Evolution of Conventional Meaning and Conversational Principles

Synthese 139 (2):331 - 366 (2004)
Abstract
In this paper we study language use and language organisation by making use of Lewisean signalling games. Standard game theoretical approaches are contrasted with evolutionary ones to analyze conventional meaning and conversational interpretation strategies. It is argued that analyzing successful communication in terms of standard game theory requires agents to be very rational and fully informed. The main goal of the paper is to show that in terms of evolutionary game theory we can motivate the emergence and self-sustaining force of (i) conventional meaning and (ii) some conversational interpretation strategies in terms of weaker and, perhaps, more plausible assumptions.
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