This book is an attempt to offer foundations for understanding the evolution and nature of cognitive functions. It argues that what has been missing is a full appreciation of the complexity of environmental change; how it furnishes important dynamic structure; and how the increasing complexity, and associated abstraction, of that structure, has driven the evolution of complex systems, especially of cognitive functions. The book shows how recent dynamic systems theory is leading to a better appreciation of environmental structure and how the origins of life itself are based on such structure. The book then goes on to illustrate evolving capacities for the abstraction of structure in genetic and epigenetic systems; in cell signalling and developmental systems; and in perceptual and cognitive systems, reaching a new potency in human socio-cognitive abilities. The idea has many implications for research and theory on the human mind; for the goals and purposes of science itself in such dynamic fields; and for the nature of interventions in many practical domains.