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Travis LaCroix
Dalhousie University
  1.  61
    On Salience and Signaling in Sender–Receiver Games: Partial Pooling, Learning, and Focal Points.Travis LaCroix - 2020 - Synthese 197 (4):1725-1747.
    I introduce an extension of the Lewis-Skyrms signaling game, analysed from a dynamical perspective via simple reinforcement learning. In Lewis’ (Convention, Blackwell, Oxford, 1969) conception of a signaling game, salience is offered as an explanation for how individuals may come to agree upon a linguistic convention. Skyrms (Signals: evolution, learning & information, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2010a) offers a dynamic explanation of how signaling conventions might arise presupposing no salience whatsoever. The extension of the atomic signaling game examined here—which I (...)
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  2.  24
    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.
    I consider how complex logical operations might self-assemble in a signalling-game context via composition of simpler underlying dispositions. On the one hand, agents may take advantage of pre-evolved dispositions; on the other hand, they may co-evolve dispositions as they simultaneously learn to combine them to display more complex behaviour. In either case, the evolution of complex logical operations can be more efficient than evolving such capacities from scratch. Showing how complex phenomena like these might evolve provides an additional path to (...)
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  3.  27
    Epistemology and the Structure of Language.Jeffrey A. Barrett & Travis LaCroix - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (2):953-967.
    We are concerned here with how structural properties of language may come to reflect features of the world in which it evolves. As a concrete example, we will consider how a simple term language might evolve to support the principle of indifference over state descriptions in that language. The point is not that one is justified in applying the principle of indifference to state descriptions in natural language. Instead, it is that one should expect a language that has evolved in (...)
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  4.  30
    The Dynamics of Retraction in Epistemic Networks.Travis LaCroix, Anders Geil & Cailin O’Connor - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (3):415-438.
    Sometimes retracted or refuted scientific information is used and propagated long after it is understood to be misleading. Likewise, retracted news items may spread and persist, despite being publi...
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  5.  9
    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.
    This paper applies the theoretical criteria laid out by D’Arms et al. to various aspects of evolutionary models of signalling. The question that D’Arms et al. seek to answer can be formulated as follows: Are the models that we use to explain the phenomena in question conceptually adequate? The conceptual adequacy question relates the formal aspects of the model to those aspects of the natural world that the model is supposed to capture. Moreover, this paper extends the analysis of D’Arms (...)
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  6.  5
    The tragedy of the AI commons.Travis LaCroix & Aydin Mohseni - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-33.
    Policy and guideline proposals for ethical artificial intelligence research have proliferated in recent years. These are supposed to guide the socially-responsible development of AI for a common good. However, there typically exist incentives for non-cooperation ; and, these proposals often lack effective mechanisms to enforce their own normative claims. The situation just described constitutes a social dilemma—namely, a situation where no one has an individual incentive to cooperate, though mutual cooperation would lead to the best outcome for all involved. In (...)
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  7.  8
    Reflexivity, Functional Reference, and Modularity: Alternative Targets for Language Origins.Travis LaCroix - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (5):1234-1245.
    Researchers of language origins typically try to explain how compositional communication might evolve to bridge the gap between animal communication and natural language. However, as an explanatory target, compositionality has been shown to be problematic for a gradualist approach to the evolution of language. In this article, I suggest that reflexivity provides an apt and plausible alternative target that does not succumb to the problems that compositionality faces. I further explain how protoreflexivity, which depends on functional reference, gives rise to (...)
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  8.  29
    Power by Association.Travis Lacroix & Cailin O'Connor - manuscript
    We use tools from evolutionary game theory to examine how power might influence the cultural evolution of inequitable norms between discernible groups in a population of otherwise identical individuals. Similar extant models always assume that power is homogeneous across a social group. As such, these models fail to capture situations where individuals who are not themselves disempowered nonetheless end up disadvantaged in bargaining scenarios by dint of their social group membership. Thus, we assume that there is heterogeneity in the groups (...)
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  9.  1
    Epistemology and the Structure of Language.Travis LaCroix & Jeffrey A. Barrett - 2020 - Annalen der Philosophie 87 (2):953-967.
    We are concerned here with how structural properties of language may come to reflect features of the world in which it evolves. As a concrete example, we will consider how a simple term language might evolve to support the principle of indifference over state descriptions in that language. The point is not that one is justified in applying the principle of indifference to state descriptions in natural language. Instead, it is that one should expect a language that has evolved in (...)
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