Determining truth conditions in signaling games

Philosophical Studies 147 (1):23 - 35 (2010)
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Evolving signaling systems can be said to induce partitions on the space of world states as they approach equilibrium. Formalizing this claim provides a general framework for understanding what it means for language to “cut nature at its seams”. In order to avoid taking our current best science as providing the adaptive target for all evolving systems, the state space of the world must be characterized exclusively in terms of the coincidence of stimuli and payoffs that drives the evolution of cognitive complexity. Cognition exploits the reliable clustering of events in this space. Using this framework to analyze our ordinary concepts of truth and justification, it appears that while justification can be a simple matter of conforming to historically entrenched strategies, truth cannot be fully specified on the basis of the system’s causal history, but requires a robust clustering in the larger world state space.



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William F. Harms
Seattle Central Community College

Citations of this work

Content in Simple Signalling Systems.Nicholas Shea, Peter Godfrey-Smith & Rosa Cao - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):1009-1035.

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