The Human Community in Early Art
468 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Paperback | 9780268107147 | April 2020
Hardcover | 9780268107130 | April 2020
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268107154 | April 2020
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268107161 | April 2020
Using his background in political theory and philosophical anthropology, Barry Cooper is the first political scientist to propose new interpretations of some of the most famous extant Paleolithic art and artifacts in Paleolithic Politics. This book is inspired by Eric Voegelin, one of the major political scientists of the last century, who developed an interest in the very early symbolism associated with the caves and rock shelters of the Upper Paleolithic, but never finished his analysis. Cooper, who has written extensively on Voegelin’s theories, takes up the enterprise of applying Voegelin’s approach to an analysis of portable and cave art. He specifically applies Voegelin’s philosophy of consciousness, his concept of the compactness and differentiation of consciousness, his argument regarding the experience and symbolizations of reality, and his notion of the primary experience of the cosmos to images previously regarded as pedestrian. Cooper demonstrates the political significance of the earliest expressions of human existence and is among the first to argue that political life began not with the Greeks, but 25,000 years before them. Archaeologists, prehistorians, and political scientists will all benefit from this original and provocative work.
Barry Cooper is a professor of political science at the University of Calgary. He is the author, editor, and translator of over thirty books, including Consciousness and Politics: From Analysis to Meditation in the Late Work of Eric Voegelin.
“Barry Cooper’s Paleolithic Politics is far and away the best general introduction to Upper Paleolithic art I’ve come across. Cooper lifts the detailed discussion at the level both of description and of the plethora of carefully assessed theories into a rich philosophical anthropology drawn from Bernard Lonergan, Max Scheler, Hans Jonas, and especially Eric Voegelin.” —Brendan Purcell, author of From Big Bang to Big Mystery
"The great worth of Cooper’s book is to raise the bar on any politics that would aim to cast off the past in hopes of a great leap forward. The paleolithic is more than a choice for wellness gurus, it stands as a challenge to ponder whether human consciousness is rooted to our place in the cosmos." —Law & Liberty
“A refreshingly candid, insightful, well-informed, and well-balanced account by a political scientist ‘outsider’ of the good, the bad, and the useless scholars who have endeavored to make sense of the beautiful but enigmatic imagery of the last Ice Age.” —Paul G. Bahn, author of The Cambridge Illustrated History of Prehistoric Art
“Paleolithic Politics is a thorough, philosophically astute, cross-disciplinary engagement of a political scientist with scientists and scholars of the Paleolithic concerning phenomena that have remained both compelling and deeply puzzling.” —Thomas Heilke, author of The Primacy of Persons in Politics