The Evolution of Compositionality in Signaling Games

Abstract

Compositionality is a key design feature of human language: the meaning of complex expressions is, for the most part, systematically constructed from the meanings of its parts and their manner of composition. This paper demonstrates that rudimentary forms of compositional communicative behavior can emerge from a variant of reinforcement learning applied to signaling games. This helps explain how compositionality could have emerged gradually: if unsophisticated agents can evolve prevalent dispositions to communicate compositional-like, there is a direct evolutionary benefit for adaptations that exploit the systematicity in form-meaning mappings more rigorously.

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References found in this work

Convention: A Philosophical Study.David Kellogg Lewis - 1969 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Relevant Implication.David Lewis - 1988 - Theoria 54 (3):161-174.
Evolution and the Explanation of Meaning.Simon M. Huttegger - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (1):1-27.

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Citations of this work

Signalling Under Uncertainty: Interpretative Alignment Without a Common Prior.Thomas Brochhagen - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (2):471-496.
Using Logic to Evolve More Logic: Composing Logical Operators Via Self-Assembly.Travis LaCroix - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (2):407-437.
Evolutionary Explanations of Simple Communication: Signalling Games and Their Models.Travis LaCroix - 2020 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 51 (1):19-43.

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