The set of design features developed by Charles Hockett in the 1950s and 1960s remains probably the most influential means of juxtaposing animal communication with human language. However, the general theoretical perspective of Hockett is largely incompatible with that of modern language evolution research. Consequently, we argue that his classificatory system—while useful for some descriptive purposes—is of very limited use as a theoretical framework for evolutionary linguistics. We see this incompatibility as related to the ontology of language, i.e. deriving from (...) Hockett’s interest in language as a product rather than a suite of sensorimotor, cognitive and social abilities that enable the use but also acquisition of language by biological creatures. After a reconstruction of Hockett’s views on design features, we raise two criticisms: focus on the means at the expense of content and focus on the code itself rather than the cognitive abilities of its users. Finally, referring to empirical data, we illustrate some of the problems resulting from Hockett’s approach by addressing three specific points—namely arbitrariness and semanticity, cultural transmission, and displacement—and show how the change of perspective allows to overcome those difficulties. (shrink)
Several lines of research within developmental psychology, experimental semiotics and language origins studies have recently converged in their interest in pantomime as a system of bodily communication distinct from both language (spoken or signed) and nonlinguistic gesticulation. These approaches underscore the effectiveness of pantomime, which despite lack of semiotic conventions is capable of communicating complex meanings. However, very little research is available on the structural underpinnings of this effectiveness, that is, the specific properties of pantomime that determine its communicative success. (...) To help fill in this gap, we conducted an exploratory rating study aimed at identifying those properties of pantomime that facilitate its understanding. We analysed an existing corpus of 602 recordings of whole-body re-enactments of short transitive events, coding each of them for 6 properties, and found out that the presence of salient elements (conspicuous objects in a specific semantic space), image mapping (representing the physical orientation of the object), and gender markers (distinguishing between the represented characters) increased the guessability of pantomimes. (shrink)
We applaud Heintz & Scott-Phillips's guiding metaphor of “unleashing leashed expression,” and we value the unified explanation for the emergence of not only language, but also other forms of unleashed expression, such as multimodal communication. We are more critical of the authors' discussion of the selection pressures acting towards unleashed expression, which are proposed to hinge on partner choice ecology.
We present a new road map for research on “How the Brain Got Language” that adopts an EvoDevoSocio perspective and highlights comparative neuroprimatology – the comparative study of brain, behavior and communication in extant monkeys and great apes – as providing a key grounding for hypotheses on the last common ancestor of humans and monkeys and chimpanzees and the processes which guided the evolution LCA-m → LCA-c → protohumans → H. sapiens. Such research constrains and is constrained by analysis of (...) the subsequent, primarily cultural, evolution of H. sapiens which yielded cultures involving the rich use of language. (shrink)
Politeness in conversation is a fascinating aspect of human interaction that directly interfaces language use and human social behavior more generally. We show how game theory, as a higher-order theory of behavior, can provide the tools to understand and model polite behavior. The recently proposed responsibility exchange theory :313–344, 2019) describes how the polite communications of thanking and apologizing impact two different types of an agent’s social image: warmth and competence. Here, we extend this approach in several ways, most importantly (...) by adding a cultural-evolutionary dynamics that makes it possible to investigate the evolutionary stability of politeness strategies. Our analysis shows that in a society of agents who value status-related traits over reciprocity-related traits, both the less and the more polite strategies are maintained in cycles of cultural-evolutionary change. (shrink)
Language origins.Sławomir Wacewicz & Przemysław Żywiczyński - 2018 - Interaction Studies. Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systemsinteraction Studies / Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systemsinteraction Studies 19 (1-2):167-182.details
