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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. The Parable of the Talking Chimpanzees.Alexander Alland - 1973 - Social Research 40.
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  2. 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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  3. Interpreting the Baboon. [REVIEW]Kristin Andrews - 2008 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 12 (1):5-6.
  4. 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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  5. 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 (...)
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  6. Confronting Language, Representation, and Belief: A Limited Defense of Mental Continuity.Kristin Andrews & Ljiljana Radenovic - 2012 - In Todd Shackelford & Jennifer Vonk (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Evolutionary Psychology. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 39-60.
    According to the mental continuity claim (MCC), human mental faculties are physical and beneficial to human survival, so they must have evolved gradually from ancestral forms and we should expect to see their precursors across species. Materialism of mind coupled with Darwin’s evolutionary theory leads directly to such claims and even today arguments for animal mental properties are often presented with the MCC as a premise. However, the MCC has been often challenged among contemporary scholars. It is usually argued that (...)
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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. Decomposing Intentionality: Perspectives on Intentionality Drawn From Language Research with Two Species of Chimpanzees. [REVIEW]William P. Bechtel - 1993 - Biology and Philosophy 8 (1):1-32.
    In philosophy the term intentionality refers to the feature possessed by mental states of beingabout things others than themselves. A serious question has been how to explain the intentionality of mental states. This paper starts with linguistic representations, and explores how an organism might use linguistic symbols to represent other things. Two research projects of Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, one explicity teaching twopan troglodytes to use lexigrams intentionally, and the other exploring the ability of several members ofpan paniscus to learn lexigram use (...)
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  10. Why We Can't Say What Animals Think.Jacob Beck - 2013 - Philosophical Psychology 26 (4):520–546.
    Realists about animal cognition confront a puzzle. If animals have real, contentful cognitive states, why can’t anyone say precisely what the contents of those states are? I consider several possible resolutions to this puzzle that are open to realists, and argue that the best of these is likely to appeal to differences in the format of animal cognition and human language.
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  11. The Role of Abstract Reference in Mead's Account of Human Origins.Tom Burke - 2005 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 41 (3):567-601.
    This paper addresses issues regarding human origins, drawing particularly on George Herbert Mead 's account of the emergence of self consciousness as a product of social and physical evolution. Some of John Dewey's ideas on the nature of thought and language are added to that account. The so called "great leap" in human evolution that occurred some 50,000 years ago is attributed not just to the emergence of symbols or language but to the development of fully recursive languages suited for (...)
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  12. No Speech, Never Mind!Monima Chadha - 2007 - Philosophical Psychology 20 (5):641 – 657.
    In a series of classic papers, Donald Davidson put forward an ingenious argument to challenge the ascription of minds to nonlinguistic animals. Davidson's conclusions have been mercilessly demolished in the literature by cognitive ethologists, but none of them have directly addressed Davidson's argument. First, this paper is an attempt to elucidate and evaluate Davidson's central argument for denying minds to nonlinguistic animals. Davidson's central argument puts forth a challenge to those of us who want to attribute minds to nonlinguistic animals. (...)
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  13. The Application of Animal Signaling Theory to Human Phenomena: Some Thoughts and Clarifications.L. Cronk - 2005 - Social Science Information 44 (4):603-620.
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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. How to Learn Language Like a Chimpanzee.Christopher Gauker - 1990 - Philosophical Psychology 4 (1):139-46.
    This paper develops the hypothesis that languages may be learned by means of a kind of cause-effect analysis. This hypothesis is developed through an examination of E. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh's research on the abilities of chimpanzees to learn to use symbols. Savage-Rumbaugh herself tends to conceive of her work as aiming to demonstrate that chimpanzees are able to learn the "referential function" of symbols. Thus the paper begins with a critique of this way of viewing the chimpanzee's achievements. The hypothesis that (...)
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  17. Origins of Human Communication - by Michael Tomasello.Steven Gross - 2010 - Mind and Language 25 (2):237-246.
