Abstract Graham White 29 November 2012

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We describe Grice's project of analysing the understanding of language by rational agents. We argue that his goal was not Sperber and Wilson's goal of specifying mechanisms by which agents could understand each others' utterances in conversation but, rather, to show how such agents, however their language processing was implemented, could be understood as behaving rationally. It turns out to be advantageous to read Grice as a philosopher heavily influenced by Kant; this is, in retrospect, not very surprising, since he repeatedly described his project in those terms. Reading Grice in this way makes a considerable difference to how one understands him.

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