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Ronald J. Planer [6]Ronald Planer [4]Ronald J. Planer [1]
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Ronald J. Planer
Australian National University
  1.  15
    Protolanguage Might Have Evolved Before Ostensive Communication.Ronald Planer - 2017 - Biological Theory 12 (2):72-84.
    According to one currently influential line of thinking, the evolution of ostensive communication was a prerequisite for the evolution of human language. In this article, I distinguish between a strong and a weak version of this view and offer a sustained argument against the former. More specifically, the strong version of this view would have it that ostensive communication was a prerequisite not just for the evolution of fully modern language but for any language-like system of communication. I argue that (...)
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  2.  12
    Talking About Tools: Did Early Pleistocene Hominins Have a Protolanguage?Ronald Planer - 2017 - Biological Theory 12 (4):211-221.
    This article addresses the question of whether early Pleistocene hominins are plausibly viewed as having possessed a protolanguage, that is, a communication system exemplifying some but not all of the distinctive features of fully modern human language. I argue that the answer is “yes,” mounting evidence from the early Pleistocene “lithics niche.” More specifically, I first describe a cognitive platform that I think would have been sufficient, given appropriate socio-ecological conditions, for the creation and retention of a protolanguage. Then, using (...)
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  3. Replacement of the “Genetic Program” Program.Ronald J. Planer - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (1):33-53.
    Talk of a “genetic program” has become almost as common in cell and evolutionary biology as talk of “genetic information”. But what is a genetic program? I understand the claim that an organism’s genome contains a program to mean that its genes not only carry information about which proteins to make, but also about the conditions in which to make them. I argue that the program description, while accurate in some respects, is ultimately misleading and should be abandoned. After that, (...)
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  4.  20
    How Language Couldn’T Have Evolved: A Critical Examination of Berwick and Chomsky’s Theory of Language Evolution.Ronald Planer - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):779-796.
    This article examines some recent work by Berwick and Chomsky as presented in their book Why Only Us? Language and Evolution. As I understand them, Berwick and Chomsky’s overarching purpose is to explain how human language could have arisen in so short an evolutionary period. After articulating their strategy, I argue that they fall far short of reaching this goal. A co-evolutionary scenario linking the mechanisms that realize the language system, both with one other and with cognitive mechanisms capable of (...)
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  5. The Contributions of U.T. Place, H. Feigl, and J.J.C. Smart to the Identity Theory of Consciousness.Brian P. McLaughlin & Ronald J. Planer - 2014 - In Andrew Bailey (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: The Key Thinkers. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 103-128.
  6.  73
    Gene-Concept Pluralism, Causal Specificity, and Information. [REVIEW]Ronald J. Planer - forthcoming - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C.
  7.  72
    On the Free-Rider Identification Problem.Ronald J. Planer - 2015 - Biological Theory 10 (2):134-144.
    Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis have argued that individual-selection accounts of human cooperation flounder in the face of the free-rider identification problem. Kim Sterelny has responded to this line of argument for group selection, arguing that the free-rider identification problem in fact poses no theoretical difficulty for individual-selection accounts. In this article, I set out to clarify Bowles and Gintis’ argument. As I see matters, the real crux of their argument is this: solving the free-rider identification problem, even in modestly (...)
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  8.  48
    Are Genetic Representations Read in Development?Ronald J. Planer - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (4):997-1023.
    The status of genes as bearers of semantic content remains very much in dispute among philosophers of biology. In a series of papers, Nicholas Shea has argued that his ‘infotel’ theory of semantics vindicates the claim that genes carry semantic content. On Shea’s account, each organism is associated with a ‘developmental system’ that takes genetic representations as inputs and produces whole-organism traits as outputs. Moreover, at least in his most recent work on the topic, Shea is explicit in claiming that (...)
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  9.  6
    On Scott-Phillips’ General Account of Communication.Ronald Planer - 2017 - Acta Biotheoretica 65 (4):253-270.
    The purpose of this paper is to critically engage with a recent attempt by Thom Scott-Phillips to offer a general account of communication. As a general account, it is intended to apply equally well to both non-human and human interactions which are prima facie communicative in character. However, so far, Scott-Phillips has provided little detail regarding how his account is supposed to apply to the latter set of cases. After presenting what I take to be the most plausible way of (...)
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  10.  9
    Gene-Concept Pluralism, Causal Specificity, and Information.Ronald J. Planer - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 53:129-133.
  11. Rethinking Language, Mind, and Meaning, by Scott Soames.Ronald J. Planer - forthcoming - The Quarterly Review of Biology.