Interpersonal Communication as Social Action

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 45 (4-5):407-423 (2015)
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We compare a number of influential approaches to human communication with the aim of understanding what it means for interpersonal communication to be a form of social action. In particular, we discuss the large-scale social normativity advocated by speech act theory, the view of communication as small-scale social interaction proper of Gricean approaches, and the intimate connection between communication and cooperation defended by Tomasello. We then argue in favor of a small-scale view of communication capable of accounting for the normative effects of communicative acts; to this purpose, we introduce the concept of interpersonal normativity and analyze its relationship with communicative intentions



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Marco Colombetti
Politecnico di Milano

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How to do things with words.John Langshaw Austin - 1962 - Oxford [Eng.]: Clarendon Press. Edited by Marina Sbisá & J. O. Urmson.
Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.John Rogers Searle - 1969 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

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