Can computational simulations of language emergence support a 'use' theory of meaning?

Philosophical Psychology 23 (1):59-74 (2010)
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Some researchers claim that simulations of the emergence of communication in populations of autonomous agents provide empirical support for 'use' theories of meaning. I argue that this claim faces at least two major challenges. First, the empirical adequacy of such simulations must be justified, or the inference from simulation results to real-world linguistic behavior must be dropped; and second, the proffered simulations are in fact compatible with all of the competing theories of meaning surveyed, suggesting that theories of meaning are not the kinds of theories for which simulations provide evidence. To conclude, I consider what impact this has on the project of developing a naturalized theory of language



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Whit Schonbein
Sandia National Laboratories

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Artificial Intelligence and Natural Man.Martin Atkinson - 1979 - Philosophical Quarterly 29 (116):278.
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Can robots make good models of biological behaviour?Barbara Webb - 2001 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (6):1033-1050.

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