Paul Grice

Paul Grice

Herbert Paul Grice (March 13, 1913, Birmingham, England - August 28, 1988, Berkeley, California),cite web|url=|title=Paul Grice|publisher=Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy|authors=Richard Grandy and Richard Warner] usually publishing under the name Paul Grice, was a British-educated philosopher of language, who spent the final two decades of his career in the U.S.


Born and raised in the United Kingdom, Grice was educated first at Clifton CollegeFact|date=July 2008 and then at Oxford University. After brief period teaching at RossallFact|date=July 2008 he went back to Oxford where he taught until 1967. In that year, he moved to the United States to take up a professorship at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught until his death in 1988. He returned to the UK in 1979 to give the John Locke lectures on "Aspects of Reason". He reprinted many of his essays and papers in his valedictory book, "Studies in the Way of Words" (1989).

He was married and had two children. He and his wife lived in an old Spanish style house in the Berkeley Hills.Fact|date=July 2008

Grice on meaning

Grice's work is one of the foundations of the modern study of pragmatics.

Grice is remembered mainly for his contributions to the study of speaker meaning, linguistic meaning, and (several of) the interrelations between these two phenomena. He provided, and developed, an analysis of the notion of linguistic meaning in terms of speaker meaning (according to his initial suggestion, 'A meant something by x' is roughly equivalent to 'A uttered x with the intention of inducing a belief by means of the recognition of this intention'). In order to explain how non-literal utterances can be understood, he further postulated the existence of a general cooperative principle in conversation, as well as of certain special maxims of conversation derived from the cooperative principle. In order to describe certain inferences for which the word "implication" would appear to be inappropriate, he introduced the notion of (several kinds of) implicatures.

The distinction between natural and non-natural meaning

Grice understood "meaning" to refer to two rather different kinds of phenomena. "Natural meaning" is supposed to capture something similar to the relation between cause and effect as, for example, applied in the sentence "Those spots mean measles". This must be distinguished from what Grice calls "non-natural" meaning, as present in "Those three rings on the bell (of the bus) mean that the bus is full". Grice's subsequent suggestion is that the notion of non-natural meaning should be analysed in terms of speakers' intentions in trying to communicate something to an audience.

ome distinctions introduced by Grice

In the course of his investigation of speaker meaning and linguistic meaning, Grice introduced a number of interesting distinctions. For example, he distinguished between four kinds of content: "encoded / non-encoded content" and "truth-conditional / non-truth-conditional content".
* "Encoded content" is the actual meaning attached to certain expressions, arrived at through investigation of definitions and making of literal interpretations.
* "Non-encoded content" are those meanings that are understood beyond an analysis of the words themselves, i.e., by looking at the context of speaking, tone of voice, and so on.
* "Truth-conditional content" are whatever conditions make an expression true or false.
* "Non-truth-conditional content" are whatever conditions that do not affect the truth or falsity of an expression.

Sometimes, expressions do not have a literal interpretation, or they do not have any truth-conditional content, and sometimes expressions can have both truth-conditional content and encoded content.

For Grice, these distinctions can explain at least three different possible varieties of expression:
* "Conventional Implicature" - when an expression has encoded content, but doesn't necessarily have any truth-conditions;
* "Conversational Implicature" - when an expression does not have encoded content, but does have truth-conditions (for example, in use of irony);
* "Utterances" - when an expression has both encoded content and truth-conditions.

Conversational Maxims

Maxim of Quality: Truth
*Do not say what you believe to be false.
*Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.

Maxim of Quantity: Information
*Make your contribution as informative as is required for the current purposes of the exchange.
*Do not make your contribution more informative than is required.

Maxim of Relation: Relevance
*Be relevant.

Maxim of Manner: Clarity
*Avoid obscurity of expression. ("Eschew obfuscation")
*Avoid ambiguity.
*Be brief ("avoid unnecessary prolixity").
*Be orderly.

Criticisms and Examinations

The relevance theory of Dan Sperber and Deirdre Wilson builds on and also challenges Grice's theory of meaning and his account of pragmatic inference. See "Relevance: Communication and Cognition" Blackwell, 1986.Grice's work is examined in detail by Stephen Neale "Paul Grice and the Philosophy of Language" "Linguistics and Philosophy" Volume 15, Number 5 / October, 1992.

elected writings

*1941. "Personal Identity", "Mind" 50, 330-350; reprinted in J. Perry (ed.), "Personal Identity", University of California Press, Berkeley, 1975, pp. 73-95.
*1957. " [ Meaning,] " "The Philosophical Review" 66: 377-88.
*1961. "The Causal Theory of Perception", "Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society" 35 (suppl.), 121-52.
*1968. "Utterer's Meaning, Sentence Meaning and Word Meaning", "Foundations of Language" 4, 225-242.
*1969. "Vacuous Names", in D. Davidson and J. Hintikka (eds.), "Words and Objections", D. Reidel, Dordrecht, pp. 118-145.
*1969. "Utterer's Meaning and Intention," "The Philosophical Review" 78: 147-77.
*1971. "Intention and Uncertainty", "Proceedings of the British Academy", pp. 263-279.
*1975. "Method in Philosophical Psychology: From the Banal to the Bizarre", "Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association" (1975), pp. 23-53.
*1975. "Logic and conversation". In Cole, P. and Morgan, J. (eds.) "Syntax and semantics", vol 3. New York: Academic Press.
*1978. "Further Notes on Logic and Conversation", in P. Cole (ed.), "Syntax and Semantics, vol. 9: Pragmatics", Academic Press, New York, pp. 113-128.
*1981. "Presupposition and Conversational Implicature", in P. Cole (ed.), "Radical Pragmatics", Academic Press, New York, pp. 183-198.
*1989. "Studies in the Way of Words". Harvard University Press.
*1991. "The Conception of Value". Oxford University Press. His 1979 John Locke Lectures.
*2001. "Aspects of Reason" (Richard Warner, ed.). Oxford University Press.

Further reading

* [ Siobhan Chapman] , "Paul Grice: Philosopher and Linguist", Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. ISBN 1403902976.


External links

*"MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences": " [ Grice.] " -- by Kent Bach.
* "Dictionary of Philosophy of Mind": " [ Paul Grice] " -- by Christopher Gauker.
* [,com_weblinks/Itemid,4/catid,42/ List of Grice links at]
* [ La comunicación según Grice (Spanish)]

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