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Summary (Nonhuman) Animal communication covers a wide gamut from relatively static signals, such as warning (aposematic) coloration which advertises potential toxicity to predators, through involuntary seasonal or momentary changes in appearance, advertising sexual readiness or emotional states, to more flexible and dynamic forms of signaling that may or may not be under voluntary control, such as the bee-dance "language", play bows among canid species, or the vocalizations of nonhuman primates. Philosophical and conceptual issues arising for animal communication include the degree of intentionality involved, the related questions of informationl and semantic content of animal signals, and the relevance of animal signaling systems for understanding the evolution of human language. Also significant are the several attempts to teach a variety of nonhuman species -- chimpanzees, dolphins, parrots, and dogs chiefly among them -- various natural and artificial human languages.
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  1. added 2020-04-23
    What Does It Mean to Be Human, and Not Animal? Examining Montaigne’s Literary Persuasiveness in “Man is No Better Than the Animals”.Rory Collins - 2018 - Sloth: A Journal of Emerging Voices in Human-Animal Studies 4 (1).
    Michel de Montaigne famously argued in “Man is No Better Than the Animals” that humans and non-human animals cannot be dichotomized based on language or reasoning abilities, among other characteristics. This article examines a selection of writing features at play in the text and discusses how successfully they convey Montaigne’s claims. Throughout, I argue that Montaigne presents a superficially convincing case for doubting a categorical distinction between humans and animals on linguistic and rational grounds through the use of rhetorical questions, (...)
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  2. added 2019-11-02
    Signaling Without Cooperation.Marc Artiga - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (3):357-378.
    Ethological theories usually attribute semantic content to animal signals. To account for this fact, many biologists and philosophers appeal to some version of teleosemantics. However, this picture has recently came under attack: while mainstream teleosemantics assumes that representational systems must cooperate, some biologists and philosophers argue that in certain cases signaling can evolve within systems lacking common interest. In this paper I defend the standard view from this objection.
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  3. added 2019-11-02
    Teleosemantics and Pushmi-Pullyu Representations.Marc Artiga - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S3):1-22.
    One of the main tenets of current teleosemantic theories is that simple representations are Pushmi-Pullyu states, i.e. they carry descriptive and imperative content at the same time. In the paper I present an argument that shows that if we add this claim to the core tenets of teleosemantics, then (1) it entails that, necessarily, all representations are Pushmi-Pullyu states and (2) it undermines one of the main motivations for the Pushmi-Pullyu account.
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  4. added 2019-08-04
    Utterances Without Force.Richard Moore - 2019 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 96 (3):342-358.
    In this paper the author attempts to reconcile two claims recently defended by Mitchell Green. The first is that illocutionary force is part of speaker meaning. The second is that illocutionary force is a product of cultural evolution. Consistent with the second claim, the author argues that some utterances – particularly those produced by infants and great apes – are produced with communicative intent, but without illocutionary force. These utterances lack the normative properties constitutive of force because their utterers have (...)
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  5. added 2019-06-06
    Origins of Meaning: Must We ‘Go Gricean’?Dorit Bar-on - 2013 - Mind and Language 28 (3):342-375.
    The task of explaining language evolution is often presented by leading theorists in explicitly Gricean terms. After a critical evaluation, I present an alternative, non‐Gricean conceptualization of the task. I argue that, while it may be true that nonhuman animals, in contrast to language users, lack the ‘motive to share information’ understood à la Grice, nonhuman animals nevertheless do express states of mind through complex nonlinguistic behavior. On a proper, non‐Gricean construal of expressive communication, this means that they show to (...)
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  6. added 2019-06-06
    Gregory Radick, The Simian Tongue: The Long Debate About Animal Language. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2007. Pp. Xiv+577. ISBN 978-0-226-70224-7. $45.00, £23.50. [REVIEW]Roger Smith - 2008 - British Journal for the History of Science 41 (3):449-450.
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  7. added 2019-05-13
    The Cognitive Defender: How Ground Squirrels Assess Their Predators.Donald H. Owings - 2002 - In Marc Bekoff, Colin Allen & Gordon M. Burghardt (eds.), The Cognitive Animal: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives on Animal Cognition. MIT Press. pp. 19--26.
