Orthodoxy has it that language evolution requires Gricean communicative intentions and therefore an understanding of nested metarepresentations. The problem with this orthodoxy is that it is hard to see how non-linguistic creatures could have such a sophisticated understanding of mentality. Some philosophers like Bar-On (The Journal of Philosophy 110 (6): 293-330, 2013a; Mind and Language 28 (3): 342-375, 2013b) have attempted to develop a non-Gricean account of language acquisition building on the information-rich and subtle communicative powers of expressive behaviours. This paper argues that this approach shares a number of instructive similarities with the literature on the cognitive conception of language. It shows how expressive accounts (and others) can learn from insights in that tradition and identifies a problem with the role of intentional actions in expressive accounts that can be solved by understanding expressive behaviours more as cognitive rather than communicative tools.
|Journal||Review of Philosophy and Psychology|
|Early online date||28 Dec 2022|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 28 Dec 2022|
- language evolution
- communicative intentions
- expressive behaviours
- cognitive conception of language