I am very grateful to Geoff Clark for his comment on my ecological interpretation of Palaeolithic art (PPS 58, 107–109, see Mithen 1990, 1991). I had no idea that it was a ‘post hoc accommodative argument’ with an ‘underaxiomatised’ theoretical framework and ‘unwieldy systematics’. I suppose this means he doesn't like it. Clark says that my interpretation reminds him of a Chinese meal — initially satisfying but not ‘sticking with you’ for very long. In 1992 Clark wrote that ‘Mithen's … work goes a long way to explaining the art of this period’ (Lindly & Clark 1990, 61) — he seems to have taken two years to digest the Chinese meal of my interpretation.
Clark's main objection is that I tried to develop a theoretical framework around individual decision making and then attempted to use this to interpret the variability and patterning in Palaeolithic art and other elements of the archaeological record. He objects to this on paradigmatic grounds, seeing no rationale for models of individual agency, but primarily on operational grounds, arguing that individuals cannot be monitored in the archaeological record.