Underdeterminacy without ostension: A blind spot in the prevailing models of communication

Mind and Language 39 (2):142-161 (2024)
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Abstract

Together, the code and inferential models of communication are often thought to range over all cases of communication. However, their prevailing versions seem unable to fully explain what I call underdeterminacy without ostension. The latter is constituted by communication where stimuli that are not (nor appear to be) produced with communicative or informative intentions nevertheless communicate information underdetermined by the relevant codes. Though the prevailing accounts of communication cannot fully explain how communication works in such cases, I suggest that some version of the inferential model can—if we allow it to extend to non‐ostensive, non‐intentional behaviors.

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Constant Bonard
University of Bern

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