From Interaction to Symbol

A systems view of the evolution of signs and communication

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Against the background of jargon-ridden and often obscure semiotic literature Sadowski’s book offers a reader-friendly yet rigorous account of human communication and its evolution from animal and primate behaviour. What is specifically human about the way we exchange information with other people, and to what extent are our facial expressions, body language, and even emotive elements of speech still indebted to our pre-human ancestors? Why can the chimpanzees, smart as they are, not interpret animal tracks in the ground; why did religions often ban representational art; why is photography perceptually more powerful than painting; how have human syntactic speech and combinatorial grammar enabled the “explosion” of culture; and why do otherwise rational humans often strongly believe in the objective existence of unempirical, virtual entities such as religious and philosophic concepts? These and many other fascinating questions are addressed in the book within the methodological framework of systems theory and evolutionary psychology.

Subjects: Communication Studies; Philosophy; Cognition and language

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