Institut Jean Nicod

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Joshua Armstrong (UCLA)

Vendredi 21 avril 2017 de 11h30 à 13h

Institut Nicod, Salle de réunion, RDC

Joshua Armstrong, UCLA.

"The Evolution of Non-Natural Meaning."

In this talk, I present an evolutionary challenge to a Gricean perspective on meaning and interpersonal communication. This evolutionary challenge, as I shall develop it, turns on both comparative data on animal communication systems and on the kinds of selective pressures that would drive a population of agents to be capable of SPEAKER MEANING.  In the first half of the talk, I argue that this challenge is serious—affecting Grice’s original 1957 position, as well as subsequent refinements on Grice’s ideas such as the Relevance Theoretic framework and the pragmatic framework of Robert Stalnaker. In the second half of the talk, I argue that the challenge is nonetheless surmountable. In particular, I develop a perspective on meaning and communication that centers on a primitive socio-cognitive relation that I call REPRESENTATIONAL COORDINATION, and I outline how this socio-cognitive relation can play the requisite roles in our understanding of the evolution of meaning and interpersonal communication.