Ben Jeffares

Ben Jeffares

BFA, MA, PhD

About

14
Publications
593
Reads
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170
Citations
Introduction
Ben Jeffares currently works at the Research and Innovation, Whitireia New Zealand. Ben does research in Philosophy of Science, Cultural Anthropology and Biological Anthropology. His current project is biogeography and life history theory in relation to the evolution of cognition in the primate lineage.
Additional affiliations
February 2017 - February 2017
Whitireia New Zealand
Position
  • Consultant
March 2008 - May 2011
Victoria University of Wellington
Position
  • Marsden Post-Doctoral Fellow
Description
  • Post-doc on Marsden Fund project headed by Professor Kim Sterelny.
Education
March 2003 - March 2008
Australian National University
Field of study
  • Philosophy
March 2001 - March 2003
Victoria University of Wellington
Field of study
  • Philosophy
March 1992 - December 1996
Otago Polytechnic
Field of study
  • Printmaking and computer art

Publications

Publications (14)
Article
The evolution of cognition literature is dominated by views that presume the evolution of underlying neural structures. However, recent models of cognition reemphasize the role of physiological structures, development, and external resources as important components of cognition. This article argues that these alternative models of cognition challen...
Article
The investigative strategy that Vaesen uses presumes that cognitive skills are to some extent hardwired; developmentally plastic traits would not provide the relevant comparative information. But recent views of cognition that stress external resources, and evolutionary accounts such as cultural niche construction, urge us to think carefully about...
Article
The article presents several models of evolutionary psychology. Nativist evolutionary psychology is built around a most important insight that ordinary human decision-making has a high cognitive load. Evolutionary nativists defend a modular solution to the problem of information load on human decision-making. Human minds comprises of special purpos...
Article
The structuring of our environment to provide cues and reminders for ourselves is common: We leave notes on the fridge, we have a particular place for our keys where we deposit them, making them easy to find. We alter our world to streamline our cognitive tasks. But how did hominins gain this capacity? What pushed our ancestors to structure their p...
Article
IntroductionRational Agents and the Conceptual Background Beyond Homo economicusInformational ResourcesA Poisoned Chalice?What Is to Be Done?References
Article
I review the book “Making Prehistory: Historical Science and the Scientific Realism Debate” by Derek Turner. Turner suggests that philsophers should take seriously the historical sciences such as geology when considering philosophy of science issues. To that end, he explores the scientific realism debate with the historical sciences in mind. His co...
Article
The Interpretive DilemmaArchaeology and PhilosophyMiddle Range TheoryThe Science of ArchaeologyWhere Do Hypotheses Come From?Cognitive Archaeology and the Archaeology of CognitionDarwinian and Biological ArchaeologyEnvironmental ArchaeologyArchaeology as Social ScienceReferencesFurther Reading
Article
Full-text available
This paper will outline a series of changes in the archaeological record related to Hominins. 1 I argue that these changes underlie the emergence of the capacity for strategic thinking. The paper will start by examining the foundation of technical skills found in primates, and then work through various phases of the archaeological and paleontologic...
Article
The historical sciences, such as geology, evolutionary biology, and archaeology, appear to have no means to test hypotheses. However, on closer examination, reasoning in the historical sciences relies upon regularities, regularities that can be tested. I outline the role of regularities in the historical sciences, and in the process, blur the disti...
Article
I show how archaeologists have two problems. The construction of scenarios accounting for the raw data of Archaeology, the material remains of the past, and the explanation of pre-history. Within Archaeology, there has been an ongoing debate about how to constrain speculation within both of these archaeological projects, and archaeologists have con...
Article
“Human Paleobiology” is about the use of fossils to determine the adaptations and evolutionary trajectories of human ancestors. At least part of this book’s purpose may be summed up in its title; this is Paleobiology, the study of long dead organisms via their fossils, as opposed to Paleoanthropology, the physical anthropology of dead people. Conse...
Article
I make two claims about cognitive archaeology. I question its role, seeing psychology as yet another contributor to the archaeological tool-kit rather than as something unique. I then suggest that cognitive archaeology is not in a position to provide evolutionary contexts without other disciplines. As a consequence it cannot deliver on the provisio...

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
Lots, if not most co-evolutionary hypotheses that include technology focus on stone tools. This project is an exploration of the co-evolution of behaviour and fibre technologies.
Project
Evaluating any possible evolutionary linkages between craft and wellbeing. There is a strong literature on art and craft therapy, but little on wellbeing, and none that I can see on evolutionary linkages. This work directly crosslinks with previous work on technological competence.
Project
Review some of the special pleading arguments around aspects of the historical sciences, (Currie, Turner and Cleland) and then review, and as necessary re-present my arguments on regularities and the historical/experimental/engineering divide.