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Measuring Conventionality

O'Connor, Cailin (2020) Measuring Conventionality. Australasian Journal of Philosophy.

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Abstract

Standard accounts of convention include notions of arbitrariness. But many have conceived of conventionality as an all-or-nothing affair. In this paper, I develop a framework for thinking of conventions as admitting of degrees of arbitrariness. In doing so, I introduce an information-theoretic measure intended to capture the degree to which a solution to a certain social problem could have been otherwise. As the paper argues, this framework can help to improve explanation aimed at the cultural evolution of social traits. Good evolutionary explanations recognise that most functional traits are also conventional, at least to some degree, and vice versa.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
O'Connor, Cailincailino@uci.edu
Keywords: convention, lewis, information theory, evolution, cultural evolution, indirect requests, implicature, color
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Computation/Information
General Issues > Computer Simulation
General Issues > Conventionalism
Specific Sciences > Cultural Evolution
General Issues > Game Theory
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Depositing User: Dr. Cailin O'Connor
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2020 22:27
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2020 22:27
Item ID: 17378
Journal or Publication Title: Australasian Journal of Philosophy
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Computation/Information
General Issues > Computer Simulation
General Issues > Conventionalism
Specific Sciences > Cultural Evolution
General Issues > Game Theory
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Date: 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17378

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