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The Domestication of LanguageCultural Evolution and the Uniqueness of the Human Animal$
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Daniel Cloud

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231167925

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231167925.001.0001

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Varieties of Biological Information

Varieties of Biological Information

Chapter:
(p.91) 4 Varieties of Biological Information
Source:
The Domestication of Language
Author(s):

Daniel Cloud

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231167925.003.0004

This chapter examines information and information processing in biological systems. Information processing of fairly complex kinds is fundamental to life. Cells seem to have recognizable memory molecules for storing information, as well as molecules that are used for signaling. There is often machinery for recombining, permuting, or otherwise manipulating stored information in organized and elaborate ways. There is also machinery or some other provision for filtering out noise. All these are components that any physically realized information-processing device would need. The chapter asks: How should we think about this sort of biological information? Is it a real part of nature, or just something we humans anthropomorphically project onto the brute physical complexity of the real world? It also considers birdsong, particularly the gap in complexity between birdsong and human speech.

Keywords:   communication, information processing, biological systems, signaling, human speech

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