ProtoSociology 29:223-241 (2012)

Authors
Steffen Borge
Nord University
Abstract
According to Steven Pinker and his associates the cooperative model of human communication fails, because evolutionary biology teaches us that most social relationships, including talk-exchange, involve combinations of cooperation and conflict. In particular, the phenomenon of the strategic speaker who uses indirect speech in order to be able to deny what he meant by a speech act (deniability of conversational implicatures) challenges the model. In reply I point out that interlocutors can aim at understanding each other (cooperation), while being in conflict. Furthermore, Pinker’s strategic speaker relies on the Cooperative Principle when conveying a conversational implicature, and so non-cooperative behaviour (denial) only emerges as a response to a negative reaction from the audience. It is also doubtful in the cases Pinker presents whether a denial will successfully cancel the conversational implicature –change the audience’s interpretation of speaker’s meaning. I also argue that a strategic speaker might choose indirect speech due to the ignorability of conversational implicatures, in which case the strategic speaker can be highly cooperative.
Keywords Conversational implicature  Steven Pinker  Strategic speaker  Conflict  Paul Grice  Deniability of conversational implicature  Ignorability of conversational implicatures
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 1434-4319
DOI 10.5840/protosociology20122912
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2012-12-19

Total views
1,336 ( #4,145 of 2,520,360 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
32 ( #27,397 of 2,520,360 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes