Gricean Communication, Joint Action, and the Evolution of Cooperation

Topoi 37 (2):329-341 (2018)
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It is sometimes claimed that Gricean communication is necessarily a form of cooperative or ‘joint’ action. A consequence of this Cooperative Communication View is that Gricean communication could not itself contribute to an explanation of the possibility of joint action. I argue that even though Gricean communication is often a form of joint action, it is not necessarily so—since it does not always require intentional action on the part of a hearer. Rejecting the Cooperative Communication View has attractive consequences for our theorising about human cognitive development, since it opens up the possibility of appealing to communicative interaction to explain the emergence of joint action in phylogeny.
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