In this paper, we complement proximate or ‘how’ explanations for the origins of language, broadening our perspective to include fitness-consequences explanations, i.e. ultimate, or ‘why’ explanations. We identify the platform of trust as a fundamental prerequisite for the development of a language-like system of symbolic communication. The platform of trust is a social niche in which cheap but honest communication with non-kin is possible, because messages tend to be trusted as a default. We briefly consider the place of the platform (...) of trust on the road map as laid out in the Mirror System Hypothesis. We then turn to recent research on turn-taking in primates, which has been proposed as a precursor of the cooperative structuring of conversation in humans. We suggest, instead, that human turn-taking, in its full richness that makes it an interesting explanatory target, may only appear in a communicative system that is already founded on a community-wide, cooperative platform of trust. (shrink)
Stages on Life's Way, the sequel to Either/Or, is an intensely poetic example of Kierkegaard's vision of the three stages, or spheres, of existence: the esthetic, the ethical, and the religious. With characteristic love for mystification, he presents the work as a bundle of documents fallen by chance into the hands of "Hilarius Bookbinder," who prepared them for printing. The book begins with a banquet scene patterned on Plato's Symposium. (George Brandes maintained that "one must recognize with amazement that it (...) holds its own in this comparison.") Next is a discourse by "Judge William" in praise of marriage "in answer to objections." The remainder of the volume, almost two-thirds of the whole, is the diary of a young man, discovered by "Frater Taciturnus," who was deeply in love but felt compelled to break his engagement. The work closes with a letter to the reader from Taciturnus on the three "existence-spheres" represented by the three parts of the book. Stages on Life's Way not only repeats themes, characters, and pseudonymous authors of the earlier works but also goes beyond them and points to further development of central ideas in Concluding Unscientific Postscript. (shrink)
The first major work in the history of philosophy to bear the title "Metaphysics" was the treatise by Aristotle that we have come to know by that name. But Aristotle himself did not use that title or even describe his field of study as 'metaphysics'; the name was evidently coined by the first century C.E. editor who assembled the treatise we know as Aristotle's Metaphysics out of various smaller selections of Aristotle's works. The title 'metaphysics' -- literally, 'after the Physics' (...) -- very likely indicated the place the topics discussed therein were intended to occupy in the philosophical curriculum. They were to be studied after the treatises dealing with nature (ta phusika). In this entry, we discuss the ideas that are developed in Aristotle's treatise. (shrink)
This textbook is a compilation of central and representative texts taken from the German Søren Kierkegaard Edition. This first volume contains texts from Kierkegaard's literary legacy drawn from the first three volumes of the German Søren Kierkegaard Edition.
As a spiritual autobiography, Kierkegaard's The Point of View for My Work as an Author stands among such great works as Augustine's Confessions and Newman's Apologia pro Vita Sua. Yet Point of View is neither a confession nor a defense; it is an author's story of a lifetime of writing, his understanding of the maze of greatly varied works that make up his oeuvre. Upon the imminent publication of the second edition of Either/Or, Kierkegaard again intended to cease writing. Now (...) was the time for a direct "report to history" on the authorship as a whole. In addition to Point of View, which was published posthumously, the present volume also contains On My Work as an Author, a contemporary substitute, and the companion piece Armed Neutrality. (shrink)
An able and clear defense of Bradley's principal theses and the underlying conception of metaphysical enterprise. "This is a book about a metaphysician, about metaphysics, and, most importantly, it attempts to develop elements of a metaphysical position long the lines of what is called Absolute Idealism." The Introduction takes up the Verificationists [[sic]] argument and two recent accounts of metaphysics. Part I devotes ten Chapters to the elucidation and defense of Bradley's conception of reality. It culminates in examining three alternative (...) accounts of "Real". Part II considers "the major philosophical theories of the self in order to defend Bradley's Theory of the self within his metaphysical scheme."--A. S. C. (shrink)
Sally Sedgwick presents a fresh account of Hegel's critique of Kant's theoretical philosophy. She argues that Hegel offers a compelling critique of and alternative to the conception of cognition that Kant defended in his 'Critical' period, and explores Hegel's claim to derive from Kantian doctrines clues to a superior form of idealism.