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  8. added 2019-05-13
    Anthropomorphism, Apes, and Language.H. Lyn Miles - 1997 - In R. Mitchell, Nicholas S. Thompson & H. L. Miles (eds.), Anthropomorphism, Anecdotes, and Animals. Suny Press. pp. 383--404.
  9. added 2019-05-13
    Knowledge Acquisition and Asymmetry Between Language Comprehension and Production: Dolphins and Apes as General Models for Animals.Louis M. Herman & Steven N. Austad - 1996 - In Colin Allen & D. Jamison (eds.), Readings in Animal Cognition. MIT Press. pp. 289--306.
  10. added 2019-05-13
    Language and Animal Communication: Parallels and Contrasts.Peter Marler & Christopher S. Evans - 1995 - In H. Roitblat & Jean-Arcady Meyer (eds.), Comparative Approaches to Cognitive Science. MIT Press. pp. 341--382.
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  11. added 2019-05-13
    Language and the Orangutan: The Old “Person” of the Forest.H. Lyn Miles - 1993 - In Peter Singer & Paola Cavalieri (eds.), The Great Ape Project. St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 42--57.
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  12. added 2019-05-13
    Chimpanzees' Use of Sign Language.Roger S. Fouts & Deborah H. Fouts - 1993 - In Peter Singer & Paola Cavalieri (eds.), The Great Ape Project. St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 28--41.
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  13. added 2019-05-13
    A Communicative Approach to Animal Cognition: A Study of Conceptual Abilities of an African Grey Parrot.I. Pepperberg - 1991 - In C. A. Ristau (ed.), Cognitive Ethology: The Minds of Other Animals. Lawrence Erlbaum. pp. 153--186.
  14. added 2019-05-13
    Animal Communication and the Study of Cognition.W. John Smith - 1991 - In C. A. Ristau (ed.), Cognitive Ethology: The Minds of Other Animals. Lawrence Erlbaum. pp. 209--230.
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  15. added 2019-04-29
    Who Apes English?Jack K. Horner - 1981 - Semiotics:347-357.
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  16. added 2019-04-02
    Dogs That Don't Bark in the Night: How to Investigate the Lack of a Domain of Expertise?Dorothy L. Cheney & Robert M. Seyfarth - 1992 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:92 - 109.
    Despite being excellent observers' of each others' behavior, vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops) appear to be surprisingly ignorant about the behavior of the species that prey upon them. In particular, they fail to attend to many of the visual cues created by their predators. One explanation for this lack of attentiveness is that natural selection has favored skills in the social domain that cannot be extended to non-social contexts. In this paper, we review the ways that the term "domain" has been (...)
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  17. added 2019-04-02
    The Biology and Evolution of Bird Songs.Clive K. Catchpole - 1986 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 30 (1):47.
  18. added 2019-04-01
    Kristin Andrews: The Animal Mind: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Animal Cognition: Routledge, 2014, 185 Pages. ISBN: 0415809606 $37.95.Michele Merritt - 2016 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 15 (3):475-481.
  19. added 2019-04-01
    Can a Chimpanzee Make a Statement?E. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, James L. Pate, Janet Lawson, S. Tom Smith & Steven Rosenbaum - 1983 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 112 (4):457-492.
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  20. added 2019-03-25
    How Primate Mothers and Infants Communicate, Characterizing Interaction in Mother-Infant Studies Across Species.Maria Botero - 2016 - In Marco Pina & Nathalie Gontier (eds.), The Evolution of Social Communication in Primates: A Multidisciplinary Approach. London, UK: pp. pp. 83-100.
    All methodologies used to characterize mother-infant interaction in non-human primates includes mother, infant, and other social factors. The chief difference is their understanding of how this interaction takes place. Using chimpanzees as a model, I will compare the different methodologies used to describe mother-infant interaction and show how implicit notions of communication and social interaction shape descriptions of this kind of interaction. I will examine the limitations and advantages of different approaches used in mother-infant studies and I will sketch an (...)
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  21. added 2019-03-18
    From Biosemiotics to Semiotics (Biosemiotics Gatherings 2002).Christophe Menant - manuscript
    Biosemiotics and Semiotics have similarities and differences. Both deal with signal and meaning. One difference is that Biosemiotics covers a domain (life) that is less complex that the one addressed by Semiotics (human). We believe that this difference can be used to have Biosemiotics bringing added value to Semiotics. This belief is based on the fact that a theory of meaning is easier to build up for living elements than for humans, and that the results obtained for life can make (...)
