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Karim Baraghith

The Emergence of Public Meaning from a Generalized-Evolutionary and Game-Theoretical Perspective: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Gerhard Schurz’ (2011) generalized evolutionary theory suggests that an evolutionary algorithm (EA) can be applied to biological and cultural processes alike. Variation, selection and reproduction can be seen as abstract and processual predicates of complex, open and often self regulating systems that exhibit a high degree of freedom. Various interesting questions can be raised within this framework, e.g. how primitive forms of meaning have emerged in social groups. Following Ruth Millikan’s functionalistic teleosemantics (1984, 2005, 2008), there are at least two relevant kinds of meaning: the speakers meaning and the conventional meaning (which again can be divided in several subclasses). Emphasizing the stability and path-dependency of communication and institutionalized patterns of behavior, it has been suggested, that the emergence of conventional meaning - or public meaning, as we shall call it – can be formalized with game-theoretical tools (see Lewis 1969, Skyrms 1996, Harms 2004 and Huttegger 2008).          

In my thesis I will (1) try to embed the teleosemantic approach and the explanation of public meaning within the framework of signaling games of coordination in order to shed light on philosophical concepts like truth-conditions, intension/extension, information-transmission and the distinction of indicatives and imperatives from this naturalistic perspective and (2) try to show the fruitfulness of this conceptual and formal junction for the explanation of culturally evolved phenomena and their stabilizing functions from a scientific-theoretical perspective.

 

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