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The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (Book Review)

Paul A. Pilkonis
Philosophy & Rhetoric, Spring 1981, 14 (2): 127–129.

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Is it possible that human beings, in the early stages of civilization, were "schizophrenic," controlled by auditory hallucinations, the "voices of gods" whose dictates provided tlie social control necessary for the development of communal life? At first the idea seems farfetched, but Julian Jaynes argues persuasively for such a position in this highly original book. Jaynes' general topic is the nature and origin of consciousness, a topic that has certainly not been neglected throughout the history of philosophy, but his thesis is uniquely synthetic and vigorous.