This anthology is a compilation of the best contributions from Symbolic Species Conferences I, II (which took place in 2006, 2007). In 1997 the American anthropologist Terrence Deacon published "The Symbolic Species: The Coevolution of Language and the Brain". The book is widely considered a seminal work in the subject of evolutionary cognition. However, Deacons book was the first step - further steps have had to be taken. The proposed anthology is such an important associate. The contributions are written by a wide variety of scholars each with a unique view on evolutionary cognition and the questions raised by Terrence Deacon - emergence in evolution, the origin of language, the semiotic 'missing link', Peirce's semiotics in evolution and biology, biosemiotics, evolutionary cognition, Baldwinian evolution, the neuroscience of linguistic capacities as well as phylogeny of the homo species, primatology, embodied cognition and knowledge types.
Introduction - searching the missing links; Frederik Stjernfelt, Theresa Schilhab.- Part I: The Biosemiotic Connection.- 1. Towards a semiotic cognitive science: why neither the phenomenological nor computational approaches are adequate; Terrence Deacon.- 2. The Symbolic Species hypothesis revisited; Frederik Stjernfelt.- 3. Peirce and Deacon on meaning and the evolution of language; Ahti-Veikko J. Pietarinen.- 4. Semiosis beyond signs. On a two or three missing links on the way to human beings; Goran Sonesson.- Part II: The Prehistoric and Comparative Connection.- 5. The natural history of intentionality. A biosemiotic approach; Jesper Hoffmeyer.- 6. The evolution of learning to communicate: Avian model for the missing link; Irene M. Pepperberg.- 7. From parsing actions to understanding intentions; Richard W. Byrne.- 8. New non-Linnaean, neo-cladistic nomenclature and classification conventions exemplified by recent and fossil hominids; Niels Bonde.- 9. ----The tripod effect: Coevolution of cooperation, cognition and communication; Peter Gardenfors et al.- Part III: The Cognitive and Anthropological Connection.- 10. Language as a repository of tacit knowledge; Harry Collins.- 11. Levels of immersion and embodiment; Theresa Schilhab.- 12. Emerging symbols; Stefan Leijnen.- 13. Gender in innovative techno fantasies; Cathrine Hasse.- Epilogue.- 14. New perspectives; Terrence Deacon.- Index.