Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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Interpretation: A) Making statements about other statements, whereby new vocabulary may be introduced. If no new vocabulary is introduced, new information can be obtained by changing the syntactic grouping.
B) In logic, interpretation is the insertion of values (objects) instead of the constants or free variables.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

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John Dupré Gespräche mit Affen Reflexionen über die wissenschaftliche Erforschung der Sprache in D. Perler/M. Wild (Hg.) Der Geist der Tiere, Frankfurt 2005

Perler I 301
Interpretation/SeboekVsApe language research: three main lines of criticism:
1. Inaccurate observation and/or recording
2. Overinterpretation of the monkey behavior.
3. Unconscious influence ("Kluger Hans effect").
Ad 1. the records of Washoe's behavior are different from the video recordings: e.g. instead of the sign for "you me/me" in reality that for "you me/me you from me".
Ad 2. Overinterpretation: "if we can extract from the confused message, what the monkey tries to say, the monkey can also do that".
The listener always requires a degree of interpretation.
I 302
Pro. Chimpanzees usually operate at a high level of excitement.
I 303
Interpretation/Dupré: the controversial interpretations of the sign langauge signs of apes require the assumption of a theoretical background, according to which the monkeys try to communicate something.
And that is not undisputed!
I 304
It is impossible to ask whether monkeys say anything without assuming at least as a working hypothesis that they are trying to do just that.
Reproducibility/Test/Dupré: the reproducibility that is aimed at is precisely contrary to the hoped-for spontaneity, which is particularly difficult to repeat.
A) language as a set of stereotypes, is supposed to ensure purely causal and semantically innocent manipulation, rather allows repetitions,
B) Creative language is expected to have less repetitions.
Ad 3: The trainer of a monkey spends most of his life (and the life of the monkey) with it. Distance and emotionlessness is simply not to be expected here.
I 306
Interpretation/Dupré: there is always a (though not necessarily fatal) circularity.
Symbol use/animal: Monkeys are not able to generalize from a kind of use without elaborate training.
Dupré: obviously, monkeys can learn to use symbols, to refer to absent and announce actions. They can even teach each other symbols.
I 307
A dwarf chimpanzee acquired language skills without special training.
Orangutans: gain better results than chimpanzees or gorillas despite a quieter temper in different cognitive tests.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.

Tie I
D. Perler/M. Wild (Hg)
Der Geist der Tiere Frankfurt 2005

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-11-22