This is the working title of a book I am writing, which is under contract with Oxford University Press. It defends a broadly Gricean theory of human communication, with a lot of attention to literatures on animal communication, cognitive architecture, natural-language semantics, mindreading, and practical reasoning. I will post chapter drafts here as they become ready to share.
I introduce my book and situate it in various literatures.
I describe ten ways that human communication is more powerful and flexible than all known forms of non-human communication, and that appear to demand special explanation.
I introduce the book's central claims: human communication is special in that it often takes the form of intention recognition, which relies on our unique capacities for mindreading, planning, and language.
3. Designing Communicative Acts
I argue that the best explanation of humans' unique ability to design communicative acts for their addressees is best explained by understanding how communicative intentions are embedded in our broader plans.
4. Interpretation and Mindreading
I show how the power of human communication arises from the power of our ability to recognize what others are thinking.
5. Linguistic Communication
I argue that when we communicate with language, we make use of a dedicated mental module in order to encode and decode partial and defeasible evidence of our communicative intentions.
6. Using Language
I propose a solution to the problem of how we exert fine-grained control over our speech using a modular language system. I also show how my theory makes sense of self-directed speech, inner speech, the use of language to clarify our thoughts, and other forms of non-communicative language use.
7. Speech Acts
I argue that our ability to perform speech acts with different illocutionary force arises from our ability to recognize and shape different kinds of mental states.
8. Communication and Convention
I discuss the role of convention in human communication, and argue that it is less central that conventionalist theories would have us believe.
9. Organizing Communicative Exchanges
I argue that my theory of human communication fits with the best current theories of how we organize conversations.
10. Communication, Cooperation, and Normativity
I show how many of the normative properties of language use arise from our drive to communicate, cooperate, and coordinate with others.