  18. Rational Animals?Susan L. Hurley & Matthew Nudds (eds.) - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
    To what extent can animal behaviour be described as rational? What does it even mean to describe behaviour as rational? -/- This book focuses on one of the major debates in science today - how closely does mental processing in animals resemble mental processing in humans. It addresses the question of whether and to what extent non-human animals are rational, that is, whether any animal behaviour can be regarded as the result of a rational thought processes. It does this with (...)
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  19. 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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  20. Kanzi, Evolution, and Language.Elisabeth A. Lloyd - 2004 - Biology and Philosophy 19 (4):577-88.
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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. Ape Gestures: Interpreting Chimpanzee and Bonobo Minds.Richard Moore - 2014 - Current Biology 24 (12): R645-R647.
  25. The Bee Battles: Karl von Frisch, Adrian Wenner and the Honey Bee Dance Language Controversy. [REVIEW]Tania Munz - 2005 - Journal of the History of Biology 38 (3):535 - 570.
    In 1967, American biologist Adrian Wenner (1928-) launched an extensive challenge to Karl von Frisch's (1886-1982) theory that bees communicate to each other the direction and distance of food sources by a symbolic dance language. Wenner and various collaborators argued that bees locate foods solely by odors. Although the dispute had largely run its course by 1973 -- von Frisch was awarded a Nobel Prize, while Wenner withdrew from active bee research -- it offers us a rare window into mid-twentieth (...)
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  26. Animal Communication: Overview.M. Naguib - 2006 - In Keith Brown (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Elsevier. pp. 276--284.
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  27. 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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  28. Gavagai! Or the Future History of the Animal Language Controversy.David Premack - 1986 - MIT Press.
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  29. 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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  30. Primate Language and the Playback Experiment, in 1890 and 1980.Gregory Radick - 2005 - Journal of the History of Biology 38 (3):461-493.
    The playback experiment -- the playing back of recorded animal sounds to the animals in order to observe their responses -- has twice become central to celebrated researches on non-human primates. First, in the years around 1890, Richard Garner, an amateur scientist and evolutionary enthusiast, used the new wax cylinder phonograph to record and reproduce monkey utterances with the aim of translating them. Second, in the years around 1980, the ethologists Peter Marler, Robert Seyfarth, and Dorothy Cheney used tape recorders (...)
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  31. 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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  32. Directed Action and Animal Communication.Daisie Radner - 1993 - Ratio 6 (2):135-154.
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  33. Is There an Animal Language?GÉza RÉvÉsz - 1953 - Hibbert Journal 52:141.
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  34. Descartes's Language Test and Ape Language Research.Howard Sankey - 2010 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 29 (2):111-123.
    Some philosophers (e.g. Descartes) argue that there is an evidential relationship between language and thought, such that presence of language is indicative of mind. Recent language acquisition research with apes such as chimpanzees and bonobos attempts to demonstrate the capacity of these primates to acquire at least rudimentary linguistic capacity. This paper presents a case study of the ape language research and explores the consequences of the research with respect to the argument that animals lack mind because they fail to (...)
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  35. Do Apes Use Language?E. S. Savage-Rumbaugh, Duane M. Rumbaugh & Sarah T. Boysen - 1980 - American Scientist 68:49-61.
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  36. Animal Language: Methodological and Interpretative Issues.Sue Savage-Rumbaugh & K. E. Brakke - 1996 - In Colin Allen & D. Jamison (eds.), Readings in Animal Cognition. MIT Press. pp. 269--288.
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  37. Speaking of Apes: A Critical Anthology of Two-Way Communication with Man.Thomas A. Sebeok & J. Umiker-Sebeok - 1980 - Plenum Press.
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  38. The Passions and Animal Language, 1540-1700.Richard Serjeantson - 2001 - Journal of the History of Ideas 62 (3):425-444.
  39. The Simian Tongue: The Long Debate About Animal Language. [REVIEW]Roger Smith - 2008 - British Journal for the History of Science 41 (3):449-450.
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  40. 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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  41. Language as a Window on Rationality.E. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, Duane M. Rumbaugh & William M. Fields - 2006 - In Susan L. Hurley & Matthew Nudds (eds.), Rational Animals? Oxford University Press.
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  42. 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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