Pragmatic Interpretation and Signaler-Receiver Asymmetries in Animal Communication

In Kristin Andrews Jacob Beck (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds. Routledge. pp. 291-300 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Researchers have converged on the idea that a pragmatic understanding of communication can shed important light on the evolution of language. Accordingly, animal communication scientists have been keen to adopt insights from pragmatics research. Some authors couple their appeal to pragmatic aspects of communication with the claim that there are fundamental asymmetries between signalers and receivers in non-human animals. For example, in the case of primate vocal calls, signalers are said to produce signals unintentionally and mindlessly, whereas receivers are thought to engage in contextual interpretation to derive the significance of signals. We argue that claims about signaler-receiver asymmetries are often confused. This is partly because their authors conflate two conceptions of pragmatics, which generate different accounts of the explanatory target for accounts of the evolution of language. Here we distinguish these conceptions, in order to help specify more precisely the proper explanatory target for language evolution research.

Links

PhilArchive

External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Human/animal communications, language, and evolution.Dominique Lestel - 2002 - Sign Systems Studies 30 (1):201-211.
Obstacles To Communication, Enhancement Of Communication, Criteria For Successful Communication.Mladen Jovanovic - 1999 - Facta Universitatis, Series: Linguistics and Literature 2 (6):41-54.

Analytics

Added to PP
2016-07-09

Downloads
663 (#13,783)

6 months
59 (#21,903)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Dorit Bar-On
University Of Connecticut, Storrs
Richard Moore
University of Warwick