Luck and the Value of Communication

Synthese 201 (96):1-19 (2023)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Those in the Gricean tradition take it that successful human communication features an audience who not only arrives at the intended content of the signal, but also recognizes the speaker’s intention that they do so. Some in this tradition have also argued that there are yet further conditions on communicative success, which rule out the possibility of communicating by luck. Supposing that both intention-recognition and some sort of anti-luck condition are correctly included in an analysis of human communication, this article asks what the value of events satisfying these conditions is. I present a puzzle concerning the value of intention-recognition which is analogous to the Meno Problem in epistemology, but ultimately argue that this puzzle is solveable: the signaling-relevant value of intention recognition can be vindicated. However, I argue that the version of this puzzle that concerns the further proposed luck-proofing conditions on communication can not be answered. I argue therefore that communication, as analyzed by many, is no more valuable qua signal than a proper subset of its conditions. Human communication is thennot a uniquely valuable signaling event.

Similar books and articles

Understanding, Luck, and Communicative Value.Andrew Peet - 2023 - In Abrol Fairweather & Carlos Montemayor (eds.), Linguistic Luck: Safeguards and Threats to Linguistic Communication. Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Luck: An Introduction.Ian M. Church & Robert J. Hartman - 2019 - In Ian M. Church & Robert J. Hartman (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy and Psychology of Luck. New York: Routledge. pp. 1-10.
Obstacles To Communication, Enhancement Of Communication, Criteria For Successful Communication.Mladen Jovanovic - 1999 - Facta Universitatis, Series: Linguistics and Literature 2 (6):41-54.
Bad Luck for the Anti‐Luck Epistemologist.Rodrigo Borges - 2016 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 54 (4):463-479.
Are non-human primates Gricean? Intentional communication in language evolution.Lucas Battich - 2018 - Pulse: A History, Sociology and Philosophy of Science Journal 5:70-88.
Towards a Hybrid Account of Luck.Job de Grefte - 2020 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (2):240-255.
A problem for moral luck.Steven D. Hales - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (9):2385-2403.
Legal Luck.Ori Herstein - forthcoming - In Herstein Ori (ed.), Rutledge Companion to the Philosophy of Luck. Rutledge.


Added to PP

128 (#143,256)

6 months
103 (#43,765)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Megan Hyska
Northwestern University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Knowledge and its limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by John Henry McDowell.
Epistemic Luck.Duncan Pritchard - 2005 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.

View all 60 references / Add more references