In his book Shadows of the Mind: A search for the missing science of con- sciousness [SM below], Roger Penrose has turned in another bravura perfor- mance, the kind we have come to expect ever since The Emperor’s New Mind [ENM ] appeared. In the service of advancing his deep convictions and daring conjectures about the nature of human thought and consciousness, Penrose has once more drawn a wide swath through such topics as logic, computa- tion, artiﬁcial intelligence, quantum physics (...) and the neuro-physiology of the brain, and has produced along the way many gems of exposition of diﬃcult mathematical and scientiﬁc ideas, without condescension, yet which should be broadly appealing. 1 While the aims and a number of the topics in SM are the same as in ENM, the focus now is much more on the two axes that Pen- rose grinds in earnest. Namely, in the ﬁrst part of SM he argues anew and at great length against computational models of the mind and more speciﬁ- cally against any account of mathematical thought in computational terms. Then in the second part, he argues that there must be a scientiﬁc account of consciousness but that will require a (still to be found) non-computational extension or modiﬁcation of present-day quantum physics. (shrink)
Plato’s dialogue Cratylus focuses on being and human dependence on words, or the essential truths about the human condition. Arguing that comedy is an essential part of Plato's concept of language, S. Montgomery Ewegen asserts that understanding the comedic is key to an understanding of Plato's deeper philosophical intentions. Ewegen shows how Plato’s view of language is bound to comedy through words and how, for Plato, philosophy has much in common with playfulness and the ridiculous. By tying words, language, and (...) our often uneasy relationship with them to comedy, Ewegen frames a new reading of this notable Platonic dialogue. (shrink)
A layman's guide to the mechanics of Gödel's proof together with a lucid discussion of the issues which it raises. Includes an essay discussing the significance of Gödel's work in the light of Wittgenstein's criticisms.
This volume gathers together for the first time are all the key texts in a crucial debate in modern philosophy, centered on Leibniz's famous 1695 essay, the "New System of the Nature of Substances and their Communication," in which he introduced his strikingly original theory of metaphysics. His "system" became increasingly famous and drew him into discussion and development of these ideas, both in public and in private, with a variety of thinkers, most notably the great French philosopher Pierre Bayle. (...) Woolhouse's and Francks's new English edition gives the only full representation of this debate, and will therefore be essential reading for anyone who wishes to gain a proper understanding of Leibniz's philosophy and its intelletual context. All the texts are newly translated and extensively annotated; many appear in English for the first time. (shrink)
There are three questions associated with Simpson’s Paradox (SP): (i) Why is SP paradoxical? (ii) What conditions generate SP?, and (iii) What should be done about SP? By developing a logic-based account of SP, it is argued that (i) and (ii) must be divorced from (iii). This account shows that (i) and (ii) have nothing to do with causality, which plays a role only in addressing (iii). A counterexample is also presented against the causal account. Finally, the causal and logic-based (...) approaches are compared by means of an experiment to show that SP is not basically causal. (shrink)
As these opening quotes acknowledge, the Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD) represents a core puzzle within the formal mathematics of game theory.3 Its rise in conspicuity is evident figure 2.1 above demonstrating a relatively steady rise in incidences of the phrase’s usage between 1960 to 1995, with a stable presence persisting into the twenty first century. This famous two-person “game,” with a stock narrative cast in terms of two prisoners who each independently must choose whether to remain silent or speak, each advancing (...) self-interest at the expense of the other and thereby achieving a mutually suboptimal outcome, mires any social interaction it is applied to into perplexity. The logic of this game proves the inverse of Adam Smith’s invisible hand: individuals acting on self interest will achieve a mutually suboptimal outcome. However, as this chapter illuminates, the assumptions underlying game theory drive this conclusion. (shrink)
G. E. Moore observed that to assert, 'I went to the pictures last Tuesday but I don't believe that I did' would be 'absurd'. Over half a century later, such sayings continue to perplex philosophers. In the definitive treatment of the famous paradox, Green and Williams explain its history and relevance and present new essays by leading thinkers in the area.
