Gricean communication, language development, and animal minds

Philosophy Compass 13 (12):e12550 (2018)
Authors
Richard Moore
Humboldt-Universität Zu Berlin
Abstract
Humans alone acquire language. According to one influen- tial school of thought, we do this because we possess a uniquely human ability to act with and attribute “Gricean” communicative intentions. A challenge for this view is that attributing communicative intent seems to require cognitive abilities that infant language learners lack. After considering a range of responses to this challenge, I argue that infant language development can be explained, because Gricean communication is cognitively less demanding than many suppose. However, a consequence of this is that abilities for Gricean communication are unlikely to be uniquely human.
Keywords Pragmatics  Animal minds  Language development  Human communication  Animal communication
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DOI 10.1111/phc3.12550
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Natural Pedagogy.Gergely Csibra & György Gergely - 2009 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 13 (4):148-153.
Meaning.H. Paul Grice - 1957 - Philosophical Review 66 (3):377-388.
Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.John R. Searle - 1969 - Philosophical Quarterly 20 (79):172-179.

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