Biological Theory 13 (3):164–179 (2018)

Stephen Francis Mann
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
This article establishes grounds on which attributions of information and encoding in animal signals are warranted. As common interest increases between evolutionary agents, the theoretical approach best suited to describing their interaction shifts from evolutionary game theory to communication theory, which warrants informational language. The take-home positive message is that in cooperative settings, signals can appropriately be described as transmitting encoded information, regardless of the cognitive powers of signalers. The canonical example is the honeybee waggle dance, which is discussed extensively in the second and third sections. The take-home negative message is that signals are not always a consequence of coadaptation. The communication theory approach is just one end of a continuum explored more thoroughly by evolutionary game theory. The fourth and fifth sections explore this wider framework, as well as overturning some widely held misconceptions about information theory.
Keywords Animal communication  Behavioral ecology  Communication theory  Evolutionary game theory  Teleosemantics
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Reprint years 2018
DOI 10.1007/s13752-018-0299-5
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References found in this work BETA

Convention: A Philosophical Study.David Kellogg Lewis - 1969 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Pushmi-Pullyu Representations.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1995 - Philosophical Perspectives 9:185-200.

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Consequences of a Functional Account of Information.Stephen Francis Mann - 2018 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (3):1-19.

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