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KLI Brown Bag
My Nipples Explode With Delight: Information Pooling and Its Evolution
Kim STERELNY (Australian National University, Canberra, and Victoria University,
2010-06-22 13:15 - 2010-06-22 13:15
KLI for Evolution and Cognition Research, Altenberg, Austria
Organized by KLI

Topic description:
One of the distinctive features of hominin evolution is the massive expansion of cooperation in general, and informational cooperation, in particular, in our lineage. Cooperation poses a well-known challenge to evolutionary theory, for often it seems as if we should expect cooperation to be destabilized by defection. In informational cooperation, this problem takes a special form: the problem of signal honesty. Honest signaling seems especially hard to understand in the human case, because much human signaling is cheap: honesty is not usually guaranteed by signal costs. Moreover, signals are often about phenomena displaced in space and time. This paper will explore these issues, identifying a number of different mechanisms that collaborate to explain high levels of honesty in our communication systems.


Biographical note:
Kim Sterelny is a professor of philosophy who shares his time between the Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS) at Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, and Victoria University of Wellington. He studied philosophy at Sydney University, and previously taught at Sydney, ANU, and La Trobe universities. He has been a Visiting Professor at Simon Fraser University, Cal Tech, and the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Sterelny is the editor of the journal Biology and Philosophy, and the winner of several international prizes in the philosophy of science, including the Lakatos Award for a distinguished contribution to the philosophy of science (2004) and the Jean Nicod Prize (2008). He is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Sterelny\'s principal area of research is in the philosophy of biology, but he also works in the philosophy of mind. In addition to philosophy, Kim spends his time eating curries, drinking red wine, bushwalking, and bird watching.