern mind occurred. Here’s a link to an interesting, if farfetched, website in which it is argued that the change could not have been cultural but needed to have been physiological (although when it comes to the brain, it’s hard to separate the two in fine-grained terms). Perhaps I’ll devote a post to it.

    Anyway, thanks as always for reading and commenting. -M

    Posted February 1, 2006 at 11:37 am | Permalink
  3. Bob Koepp says

    Hi again Malcolm –
    I wouldn’t mark the relevant contrast as cultural/physiologic — instead, I’d view it as cultural/genetic, with ontogeny (_especially_ neurophysiological ontogeny) involving the interplay of both factors. Obviously, I’m not a Lamarckian.

    I suspect that if the modern form of reflexive consciousness did emerge a few thousand years back, it was in response to pressures associated with the development of urban centers. That much is largely compatible with what I remember of Jaynes’ account. I don’t think, however, that there has been sufficient time for genetic selection to have effected the spread of this worldwide — hence my suggestion that the transformation was, and continues to be, ontogenetic. In other words, I think that reflexive consciousness is something that we are not born with, but develop as we interact with our social environment. I don’t think very young children have reflexive consciousness, and I think I’ve encountered more than a few adults similarly situated.

    I also suspect that the silence of the right hemispheric voices probably is due to oppression/suppression/repression — processes that don’t depend for their effectiveness on reflexive consciousness — rather than being due to heritable changes in the structure of our brains.

    This is fascinating stuff, and I thank you for giving me an excuse to think about it again.

    Posted February 1, 2006 at 1:44 pm | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    Hi Bob,

    Well, I chose that word “physiological” with some care, so as to include both genetic changes, which would necessarily manifest themselves physiologically, and non-cultural environmental possibilities, such as are suggested in the admittedly farfetched scenario described at the link I added to my previous comment.

    I think some ordinary principles of population genetics (which I think could easily work with something as plastic as the brain over the timeframe involved here) might account for the shift, if any of this is to be believed in the first place. Look at the variation that strong selection can create in dog and cattle breeds, for example; I’m not convinced that the switch is entirely set, if at all, by upbringing. Schizophrenia is strongly heritable, I think, and I’ll bet if one set out to do a little reverse-eugenics experiment one could breed a population of schizophrenics in a few generations.

    Posted February 1, 2006 at 2:07 pm | Permalink
  5. Bob Koepp says

    Malcolm –
    I did check out the link you provided — but even if there is an electrostatic factor to be considered, the understanding of evolution evidenced at that website is, shall I say, marginal.

    Dogs, cattle, and other domesticated species have been subjected to strong artificial selection for something on the order of 8-10,000 years, and artifical selection is much less subject to temporal constraints than natural selection. Though I’m not a die-hard gradualist about natural selection, I don’t know what selective forces could have resulted in such a rapid spread of new genetic traits.

    The point about schizophrenia must also be tempered. Maybe schizophrenia does tend to cause inner voices to become active — that doesn’t mean every case of such voices is an instance of that terrible malady.

    Posted February 1, 2006 at 2:39 pm | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says

    Hi again Bob,

    I do agree that the ideas put forward at that link seem outlandish, and I won’t bother to defend them. The notion of greater electrostatic activity in ancient times is interesting, though.

    The more important point I was making was that we weren’t dealing with speciation here, but rather might simply be dealing with a shift in allele frequencies, which can happen very rapidly.

    I also agree that there might well be an important difference between bicameral man and schizophrenics. Jaynes devotes at least a chapter to the comparison; perhaps we should both give it a look. It’s been a while since I gave the book a careful reading.

    Posted February 1, 2006 at 3:02 pm | Permalink
  7. Henry Verheggen says

    Hi Malcolm,
    I too read that book many years ago. While I was extremely skeptical, I also felt there was some truth to it. For example, a few minutes of meditation will demonstrate that thoughts and images arise spontaneously with respect to the observing subject. There is obviously a “split” going on there. However this observation doesn’t really match up that well with the idea of auditory hallucinations, does it? Thoughts can pop into your head in linguistic form, but that seems different to me than auditory hallucinations.

    I also wonder about the notion of the “ego” that is so prominent in esoteric and mystical literature. There seems to be a long tradition that the ego is in some sense “constructed” or “evolved”, and is not present in young children, etc. This sounds strangely similar to the Jaynes story, except that is widely attested in traditional literature, and it doesn’t refer to consciousness per se. Perhaps it was not consciousness that emerged but ego or self-consciousness. The mystical awakening is then not becoming conscious as in a Jaynes-type theory, but becoming conscious that the thought-world and the ego-complex are constructions overlaid on direct awareness.

    A theory that seems similar to Jaynes’ is Carl Jung’s – that there is more than one intelligence in the mind. The “collective unconscious” is an intelligence that is passed on through the genes, or inherited memory, and is therefore “immortal”. It communicates to the individual consciousness via archetypal symbols. Jung expressed his own experience of God as taking the form of an internal pressure or will that was not his own, and that pushed him to strive for excellence (or something like that. I forget his exact words.) However, Jung’s theories do not seem well received by the scientific community.

    Posted February 2, 2006 at 8:17 am | Permalink
  8. Bob Koepp says

    Henry – Your suggestion that Jaynes’ account might apply to the emergence of ego or self-consciousness, rather than to consciousness per se, is on the mark. I had to go back to Jaynes’ own discussion to remind myself that he uses ‘consciousness’ in a very narrow technical sense compared to its everyday meaning.

    Posted February 2, 2006 at 11:02 am | Permalink
  9. Malcolm says

    Hi Henry,

    Thanks, as always, for dropping by.

    The description of the ego you give makes it sound very much like the view of “personality” that I wrote a post about a while back – in particular, children are considered to be pure “essence”, while personality is built up over time in response to worldly influence. In the Jaynsean sense, I’d take it to refer to the emergence of a kind of autonomy, in contrast to the “hear and obey” model that Jaynes describes for the bicameral man. I agree that this is a very plausible interpretation. And I absolutely agree that the mystical effort, in contrast, is concentrated upon maintaining an underlying awareness; in fact the careful destruction and reannealing of the apparatus of personality is essential for our growth. One must, in a sense, die to be reborn.

    Posted February 2, 2006 at 11:20 am | Permalink
  10. Henry Verheggen says

    Malcolm, your earlier post you just linked to agrees with everything I have discovered about the subject.

    Posted February 2, 2006 at 2:40 pm | Permalink
  11. Malcolm says

    Hi Henry,

    I’m glad to hear that; there are so many different angles on all of this, and so much rubbish out there.

    Posted February 2, 2006 at 2:48 pm | Permalink
  12. Interesting as always, Malcolm.

    I know of Jaynes and of his book, but I’ll have to admit that I haven’t read it. Still, I thought it was interesting to compare your summary, and some of the discussion in the comments, to some themes I’ve been pursuing:

    First, I’ve long thought it vital to distinguish between consciousness in the sense of phenomenal experience, and verbal or language-based consciousness. Many animals appear at least to have the former — as do pre-verbal human infants — but not the latter. Mixing up these kinds of consciousness I think has been, and often continues to be, the source of considerable confusion on this topic.

    Second, I do think that the “I” — i.e., the conscious awareness of self or ego — is a phenomenon of language-based consciousness, and hence, in a real sense, is a cultural construction. I also think, however, that cultural constructions of this sort are products of a kind of cultural evolution that, just like organic evolution, leads to functional structures that have cultural survival value — that enhance the “fitness” of the culture as a whole, in other words.

    Third, if you look at the history of cultural evolution on a large scale, it’s hard to avoid seeing some major breaks, when it seems as though something very fundamental has changed, and the level of complexity increases fairly quickly by orders of magnitude. The first of these was the appearance of the first urban-based civilizations, after tens of millennia in which only small bands existed. As I see it, a comparable change — and the only comparable change, after just millennia this time — was the emergence of an industrial/technological civilization no more than four or five centuries ago in Europe. And one of the characteristics of that emergence is the appearance of a new, “modern” notion of a human individual, in contrast to the embedded individual of traditonal societies — the full development of which (and the full implications of which) we’ve yet to see.

    Posted February 2, 2006 at 8:38 pm | Permalink
  13. Malcolm says

    Hi, Ellis, and welcome back.

    I’m not sure that I agree that language is as primary as you suggest for the consciousness we enjoy, though I think Jaynes might. Much of what animals and infants have – that you call “phenomenal” consciousness – might be something more like “reactivity”. When I think of real human consciousness I am getting at something more like a locus of a sort of recursive awareness, and I am not convinced that human language is a necessary part of that.

    Your last point is very interesting. Have you read Ray Kurzweil’s book The Singularity is Near? I haven’t yet, but it speaks of a coming transformation that he believes will make the previous ones seem like nothing more than the orchestra tuning up.

    Posted February 3, 2006 at 12:41 am | Permalink
  14. When I think of real human consciousness I am getting at something more like a locus of a sort of recursive awareness, and I am not convinced that human language is a necessary part of that.

    Well, I just think it would be a good trick to manage that without language. Can you think of any way of providing an example? What would make you think there is such a thing as this language-less recursive awareness, otherwise?

    When you speak of “reactivity”, I’m not quite sure what you mean — would that be the same as “reflex”, which doesn’t require phenomenal awareness at all? But do you really think that an infant which simply hasn’t learned to speak lacks the phenomenal awareness of colors, sounds, etc.?

