Communicative signs meaning naturally
Paul Grice distinguishes between natural meaning and non-natural meaning, where the first notion is especially connected to something’s being a natural sign and the second to communication. It is argued that some of the arguments against the distinction being exhaustive are based on a misinterpretation of Grice, but also that the distinction cannot be exhaustive if one takes into account both the criterion of factivity and the connection to communication. If one makes a distinction between natural and non-natural communication, then there are different types of natural communication to be distinguished: goal-directed communication, intentional communication and open intentional communication. Given the empirical evidence, the behavior of chimpanzees and of human infants may be described as goal-directed communication, but there are also important differences between the communicative behavior of the two.
Keywords: animal communication, non-natural meaning, Grice, natural meaning
Published online: 09 April 2010