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Animal Communication Theory
Information and Influence

$180.00 (C)

Ulrich E. Stegmann, Andrew G. Horn, Peter McGregor, Andrea Scarantino, Caitlin R. Kight, John M. McNamara, David W. Stephens, Sasha R. X. Dall, R. Haven Wiley, Ruth G. Millikan, Drew Rendall, Michael J. Owren, Sahotra Sarkar, Eugene S. Morton, Richard G. Coss, Michael J. Ryan, Claire Horisk, Reginald B. Cocroft, Carlos A. Botero, Selvino R. de Kort, Julia Fischer, Colin Allen, Kate L. Christison-Lagay, Yale E. Cohen, Michael Lachmann, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Fred Adams, Steve Beighley, Thomas C. Scott-Phillips, Simon Kirby
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  • Date Published: June 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107013100

$ 180.00 (C)
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About the Authors
  • The explanation of animal communication by means of concepts like information, meaning and reference is one of the central foundational issues in animal behaviour studies. This book explores these issues, revolving around questions such as: • What is the nature of information? • What theoretical roles does information play in animal communication studies? • Is it justified to employ these concepts in order to explain animal communication? • What is the relation between animal signals and human language? The book approaches the topic from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including ethology, animal cognition, theoretical biology and evolutionary biology, as well as philosophy of biology and mind. A comprehensive introduction familiarises non-specialists with the field and leads on to chapters ranging from philosophical and theoretical analyses to case studies involving primates, birds and insects. The resulting survey of new and established concepts and methodologies will guide future empirical and theoretical research.

    • Provides an introduction to informational and non-informational explanations of animal communication, making this important topic accessible to students and researchers in a range of relevant disciplines
    • Multidisciplinary approach, with specially commissioned chapters from contributors working in ethology, animal cognition, theoretical biology, decision theory, evolutionary biology and philosophy of biology, mind and language
    • Surveys the conceptual foundations of animal behaviour studies, providing valuable information to researchers working on communication in a wide variety of taxa, not just primates or other mammals
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "The best aspect of the book [is] that it not only provides ideas about communication but the evidence and thought processes behind them - an excellent example of scientific theory making in action. Summing up: highly recommended."
    J. A. Mather, Choice

    "This book debates the role of information in animal communication by presenting opinion and evidence from diverse disciplines, such as evolutionary biology, ethology, linguistics, and neurophysiology. It also includes valuable philosophical contributions about the nature of information and meaning."
    David R. Wilson, The Quarterly Review of Biology

    'I would recommend the book to readers who already have a solid understanding of the concepts of behavioural ecology and want a stimulus to think about key issues in communication and to explore the literature more broadly. A unique contribution the book makes is its interdisciplinary set of authors: as a newcomer to linguistics and philosophy, I found the chapters on these disciplines to be an interesting taste of these fields’ approaches. This thought-provoking book would make for a good semester-long graduate-level seminar: I anticipate that many of its chapters would generate lively discussion among researchers on animal communication.' Jessie Barker, International Society for Behavioral Ecology Newsletter

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2013
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107013100
    • length: 472 pages
    • dimensions: 249 x 178 x 28 mm
    • weight: 1.07kg
    • contains: 32 b/w illus. 9 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of contributors
    A primer on information and influence in animal communication Ulrich E. Stegmann
    Part I. Varieties of Information:
    1. Influence and information in communication networks Andrew G. Horn and Peter McGregor
    2. Animal communication as information-mediated influence Andrea Scarantino
    3. Communication as information use: insights from statistical decision theory Caitlin R. Kight, John M. McNamara, David W. Stephens and Sasha R. X. Dall
    4. Communication as a transfer of information: measurement, mechanism, and meaning R. Haven Wiley
    5. Natural information, intentional signs and animal communication Ruth G. Millikan
    Part II. Influence and Manipulation:
    6. Communication without meaning or information: abandoning language-based and informational constructs in animal communication Drew Rendall and Michael J. Owren
    7. Information in animal communication: when and why does it matter? Sahotra Sarkar
    8. Mitogenetic rays and the information metaphor: transmitted information has seen its day Eugene S. Morton and Richard G. Coss
    9. The importance of integrative biology to sexual selection and communication Michael J. Ryan
    Part III. Case Studies:
    10. Animal signals: always influence, sometimes information Claire Horisk and Reginald B. Cocroft
    11. Learned signals and consistency of delivery: a case against receiver manipulation in animal communication Carlos A. Botero and Selvino R. de Kort
    12. Information, inference and meaning in primate vocal behaviour Julia Fischer
    13. Information and uncertainty in meerkats and monkeys Colin Allen
    14. The neural representation of vocalisation perception Kate L. Christison-Lagay and Yale E. Cohen
    Part IV. Animal Signals in Evolutionary Perspective:
    15. The value of information in biology Michael Lachmann
    16. Information and influence in sender-receiver models, with applications to animal behaviour Peter Godfrey-Smith
    Part V. From Animal Signals to Human Language:
    17. Information, meaning, and animal communication Fred Adams and Steve Beighley
    18. Information, influence and inference in language evolution Thomas C. Scott-Phillips and Simon Kirby
    Index.

  • Editor

    Ulrich E. Stegmann, University of Aberdeen
    Ulrich Stegmann is a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen. After training initially as a biologist, he subsequently switched to philosophy and now specialises in philosophy of biology. He was awarded a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship and has previously worked at the Universities of Cambridge and Bristol.

    Contributors

    Ulrich E. Stegmann, Andrew G. Horn, Peter McGregor, Andrea Scarantino, Caitlin R. Kight, John M. McNamara, David W. Stephens, Sasha R. X. Dall, R. Haven Wiley, Ruth G. Millikan, Drew Rendall, Michael J. Owren, Sahotra Sarkar, Eugene S. Morton, Richard G. Coss, Michael J. Ryan, Claire Horisk, Reginald B. Cocroft, Carlos A. Botero, Selvino R. de Kort, Julia Fischer, Colin Allen, Kate L. Christison-Lagay, Yale E. Cohen, Michael Lachmann, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Fred Adams, Steve Beighley, Thomas C. Scott-Phillips, Simon Kirby

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