David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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A common method of improving how well understood a theory is, is by comparing it to another theory which has been better developed. Radical interpretation is a theory which attempts to explain how communication has meaning. Radical interpretation is treated as another time dependent theory and compared to the time dependent theory of biological evolution. Several similarities and differences are uncovered. Biological evolution can be gradual or punctuated. Whether radical interpretation is gradual or punctuated depends on how the question is framed: on the coarse-grained time scale it proceeds gradually, but on the fine-grained time scale it proceeds by punctuated equilibria. Biological evolution proceeds by natural selection, the counterpart to this is the increase in both correspondence and coherence. Exaption, mutations, and spandrels have counterparts metaphor, speech errors, and puns respectively. Homologous and analogs have direct counterparts in specific words. The most important differences originate from the existence of a unit of inheritance (the traditional gene) occurring in biological evolution - there is no such unit in language.
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