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You cannot establish truth or falsity of a signal without any reference to the purpose of the agents.

For example, my 4x6 photo is a true representation of me for someone who is looking to identify me in a crowd. It is a false representation of me for someone who is trying to buy the right size of sweater for me. Is there an equivalent of something like that when we speak of signals? Is there relevant and irrelevant information within animal signals? Does the sender receiver framework handle the distinction?

Similarities between sender/receiver explanation of content and explanations of causality. Mathematically they look the same. Whats up with that? Also, the case of Pavlovian dogs. A stimulus causes them to produce saliva after some conditioning period. Is the stimulus a signal or a cause? Signals are causes? Or signals have a property of causing something? Are causes objects or relations? But not all causes are signals. Rain causes putting out of the fire. But it doesnt signal it. Or maybe sometimes it does. For someone who is waiting for a signal that fire is out and they see the rain, they will know fire is out. So causes can become signals under certain circumstances. They become signals when there is a purpose (My purpose is to go into the woods and not burn myself in the fire). Not all signals are causes. I can wave to you that the fire is out. My wave is not a cause of rain being put out. All causes can be signals (with the presence of a purposeful agent.) But not all signals are causes. Causes are a subset of signals? The set of things that contain information about other things (signals) are a much wider set of things than set of things that causes other things one is included in the other. Causes are instances of representations plus something else.

There are two types of signals ones produces by self-replicators and ones that are produced by everything else. The second kind always is a causal relationship: causes can always signal effects, and effects can always signal causes.

In response to the claim that sender role is primary, since it seems to always come first you need a signal sent first in order to generate response. Receivers role actually could have come first in reading the natural signals, sent by the environment rather than another agent. For example, reading the signal danger of drowning from observing a flood. Second step in the evolution of interpreting signals could be also done by the receiver anticipating the behavior of an agent even in the absence of an intentionally sent signal. For example, anticipating a bite when seeing bared teeth.

The greater is the interaction between agents in the shared environment, the more likely they are to come up with a communication system. Agents of the same species are the most likely to understand each other. In the second place are the agents of different species that share a lot of the environment or depend on each other, like humans and dogs. But species that have nothing in common dolphins and people will have the hardest time interpreting each others signals and learning to send them. For the development of a signal, it is critical that individual fitness of the agents is somehow inter-dependent.

Question on OHC. He claims that most species other than apes do not have attention-getting signals. But the signals used in training animals by humans are all attention-getting. They do not have any inherent meaning and need to be taught, unlike intention-movements. So, animals can interpret them. So how do we know that we are simply not missing them? Perhaps the only reason we notice ape attention-getting signals is because apes are close to us and their signals resemble ours the most. Notes on OHC ch 1-2. It is interesting that domestic animals can both produce and understand more complex signals in their interaction with humans, demonstrating understanding of intentionality. So, understanding of intentionality and production/understanding of complex signals is not a matter of cognitive capacity, but rather the right social environment. Once shared intentions arise, communication becomes more complex. A natural test of that would be to look at highly social animals, such as ants and groundhogs or something. Do they have signals meant and understood to help another, rather than all imperative? He calls vocalization signals fixed genetically, mostly expressing emotions, mostly involuntary. First, what about bird and monkey vocalization signals that express the kind of predator that is around (snake vs dog vs leopard). Those seem to express more than just emotion. Second, fixed vs flexible signals may be determined by the selection process fixed are selected through natural selection of individuals that use them, while flexible signals are selected through something like cultural evolution of ideas. Isnt learning and conditioning a form of selection of ideas?