Exorcising Grice`s ghost: an empirical approach to studying intentional communication in animals

Townsend, Simon W. and Koski, Sonja E. and Byrne, Richard W. and Slocombe, Katie E. and Bickel, Balthasar and Boeckle, Markus and Braga Goncalves, Ines and Burkart, Judith M. and Flower, Tom and Gaunet, Florence and Glock, Hans Johann and Gruber, Thibaud and Jansen, David A. W. A. M. and Liebal, Katja and Linke, Angelika and Miklósi, Ádám and Moore, Richard and van Schaik, Carel P. and Stoll, Sabine and Vail, Alex and Waller, Bridget M. and Wild, Markus and Zuberbühler, Klaus and Manser, Marta B.. (2016) Exorcising Grice`s ghost: an empirical approach to studying intentional communication in animals. Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 92 (3). pp. 1427-1433.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/72699/

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Language`s intentional nature has been highlighted as a crucial feature distinguishing it from other communication systems. Specifically, language is often thought to depend on highly structured intentional action and mutual mindreading by a communicator and recipient. Whilst similar abilities in animals can shed light on the evolution of intentionality, they remain challenging to detect unambiguously. We revisit animal intentional communication and suggest that progress in identifying analogous capacities has been complicated by (i) the assumption that intentional (that is, voluntary) production of communicative acts requires mental-state attribution, and (ii) variation in approaches investigating communication across sensory modalities. To move forward, we argue that a framework fusing research across modalities and species is required. We structure intentional communication into a series of requirements, each of which can be operationalised, investigated empirically, and must be met for purposive, intentionally communicative acts to be demonstrated. Our unified approach helps elucidate the distribution of animal intentional communication and subsequently serves to clarify what is meant by attributions of intentional communication in animals and humans.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Künste, Medien, Philosophie > Fachbereich Philosophie > Theoretische Philosophie (Wild)
UniBasel Contributors:Wild, Markus
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:11 Feb 2020 15:53
Deposited On:11 Feb 2020 15:53

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