The Hand: How Its Use Shapes the Brain, Language, and Human Culture

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9780679412496: The Hand: How Its Use Shapes the Brain, Language, and Human Culture

"The human hand is so beautifully formed, its actions are so powerful, so free and yet so delicate that there is no thought of its complexity as an instrument; we use it as we draw our breath, unconsciously." With these words written in 1833, Sir Charles Bell expressed the central theme of some of the most far-reaching and exciting research being done in science today. For humans, the lifelong apprenticeship with the hand begins at birth. We are guided by our hands, and we are indelibly shaped by the knowledge that comes to us through our use of them.

The Hand delineates the ways in which our hands have shaped our development--cognitive, emotional, linguistic, and psychological--in light of the most recent research being done in anthropology, neuroscience, linguistics, and psychology. How did structural changes in the hand prepare human ancestors for increased use of tools and for our own remarkable ability to design and manufacture them? Is human language rooted in speech, or are its deepest roots to be found in the gestures that made communal hunting and manufacture possible? Is early childhood experience in reaching and grasping the secret of the human brain's unique capacity to redefine intelligence with each new generation in every culture and society?

Frank Wilson's inquiry incorporates the experiences and insights of jugglers, surgeons, musicians, puppeteers, and car mechanics. His fascinating book illuminates how our hands influence learning and how we, in turn, use our hands to leave our personal stamp on the world.

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Review:

The hand is, among other things, a complex symbol, representing both the creative and the prosaic. This blending of the spiritual and the mundane is what makes the hand unique, as it in turn makes us unique among animals. Neurologist Frank R. Wilson has taken on a heroic task: to explain the hand on both of these levels and to show us how we use these marvelous instruments to find and create meaning in our lives.

Anthropology, neuroscience, music, and puppetry all figure prominently in The Hand, which effortlessly guides the reader through its million-year biography. Brains and thumbs growing and changing to accommodate each other, discovering tools and language together, kicked us out of the monkey house for good. While there is still controversy over whether we are the brainiest animals on the planet, it is abundantly clear that we are the handiest.

This manipulative ability is our greatest strength and our most terrible flaw. Without hands we would have no Louvre but also no nerve gas. But, Wilson says, our situation is more complex. Our access to far greater means to achieve our ends gives us a greater hunger for meaning. We long to use our hands to satisfy our needs--whether spiritual or down-to-earth. This creation of meaning from nothing may be our greatest achievement. In the end, The Hand is brightly optimistic, showing that our reach truly does exceed our grasp. --Rob Lightner

From the Back Cover:

"The remarkable human hand has clearly played a fundamental role in our evolution, but it is rarely accorded the prominence it deserves in discussion of the human fossil record. In this lively and highly personal account Frank Wilson engagingly redresses the balance, restoring the hand and the structures that move it to the very center of the story, and relating them ingeniously to the cognitive uniqueness that we normally consider the hallmarks of humanity. A book for everyone curious about how we became what we are."
--Ian Tattersall, author of Becoming Human

"This is a book to savor as one does a gourmet meal, not as one wolfs an oyster. It is about more than hand and brain and language and culture; it is about people, fascinating, remarkable, outstanding people, all of them individuals who have found their role in life and love it and are successful at it, and owe it all to their use of their hands and brains and bodies. Best of all, perhaps, is that Wilson sees this as able to change the world-simply by realizing that underlying language, intellect, and intelligence is the understanding that comes from hands-on experience. It is my candidate for best book of the decade."
--William Stokoe, author of Simultaneous Communication, Asl, and Other Classroom Communication Modes

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Frank R. Wilson
Editorial: Pantheon (1998)
ISBN 10: 0679412492 ISBN 13: 9780679412496
Nuevos Tapa dura Primera edición Cantidad: 1
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Descripción Pantheon, 1998. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería M0679412492

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Frank R. Wilson
Editorial: Pantheon (1998)
ISBN 10: 0679412492 ISBN 13: 9780679412496
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Descripción Pantheon, 1998. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0679412492

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Wilson, Frank R.
Editorial: Pantheon (1998)
ISBN 10: 0679412492 ISBN 13: 9780679412496
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Wilson, Frank R.
Editorial: Pantheon (1998)
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Descripción Pantheon, 1998. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Brand New!. Nº de ref. de la librería VIB0679412492

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