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  22. added 2019-03-18
    What Frege Asked Alex the Parrot: Inferentialism, Number Concepts, and Animal Cognition.Erik Nelson - 2019 - Philosophical Psychology 33 (2):206-227.
    While there has been significant philosophical debate on whether nonlinguistic animals can possess conceptual capabilities, less time has been devoted to considering 'talking' animals, such as parrots. When they are discussed, their capabilities are often downplayed as mere mimicry. The most explicit philosophical example of this can be seen in Brandom's frequent comparisons of parrots and thermostats. Brandom argues that because parrots (like thermostats) cannot grasp the implicit inferential connections between concepts, their vocal articulations do not actually have any conceptual (...)
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  23. added 2019-03-18
    Great Apes Search for Longer Following Humans’ Ostensive Signals, but Do Not Then Follow Their Gaze.Fumihiro Kano, Richard Moore, Chris Krupenye, Satoshi Hirata, Masaki Tomongaga & Josep Call - 2018 - Animal Cognition 21 (5):715-728.
    The previous studies have shown that human infants and domestic dogs follow the gaze of a human agent only when the agent has addressed them ostensively—e.g., by making eye contact, or calling their name. This evidence is interpreted as showing that they expect ostensive signals to precede referential information. The present study tested chimpanzees, one of the closest relatives to humans, in a series of eye-tracking experiments using an experimental design adapted from these previous studies. In the ostension conditions, a (...)
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  24. added 2019-03-18
    Convergent Minds: Ostension, Inference, and Grice’s Third Clause.Richard Moore - 2017 - Interface Focus 7 (3).
    A prevailing view is that while human communication has an ‘ostensive-inferential’ or ‘Gricean’ intentional structure, animal communication does not. This would make the psychological states that support human and animal forms of communication fundamentally different. Against this view, I argue that there are grounds to expect ostensive communication in non-human clades. This is because it is sufficient for ostensive communication that one intentionally address one’s utterance to one’s intended interlocutor – something that is both a functional pre-requisite of successful communication (...)
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  25. added 2019-03-18
    Meaning and Ostension in Great Ape Gestural Communication.Richard Moore - 2016 - Animal Cognition 19 (1):223-231.
    It is sometimes argued that while human gestures are produced ostensively and intentionally, great ape gestures are produced only intentionally. If true, this would make the psychological mechanisms underlying the different species’ communication fundamentally different, and ascriptions of meaning to chimpanzee gestures would be inappropriate. While the existence of different underlying mechanisms cannot be ruled out, in fact claims about difference are driven less by empirical data than by contested assumptions about the nature of ostensive communication. On some accounts, there (...)
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  26. added 2019-03-18
    A Common Intentional Framework for Ape and Human Communication.Richard Moore - 2015 - Current Anthropology 56 (1):71-72.
  27. added 2019-03-18
    Production and Comprehension of Gestures Between Orang-Utans (Pongo Pygmaeus) in a Referential Communication Game.Richard Moore, Josep Call & Michael Tomasello - 2015 - PLoS ONE:pone.0129726.
    Orang-utans played a communication game in two studies testing their ability to produce and comprehend requestive pointing. While the ‘communicator’ could see but not obtain hidden food, the ‘donor’ could release the food to the communicator, but could not see its location for herself. They could coordinate successfully if the communicator pointed to the food, and if the donor comprehended his communicative goal and responded pro-socially. In Study 1, one orang-utan pointed regularly and accurately for peers. However, they responded only (...)
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  28. added 2018-09-24
    Gricean Communication, Language Development, and Animal Minds.Richard Moore - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (12):e12550.
    Humans alone acquire language. According to one influen- tial school of thought, we do this because we possess a uniquely human ability to act with and attribute “Gricean” communicative intentions. A challenge for this view is that attributing communicative intent seems to require cognitive abilities that infant language learners lack. After considering a range of responses to this challenge, I argue that infant language development can be explained, because Gricean communication is cognitively less demanding than many suppose. However, a consequence (...)
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  29. added 2018-01-19
    Symbols Are Not Uniquely Human.Sidarta Ribeiro, Angelo Loula, Ivan Araújo, Ricardo Gudwin & Joao Queiroz - 2006 - Biosystems 90 (1):263-272.
