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Brian Skyrms presents a fascinating exploration of how fundamental signals are to our world. He uses a variety of tools - theories of signaling games, information, evolution, and learning - to investigate how meaning and communication develop. He shows how signaling games themselves evolve, and introduces a new model of learning with invention. The juxtaposition of atomic signals leads to complex signals, as the natural product of gradual process. Signals operate in networks of senders and receivers at all levels of life. Information is transmitted, but it is also processed in various ways. That is how we think - signals run around a very complicated signaling network. Signaling is a key ingredient in the evolution of teamwork, in the human but also in the animal world, even in micro-organisms. Communication and co-ordination of action are different aspects of the flow of information, and are both effected by signals.
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Table of Contents

Introduction ; 1. Signals ; 2. Signals in Nature ; 3. The Flow of Information ; 4. Evolution ; 5. Evolution in Lewis Signaling Games ; 6. Deception ; 7. Learning ; 8. Learning in Lewis Signaling Games ; 9. Generalizing Signaling Games: Synonyms, Bottlenecks and Other Mismatches ; 10. Inventing New Signals ; 11. Networks I: Information Processing ; 12. Complex Signals and Compositionality ; 13. Networks II: Teamwork ; 14. Learning to Network

About the Author

Brian Skyrms is a Distinguished Professor of logic and Philosophy of Science at the University of California Irvine, and Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University.

Reviews

an extremely stimulating introduction to a fast growing literature... The book is impressively successful in demonstrating the sheer variety of links that signals have to many philosophical themes, as well as the daring scope for future work. One can only hope that this signal is successfully received. * Cedric Paternotte, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews * Signals is an exciting book that blazes a trail towards a new understanding of communication and information processing. * Elliott O.Wagner and Michael Franke, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science * Signals opens up many projects and theoretical directions. A slogan might be offered: a theory of meaning is a theory of sender-receiver coordination. From this point of view, many earlier approaches to meaning have been one-sided, focusing on either the expressive side or the interpretive side of an essentially two-sided set-up. Skyrms's naturalization and extension of the Lewis sender-receiver model is one of the most exciting developments in recent philosophy. * Peter Godfrey-Smith, Mind * This book will make highly rewarding reading for philosophers, economists and biologists alike...an important addition to the literature on signalling theory, and should be widely discussed. * Armin W. Schulz, Journal of Economic Methodology * excellent . . . deserves to be read by anyone who is interested in the origins and analysis of communication and information processing . . . an exciting book that blazes a trail towards a new understanding of communication and information processing.

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