There are two observations about the history of Marxism as a theory, and of the movements informed by that theory, which command wide assent. The first is an indisputable empirical observation: socialist movements proved more successful in the relatively �backward� parts of the world than in the heartlands of capitalism, where Marx expected his ideas to take root and his prophecies to be fulfilled. Marxist ideas and Marxist inspired movements once registered important successes in Eastern and Central Europe (distant as (...) that now seems!), but not in Western Europe and North America. They also -- what concerns us in this essay -- occasionally triumphed, and frequently achieved some measure of influence even where they did not triumph, in �Third World� countries. The second observation is that the phenomena of nationhood and of nationalism were never adequately theorized within Marxism; nor, in most cases, were they dealt with satisfactorily in �practical� terms. This theoretical shortcoming was frequently pointed out by non-Marxists. In more recent times Marxists have been at the forefront in pointing to this lacunae or limitation. Nicos Poulantzas urges an imputedly reluctant audience, �we have to recognize that there is no Marxist theory of the nation�. Similarly Tom Nairn adjudges, in portentious tones: �The theory of nationalism represents Marxism's great historical failure.� Both these observations are indisputably true, but a paradox becomes apparent when they are juxtaposed. It would appear that Marxism proved more influential and successful in the former colonial and semi-colonial countries of the �East� than in the bourgeois societies of Western Europe, despite the fact that in the former region the national question, one of Marxism's great theoretical failings, was an issue of pressing political importance. How can one explain this paradox? This essay argues that a major part of the answer lies in the manner in which Lenin developed and reformulated Marx's theory. It suggests that the seeds both of the successful extension of Marxism to the underdeveloped parts of the world, and of its failure to develop a theory of the nation, lay in the reformulation of Marx's thought undertaken with the theory of imperialism. In order fully to understand how Lenin developed Marx's thought, it is first necessary to consider Marx's writings on the non-Western world and what would later come to be known as the 'colonial question'. (shrink)
This comprehensive and important volume includes contributions by activists, journalists, lawyers and scholars from twenty-one countries. The essays map the directions the movement for women's rights is taking--and will take in the coming decades--and the concomittant transformation of prevailing notions of rights and issues. They address topics such as the rapes in former Yugoslavia and efforts to see that a War Crimes Tribunal responds; domestic violence; trafficking of women into the sex trade; the persecution of lesbians; female genital mutilation; and (...) reproductive rights. (shrink)
"One basic and underlying assumption of this investigation will be that there is a distinct continuity and development in Berkeley's thought which can be traced through all of his reflective analyses of the problem of perception." The essay argues for Berkeley's theory of perception as a "prototype of the phenomenalists." It argues also for Berkeley's incorporation of elements from the representative theory of perception. Of special interest is the treatment of Berkeley's doctrine of "suggestion" and its connection with the role (...) of imagination in the perception of physical objects. The linguistic aspect of Berkeley's work is minimized. Berkeley's theory of notions receives only a passing reference. The last third of the book is a clear and useful discussion of Berkeley and contemporary phenomenalism. It is suggested, though not shown, that Berkeley has affinity with contemporary phenomenology of perception.--A. S. C. (shrink)
This little volume, using a combined approach of phenomenology, history, philosophy, and theology probes deeply into questions of belief and commitment. The book is valuable for scholars who possess the background and sensitivity to appreciate the three essays which constitute it. The first of these, "The Structure of Jewish Experience," takes up the epistemological problem of belief in a God who is present in history and who can consequently be the object of worship by modern man just as he was (...) thousands of years ago. The second essay, "The Challenge of Modern Secularity," deals with current theological issues, including the Subjectivist Reductionism, the "Death" of God, and faith as "immediacy after reflection." The third and most impassioned essay, "The Commanding Voice of Auschwitz," deals with themes which have been the preoccupation of Elie Wiesel, to whom the book is dedicated. There have not been many Jewish writers since the holocaust, who have been willing to write about their faith. Fackenheim speculates that it must be difficult to justify such faith to oneself in light of the fate of the Jews in recent history. In this book, and particularly in the last essay, the author attempts to justify such faith, and he does it intelligently and eloquently.--S. J. B. (shrink)