    Modern semiotics is a branch of logics that formally defines symbol-based communication. In recent years, the semiotic classification of signs has been invoked to support the notion that symbols are uniquely human. Here we show that alarm-calls such as those used by African vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops), logically satisfy the semiotic definition of symbol. We also show that the acquisition of vocal symbols in vervet monkeys can be successfully simulated by a computer program based on minimal semiotic and neurobiological constraints. (...)
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  30. added 2017-07-24
    Modelling Ex Situ Animal Behaviour and Communication.Nelly Mäekivi - 2016 - Biosemiotics 9 (2):207-226.
    Communication and behaviour of animals living ex situ has been one of the major sources of knowledge about wild animals. Nevertheless, it is also acknowledged that depending on the environment that the animals inhabit, there are differences in their communication and behaviour. With some species it is difficult to reproduce their natural environment to an extent that excludes deviations from the behaviour and communication exhibited by animals living in situ. In zoological gardens, welfare measures are introduced in order to counteract (...)
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  31. added 2017-07-24
    Microbes and Animal Olfactory Communication: Where Do We Go From Here?Vanessa O. Ezenwa & Allison E. Williams - 2014 - Bioessays 36 (9):847-854.
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  32. added 2017-07-24
    The Simian Tongue. The Long Debate About Animal Language.Gregory Radick - 2008 - Journal of the History of Biology 41 (4):780-783.
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  33. added 2017-07-24
    The Application of Animal Signaling Theory to Human Phenomena: Some Thoughts and Clarifications.Lee Cronk - 2005 - Social Science Information 44 (4):603-620.
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  34. added 2017-07-24
    Is Human Conversation More Efficient Than Chimpanzee Grooming?Michio Nakamura - 2000 - Human Nature 11 (3):281-297.
    Clique sizes for chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) grooming and for human conversation are compared in order to test Robin Dunbar’s hypothesis that human language is almost three times as efficient a bonding mechanism as primate grooming. Recalculation of the data provided by Dunbar et al. (1995) reveals that the average clique size for human conversation is 2.72 whereas that of chimpanzee grooming is shown to be 2.18. The efficiency of human conversation and actual chimpanzee grooming over Dunbar’s primate grooming model (always (...)
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  35. added 2017-07-24
    Morgan's Canon, Garner's Phonograph, and the Evolutionary Origins of Language and Reason.Gregory Radick - 2000 - British Journal for the History of Science 33 (1):3-23.
    ‘Morgan's canon’ is a rule for making inferences from animal behaviour about animal minds, proposed in 1892 by the Bristol geologist and zoologist C. Lloyd Morgan, and celebrated for promoting scepticism about the reasoning powers of animals. Here I offer a new account of the origins and early career of the canon. Built into the canon, I argue, is the doctrine of the Oxford philologist F. Max Müller that animals, lacking language, necessarily lack reason. Restoring the Müllerian origins of the (...)
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  36. added 2017-07-24
    Directed Action and Animal Communication.Daisie Radner - 1993 - Ratio 6 (2):135-154.
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  37. added 2017-07-24
    David Premack, Gavagai! Or the Future History of the Animal Language Controversy Reviewed By.Philip Dwyer - 1987 - Philosophy in Review 7 (3):125-127.
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  38. added 2017-07-24
    The Parable of the Talking Chimpanzees.Alexander Alland - 1973 - Social Research 40.
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  39. added 2017-03-01
    The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds.Kristin Andrews & Jacob Beck (eds.) - 2017 - Routledge.
    While philosophers have been interested in animals since ancient times, in the last few decades the subject of animal minds has emerged as a major topic in philosophy. _The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds_ is an outstanding reference source to the key topics, problems and debates in this exciting subject and is the first collection of its kind. Comprising nearly fifty chapters by a team of international contributors, the _Handbook_ is divided into eight parts: Mental representation Reasoning and (...)
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  40. added 2017-03-01
    The Animal Mind: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Animal Cognition.Kristin Andrews - 2014 - Routledge.
    The study of animal cognition raises profound questions about the minds of animals and philosophy of mind itself. Aristotle argued that humans are the only animal to laugh, but in recent experiments rats have also been shown to laugh. In other experiments, dogs have been shown to respond appropriately to over two hundred words in human language. In this introduction to the philosophy of animal minds Kristin Andrews introduces and assesses the essential topics, problems and debates as they cut across (...)
