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Communication and intention

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-U006-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved May 18, 2024, from

Article Summary

The classic attempt to understand communication in terms of the intentions of a person making an utterance was put forward by Paul Grice in 1957. Grice was concerned with actions in which a speaker means something by what they do and what is meant might just as much be false as true. He looked for the essence of such cases in actions intended to effect a change in the recipient. Grice saw successful communication as depending on the recognition by the audience of the speaker’s intention. Since then there have been many attempts to refine Grice’s work, and to protect it against various problems. There has also been worry that Grice’s approach depends on a false priority of psychology over semantics, seeing complex psychological states as existing independently of whether the agent has linguistic means of expressing them.

Citing this article:
Blackburn, Simon. Communication and intention, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-U006-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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