    Good point about Kurzweil, by the way. I’m just starting the book, and I’m wary of hype, but he may well be right that we’re on the cusp of another of those order-of-magnitude kind of changes.

    Posted February 3, 2006 at 1:36 am | Permalink
  15. Malcolm says

    Hi Ellis,

    If one examines meditative traditions whose intent is to stabilize our connection with the “pure awareness” that is the essential kernel of consciousness, common to all is an effort to still the ceaseless chatter of language. I grant you, though, that it may be that the acquisition of language is a prerequisite for such work; that a human without language is simply so undeveloped that such a person would have neither the tools nor even the inclination to attempt this sort of inner-directed effort. I also agree that it may be necessary for a person to have language in order to have any sort of inner dialogue, and that it may in some Jaynsean way be the noticing of that inner dialogue that leads to the development of our ordinary consciousness, which I still consider to be somewhere near the bottom of the ladder.

    Yes, I do think that what I am referring to as “reactivity” might be more like a reflex than like consciousness, although “reflex” has a fairly specific technical meaning – reflexes generally do not involve the higher brain functions that would be included in human reactivity, which might include behaviors as complex as, for example, rejecting a Supreme Court nominee.

    In turn, I am not sure that I am quite clear about how you would define “phenomenal awareness” in such a way as to exclude reflexive self-awareness.

    Posted February 3, 2006 at 10:34 am | Permalink
  16. Hi Malcolm.

    Terms get easily confused in this area, certainly. By “phenomenal awareness” I mean what others have referred to as phenomenal experience, qualia, “raw feels”, etc. — examples would be a particular experience of a color, taste, touch, etc., and it’s a kind or level of consciousness, as I see it, that we share with cats or dogs, say, or, as I’ve said, pre-verbal infants. Since the “self” (also as I see it) is a concept or construct, not a raw feel, I don’t think it’s meaningful to speak of “reflexive self-awareness” as being included in this sort of phenomenal awareness.

    So, in the sort of meditative traditions that you speak of, though I’ll admit I know very little about them, I would definitely think that they depend upon something more than this basic level of consciousness. What the intentions or goals of such traditions actually are isn’t clear to me (I’m sure it’s clearer to you), but there’s an interesting irony in the idea that, after spending our childhood acquiring the thick encrustations of culture, we might seek out ways to penetrate back to the pre-verbal state that we began with. So a goal might resemble the sort of “epistemological inversion” I mentioned in this post, in which the deepest truth you can attain is what lies right before your eyes (so to speak) — but then you find that that’s not really what you’re after, after all.

    Posted February 3, 2006 at 2:24 pm | Permalink
  17. Malcolm says

    Hi Ellis,

    I’m not at all convinced that an dog experiences raw feels in the conscious way that you are imagining. There are lots of times where we react to a sensory stimulus – an itch or some minor discomfort, say – by making some adjustment in posture, etc., and it is only after it is intensified or repeated that we become aware of it as a quale appearing in our consciousness.

    Also, I don’t think that the state achieved by the person who, having grown to adulthood in the “normal” way (and having acquired the weighty apparatus of personality and all the cultural encrustation you mention) and who then successfully embarks on a meditative program of inner development, is anything like what we start out with. Yes, there is much stripping away and breaking down of what we have acquire, but we are transformed in the process. I did a post about this recently.

    I read the post you linked to, and found it very interesting. I was reminded both of Hilary Putnam’s idea of “conceptual relativity”, and of the way that quantum measurements actually specify the very existence of the attribute in question by the type of wave analysis we choose to perform. I’ve been trying to fight for the idea that the “world” is parsable into an infinite variety of “truths” – that the categories we pick are not necessarily intrinsic – over at Bill V.s place for a while now, with little success. But that lack of success may be due in large part to my own weaknesses as an amateur philosopher, rather than a weakness in the concept itself.

    Very interesting all around, and I appreciate your thoughtful comments, as always.

    Posted February 3, 2006 at 2:50 pm | Permalink
  18. I appreciate your thoughtful comments as well, clearly.

    I was about to let this go, but couldn’t resist a reply to your first paragraph above: the kind of consciousness I’m imagining in speaking of pre- or non-verbal consciousness is simply seeing or hearing, etc., and I’d find it difficult to believe that anyone who’s been around a dog at all would think that they don’t actually “see” (though, apparently, only in black and white) or “hear” sounds, or “smell” odors, etc., all of which are examples of what I mean by qualia. But perhaps that’s not what you’re saying, in which case I’ll just put this down to my own obtuseness.

