Advertisement

Philosophical Studies

, Volume 169, Issue 3, pp 489–508 | Cite as

Communication and shared information

  • Marija Jankovic
Article

Abstract

Strawson style counterexamples to Grice’s account of communication show that a communicative intention has to be overt. Saying what overtness consists in has proven to be difficult for Gricean accounts. In this paper, I show that a common explanation of overtness, one that construes it in terms of a network of shared beliefs or knowledge, is mistaken. I offer an alternative, collectivist, model of communication. This model takes the utterer’s communicative intention to be a we-intention, a kind of intention with a distinctive content that cannot be reduced to an intention in favor of an individual action. I show that the collectivist model can explain overtness in terms of a general feature of we-intentions, namely the requirement that the participants in a shared activity are to intend to act in accordance with meshing subplans.

Keywords

Communication Overtness Shared intention We-intention Common knowledge Mutual manifestness 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank Michael Bratman, Gary Ebbs, Mark Kaplan, Karen Lewis, Matthew Stone, Steven Wagner, Joan Weiner, and an anonymous referee for this journal for helpful comments. I owe special thanks to Kirk Ludwig for discussions and written comments on multiple versions of this paper. I developed large parts of the critical portion of this paper at the International Summer School in Cognitive Sciences and Semantics in Riga, July 2012. My work there benefited from various conversations with the participants.

References

  1. Bach, K., & Harnish, R. (1979). Linguistic communication and speech acts. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bennett, J. F. (1976). Linguistic behaviour. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bratman, M. E. (1984). Two faces of intention. Philosophical Review, 93(3), 375–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bratman, M. E. (1993). Shared intention. Ethics, 104(1), 97–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bratman, M. E. (1999a). I intend that we J. In Faces of intention (pp. 142–163). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bratman, M. E. (1999b). Shared cooperative activity. In Faces of intention (pp. 93–108). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bratman, M. E. (2009). Modest sociality and the distinctiveness of intention. Philosophical Studies, 144(1), 149–165. doi: 10.1007/s11098-009-9375-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chant, S. R., & Ernst, Z. (2008). Epistemic conditions for collective action. Mind, 117(467), 549–573. doi: 10.1093/mind/fzn033.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gilbert, M. P. (1990). Walking together: A paradigmatic social phenomenon. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 15(1), 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Grice, H. P. (1957). Meaning. The Philosophical Review, 66(3), 377–388. doi: 10.2307/2182440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Grice, H. P. (1969). Utterer’s meaning and intention. Philosophical Review, 78(2), 147–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Grice, H. P. (1989). Meaning revisited. In P. Grice (Ed.), Studies in the way of words (pp. 283–303). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Halpern, J. Y. (1986). Reasoning about knowledge: an overview. In Proceedings of the 1986 conference on theoretical aspects of reasoning about knowledge (pp. 1–17).Google Scholar
  14. Harman, G. (1974). Review of Meaning by Stephen R. Schiffer. The Journal of Philosophy, 71(7), 224–229. doi: 10.2307/2025349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Harman, G. (1977). Review of linguistic behaviour by Jonathan Bennett. Language, 53(2), 417–424.Google Scholar
  16. Kutz, C. (2000). Acting together. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 61(1), 1–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ludwig, K. (2007). Collective intentional behavior from the standpoint of semantics. Nous, 41(3), 355–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ludwig, K. (2013). Proxy agency in collective action. Nous. doi: 10.1111/nous.12013.
  19. Mele, A. R. (1992). Recent work on intentional action. American Philosophical Quarterly, 29(3), 199–217. doi: 10.2307/20014416.Google Scholar
  20. Recanati, F. (1986). On defining communicative intentions. Mind & Language, 1(3), 213–241. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0017.1986.tb00102.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rubinstein, A. (1989). The electronic mail game: strategic behavior under “almost common knowledge”. The American Economic Review, 79(3), 385–391. doi: 10.2307/1806851.Google Scholar
  22. Schiffer, S. R. (1972). Meaning. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  23. Searle, J. R. (1990). Collective intentions and actions. In P. Cohen, J. Morgan, & M. E. Pollack (Eds.), Intentions in communication (pp. 401–415). Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  24. Sperber, D., & Wilson, D. (1996). Relevance: Communication and cognition. Oxford: Wiley.Google Scholar
  25. Strawson, P. F. (1964). Intention and convention in speech acts. Philosophical Review, 73(4), 439–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tuomela, R. (1991). We will do it: An analysis of group-intentions. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 51(2), 249–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. van der Grijn, F. (1994). (Im)possibility of a coordinated attack ILLC Publications: Preprints and Other Reports: Universiteit van Amsterdam.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indiana University, BloomingtonBloomingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations