Propositional Content in Signalling Systems

Philosophical Studies 171 (3):493-512 (2014)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
Skyrms, building on the work of Dretske, has recently developed a novel information-theoretic account of propositional content in simple signalling systems. Information-theoretic accounts of content traditionally struggle to accommodate the possibility of misrepresentation, and I show that Skyrms’s account is no exception. I proceed to argue, however, that a modified version of Skyrms’s account can overcome this problem. On my proposed account, the propositional content of a signal is determined not by the information that it actually carries, but by the information that it would carry at the nearest separating equilibrium of the underlying evolutionary dynamics. I show that this amended account yields reasonable ascriptions of false propositional content in a well-known formal model of the evolution of communication , and close with a discussion of the serious but perhaps not insuperable difficulties we face in applying the account to examples of signalling in the real world.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
BIRPCI
Upload history
Archival date: 2022-03-05
View other versions
Added to PP index
2014-01-28

Total views
265 ( #29,304 of 71,429 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
33 ( #25,496 of 71,429 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.