Communication As Evidence of Thinking State of the Art Report
This report examines ways in which studies of animal communication can increase our understanding of animal minds. The report begins by offering working definitions of two particularly difficult concepts, consciousness and intentionality. Second, the report examines whether the use of such definitions helps to understand the mental events that may be occurring during particular communicative acts. Referential communication, deceit, and reciprocal altruism are considered as examples. Third, the report discusses the analysis of shared conventions and internal representations in a variety of animal signals. Finally, the report considers certain findings from the ape language projects which seem to offer new insights into the problem of animal minds. Discussion emphasizes the relation between this work and studies of natural communication.
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