Defining Communication and Language from Within a Pluralistic Evolutionary Worldview
New definitions are proposed for communication and language. Communication is defined as the evolution of physical, biochemical, cellular, community, and technological information exchange. Language is defined as community communication whereby the information exchanged comprises evolving individual and group-constructed knowledge and beliefs, that are enacted, narrated, or otherwise conveyed by evolving rule-governed and meaningful symbol systems, that are grounded, interpreted, and used from within evolving embodied, cognitive, ecological, sociocultural, and technological niches. These definitions place emphasis on the evolutionary aspects of communication and language, and they are here differentiated from four older paradigms that instead focus either on the referential or social aspects of language, or the informational or semantic aspects of communication. In contrast with these paradigms, the definitions proposed here for communication and language are in line with a pluralistic evolutionary worldview, one that necessitates the recognition that a multitude of units, levels, mechanisms and processes are involved in bringing forth communication and language.