Edited By Luca Baptista and Erich Rast
12 Salvatore Pistoia-Reda
Some Notes on Game Theory and the Pragmatics of Alternatives 1 Game theory and Gricean pragmatics Cheap talk Since the beginning of the Gricean project, game theory and the prag- matics of communication have been felt to be closely tied. Explicit reference to this parallel is found in Lewis (1969), and in more recent works such as Parikh (2000) and Jäger (2008b). Further discussions are found in the collection Benz et. al. (2005). In his contribution to this volume, Stalnaker presents a theoretical justiﬁcation of the par- allel in explaining patterns of real communication. Two aspects are taken as playing a key role in the parallel. The ﬁrst one involves the Gricean general program on the philosophy of language.1 According to Grice, any deﬁnition of communication has ﬁrst to make reference to the intentions and beliefs of the speakers involved in communica- tive situations. This is to say that the conventionalized practice that speakers use in carrying meaning and communicating things, that is, language, has to play no essential role in that deﬁnition. Communi- cation is to be deﬁned in terms of its strict function. Language is, in 1 See Grice (1989). 270 Salvatore Pistoia-Reda some sense, central to communication, but keeping things separated can help us, for example, in interpreting cases in which speakers drift away from the literal readings of linguistic messages in order to say, or to implicate, something more than language would strictly allow. The game-theoretical concept of cheap talk can...
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