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  41. added 2017-03-01
    Interpreting the Baboon. [REVIEW]Kristin Andrews - 2008 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 12 (1):5-6.
  42. added 2016-08-11
    Exorcising Grice’s Ghost: An Empirical Approach to Studying Intentional Communication in Animals.Simon Townsend, Sonja Koski, Richard Byrne, Katie Slocombe, Balthasar Bickel, Markus Boeckle, Ines Braga Goncalves, Judith Burkart, Tom Flower, Florence Gaunet, Hans Johann Glock, Thibaud Gruber, David Jansen, Katja Liebal, Angelika Linke, Adam Miklosi, Richard Moore, Carel van Schaik, Sabine Stoll, Alex Vail, Bridget Waller, Markus Wild, Klaus Zuberühler & Marta Manser - 2016 - Biological Reviews 3.
    Language’s intentional nature has been highlighted as a crucial feature distinguishing it from other communication systems. Specifically, language is often thought to depend on highly structured intentional action and mutual mindreading by a communicator and recipient. Whilst similar abilities in animals can shed light on the evolution of intentionality, they remain challenging to detect unambiguously. We revisit animal intentional communication and suggest that progress in identifying analogous capacities has been complicated by (i) the assumption that intentional (that is, voluntary) production (...)
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  43. added 2016-07-09
    Pragmatic Interpretation and Signaler-Receiver Asymmetries in Animal Communication.Dorit Bar-On & Richard Moore - 2017 - In Kristin Andrews Jacob Beck (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds. Routledge. pp. 291-300.
    Researchers have converged on the idea that a pragmatic understanding of communication can shed important light on the evolution of language. Accordingly, animal communication scientists have been keen to adopt insights from pragmatics research. Some authors couple their appeal to pragmatic aspects of communication with the claim that there are fundamental asymmetries between signalers and receivers in non-human animals. For example, in the case of primate vocal calls, signalers are said to produce signals unintentionally and mindlessly, whereas receivers are thought (...)
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  44. added 2016-05-26
    Gricean Communication and Cognitive Development.Richard Moore - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (267).
    On standard readings of Grice, Gricean communication requires (a) possession of a concept of belief, (b) the ability to make complex inferences about others’ goal-directed behaviour, and (c) the ability to entertain fourth order meta-representations. To the extent that these abilities are pre-requisites of Gricean communication they are inconsistent with the view that Gricean communication could play a role in their development. In this paper, I argue that a class of ‘minimally Gricean acts’ satisfy the intentional structure described by Grice, (...)
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  45. added 2015-06-23
    Animal Communication: Overview.M. Naguib - 2006 - In Keith Brown (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Elsevier. pp. 276--284.
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  46. added 2015-06-23
    Anthropomorphism and the Study of Animal Language.J. Kiriazis & C. Slobodchikoff - 1997 - In R. Mitchell, Nicholas S. Thompson & H. L. Miles (eds.), Anthropomorphism, Anecdotes, and Animals. Suny Press. pp. 365--369.
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  47. added 2015-06-23
    Thought and Language: On the Line of Demarcation Between Animal and Human Abilities.Dfm Strauss - 1994 - South African Journal of Philosophy 13 (4):175-182.
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  48. added 2015-06-23
    Is There an Animal Language?GÉza RÉvÉsz - 1953 - Hibbert Journal 52:141.
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  49. added 2014-09-04
    Ape Gestures: Interpreting Chimpanzee and Bonobo Minds.Richard Moore - 2014 - Current Biology 24 (12): R645-R647.
  50. added 2014-03-30
    Animal Communication and Neo-Expressivism.Andrew McAninch, Grant Goodrich & Colin Allen - 2009 - In Robert W. Lurz (ed.), The Philosophy of Animal Minds. Cambridge University Press. pp. 128--144.
    One of the earliest issues in cognitive ethology concerned the meaning of animal signals. In the 1970s and 1980s this debate was most active with respect to the question of whether animal alarm calls convey information about the emotional states of animals or whether they “refer” directly to predators in the environment (Seyfarth, Cheney, & Marler 1980; see Radick 2007 for a historical account), but other areas, such as vocalizations about food and social contact, were also widely discussed. In the (...)
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