Hannah Rubin
University of Notre Dame
Justin Bruner
University of Arizona
According to Grice's `Cooperative Principle', human communicators are involved in a cooperative endeavor. The speaker attempts to make herself understood and the listener, in turn, assumes that the speaker is trying to maximize the ease and effectiveness of communication. While pragmatists recognize that people do not always behave in such a way, the Cooperative Principle is generally assumed to hold. However, it is often the case that the interests of speakers and listeners diverge, at least to some degree. Communication can arise in such situations when the cost of signaling is high enough that it aligns the interests of speaker and listener, but what happens when the cost of signaling is not sufficient to align the interests of those communicating? In these cases the theoretical prediction is that they will reach a partially informative system of communication. Using methods from experimental economics, we test whether theoretical predictions are borne out. We find that subjects do learn to communicate without the cooperative principle.
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References found in this work BETA

Studies in the Way of Words.Paul Grice - 1989 - Philosophy 65 (251):111-113.
Studies in the Way of Words.Robert J. Fogelin - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (4):213-219.
The Evolution of Vagueness.Cailin O'Connor - 2013 - Erkenntnis (S4):1-21.
The Evolution of Vagueness.Cailin O’Connor - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (Suppl 4):707-727.

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