Camouflaging Truth: A Biological, Argumentative and Epistemological Outlook from Biological to Linguistic Camouflage

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
Tommaso Bertolotti * Corresponding author, e-mail:

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Lorenzo Magnani
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Emanuele Bardone
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Camouflage commonly refers to the ability to make something appear as different from what it actually is, or not to make it appear at all. This concept originates from biological studies to describe a range of strategies used by organisms to dissimulate their presence in the environment, but it is frequently borrowed by other semantic fields as it is possible to camouflage one’s position, intentions, opinion etc.: an interesting conceptual continuum between the multiple denotations of camouflage seems to emerge from the multiple homologies. Following this outlook, the first part of this paper aims at sketching out the main forms of camouflage as understood within their biological framework, insisting on the inferential dynamics underdetermined and allowing camouflage, making use of the concept of abduction as received from the Peircean heritage. The second part explores some of the most relevant occurrences of camouflage in dialectical and rhetorical perspectives. The third section aims at drawing the sums of the comparison between linguistic and biological camouflage, showing how strategies aimed at debunking verbal camouflage correspond to their respective countermeasures in biologically-intended camouflage.

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