    (By the way, I didn’t mean to imply that someone who embarks on a meditative program isn’t transformed by the process. I was just intrigued by the idea that such a person might be like Eliot’s “explorers” in Little Gidding:

    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time. )

    Posted February 3, 2006 at 3:59 pm | Permalink
  19. Malcolm says

    Hi Ellis,

    A tricky business, this. I like dogs myself, and of course they see and hear things. But so, for that matter, does a gnat. Given that I know how unconscious even humans can be at times, I am not at all sure about what level of reflexive self-awareness to attribute to dogs, if any. Just think of how unconscious we are, say, of the cars we pass when we are at the same time driving and having an argument with our passenger. Now take away the argument, and what is left is us driving perfectly well without really being conscious at all. We can do all manner of things that involve sensing in lots of different ways without any conscious involvement, and that might well be all there is to a dog’s inner world.

    I liked the quote from Eliot. It is very apt.

    Posted February 3, 2006 at 11:58 pm | Permalink
  20. Bob Koepp says

    Donovan isn’t in the same league as Eliot when it comes to poetry. But his borrowing from the zen tradition makes what I think is the same point:
    First there is a mountain,
    then there is no mountain,
    then there is.

    Posted February 4, 2006 at 8:28 am | Permalink
  21. Malcolm says

    I remember that song. I guess he got it from Meinong…

    Posted February 4, 2006 at 4:28 pm | Permalink
  22. Brian Ober says

    I’ve never read this book so thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    Three preliminary questions/comments:

    1. Jaynes’ theory, if nothing else, seems to presuppose or accept that there is/are/was/were a God or Gods and they do (or did) want to communicate directly with humans at some point. Is this an accurate assessment and if so, was Jaynes a believer, a religious man?

    2. How does the story of Adam and Eve fit into Jaynes’ theory? Why didn’t they heed the voice of God?

    3. Hasn’t the “voices of society” just supplanted the “voices of the gods”, at least in the fact that they exist as the main guiding force for modern man’s actions and really don’t require much (or any) filtering through the rational thought and decision-making processes? Wouldn’t this still allow for a “bicameral mind”?

    Thanks again for your most insightful posts.

    Posted February 5, 2006 at 9:49 am | Permalink
  23. Malcolm says

    Hi Brian, and thanks for dropping by.

    Regarding your first point, I would be very surprised indeed if Jaynes imagined that the voices heard by bicameral men were those of genuine gods. This would imply that Jaynes believed in the actual existence of, say, Zeus, or in some other god who posed as Zeus, and I doubt very much that this is the case. The theory put forward by Jaynes suggests that the voices were generated in the right hemisphere of the brain, in areas corresponding to the Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas in the left hemisphere that are used for speech and language today.

    As for the second, it is important to keep in mind that the book, as a theory of psychological development, does not comment on matters of theological doctrine such as Adam and Eve, but tries to confine itself to historical and scientific questions. In any event the question of whether or not some particular person might have failed to obey a bicameral voice is beyond the scope of the book, although the degree to which people might have been compelled by the voices they heard is an interesting question generally. At any rate, quite frankly I’d be surprised if Jaynes believed in the literal truth of the Adam-and-Eve story. I think it is safe to say that most scientists and university professors don’t.

    Finally, yes, in an important sense the “voices of society” could be said to have replaced the voices of the gods and kings heard by bicameral men. The difference, though, is that they are not literally heard as voices. The auditory hallucinations heard by schizophrenics today, or by patients undergoing stimulation of the appropriate brain areas, are as vivid as the real thing, and that is what Jaynes is suggesting the experience was like in the bicameral era. Modern society speaks to us in many compelling ways, but auditory hallucination is not one of them.

    Thanks very much for reading and commenting.

    Posted February 5, 2006 at 12:55 pm | Permalink
  24. Jess Kaplan says

    You’re on the right track with your third comment. You will find your point made in terms of Jaynes here http://www.spectacle.org/1199/price2.html, and can pick up a fuller idea about Jaynes’s ideas by backtracking to the earlier parts of the same article.

    Posted February 5, 2006 at 4:04 pm | Permalink
  25. Jake says

    I agree, Jaynes clearly doesn’t take the Adam and Eve story literally, in fact he sees it as a parable for the breakdown of the bicameral mind.

    Have you read the new book out on Jaynes’ theory? It’s called Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness: Julian Jaynes’s Bicameral Mind Theory Revisited edited by Marcel Kuijsten. I’m about halfway through it but really enjoying it so far.

    Posted May 26, 2007 at 4:16 am | Permalink
  26. Malcolm says

    Hi Jake, and thanks for joining in.

    I hadn’t heard about this book, and I will be very interested to read it. Jaynes’s ideas, as radical as they are, are so well-argued, and so coherent, that they maintain their intellectual respectability even after thirty years of sniping.

    Posted May 26, 2007 at 11:07 am | Permalink