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The archaeology of rock art and Western philosophy

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dc.contributor.author Northover, Richard Alan
dc.date.accessioned 2017-03-06T07:23:15Z
dc.date.available 2017-03-06T07:23:15Z
dc.date.issued 2014-08-12
dc.identifier.citation Northover, R. Alan. 2014. The archaeology of rock art and Western philosophy. Journal of Literary Studies 30(1): 101-123. en
dc.identifier.issn 1753-5387
dc.identifier.issn 0256-4718
dc.identifier.uri http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02564718.2014.949413
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10500/22091
dc.description.abstract The article aims to excavate some layers of Western philosophy in order to see how far Western thinkers can illuminate aspects of prehistoric rock art. It will focus on David Lewis-Williams’s neuropsychological and shamanistic theory of San and prehistoric rock art, attempting to supplement his emphasis on states of consciousness with a focus on volition. The article thereby aims to theorise, in metaphysical terms, what the shamans may have been attempting to do in their trance dances and rock art. Just as Lewis-Williams argues that the traditional archaeological focus on intellect, instrumental rationality and alert consciousness cannot do full justice to an understanding of important aspects of prehistoric human culture and behaviour, particularly their art, so this article purposes to show the importance of volition in this respect. Implicit in this article, therefore, is a critique of the rationalism of the mainstream Western philosophical tradition. The excavation will thus begin with a consideration of the Platonic bedrock of Western philosophy – emphasising Plato’s archaic spiritualism – before moving on to Nietzsche’s recent followers, and then to a consideration of Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. It will be argued that these two philosophers of the will can helpfully illuminate certain aspects of shamanistic trance dances and rock art. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher Routledge Taylor&Francis en
dc.subject David Lewis-Williams en
dc.subject archaeology en
dc.subject Western philosophy en
dc.subject rock art en
dc.subject altered states of consciousness en
dc.subject cognitive neuropsychology en
dc.subject becoming-animal en
dc.subject Schopenhauer en
dc.subject Nietzsche en
dc.subject Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION en
dc.subject Research Subject Categories::INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AREAS en
dc.title The archaeology of rock art and Western philosophy en
dc.type Article en
dc.description.department English Studies en


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