Mindshaping and non-Gricean approaches to language evolution

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalReview of Philosophy and Psychology
Early online date28 Dec 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Dec 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • language evolution
  • mindshaping
  • communicative intentions
  • expressive behaviours
  • cognitive conception of language


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