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Game Theory and Pragmatics


Language is one of the most precious gifts nature has bestowed upon us. It allows us to cooperate better with other individuals by enabling us to communicate useful and relevant information. What is it about language and our use of it that allows us to do so? It is the combination of stable linguistic rules and flexible reasoning. On the one hand, what we intend to communicate, - the meaning of the utterance - is to a large extent governed by shared rules that we all make use of. On the other hand, we often communicate more by the use of an expression than can be derived from these linguistic rules alone, and this depends on (features of) context and the assumption that speakers are rational cooperative language users. In this edited volume a number of leading scholars investigate which factors are favourable to the emergence and sustenance of linguistic rules, and how we use rationality principles to infer what is communicated in actual conversation. (Evolutionary) game theory provides the unified framework in which these issues are addressed and the Introduction to the volume provides the reader with enough background in game theory to follow the discussion. Rooted in Gricean tradition, this book concentrates on game- and decision-theoretic (GDT) approaches to the foundations of pragmatics. An introduction to GDT, an overview of GDT pragmatics research to date, its relation to semantics and to Gricean pragmatics are followed by contributions offering a high-level survey of current GDT pragmatics and the field of its applications, demonstrating that this approach provides a sound basis for synchronic and diachronic explanations of language use.


  • An Introduction to Game Theory for Linguists; A.Benz, G.Jäger & R.van Rooij
  • Saying and Meaning, Cheap Talk and Credibility; R.Stalnaker
  • Pragmatics and Games of Partial Information; P.Parikh
  • Game Theory and Communication; N.Allott
  • Different Faces of Risky Speech; R.van Rooij & M.Sevenster
  • Pragmatic Reasoning, Defaults and Discourse Structure; N.Asher & M.Williams
  • Utility and Relevance of Answers; A.Benz
  • Game Theoretic Grounding; Jaegher
# Number Of Pages:   291
# Publication Date:   2005-12-30
# ISBN-10 / ASIN:   1403945721
# ISBN-13 / EAN:   9781403945723

A Game Theoretic Approach to the Pragmatics of Debate: An Expository Note; J.Glazer & A.Rubinstein
On the Evolutionary Dynamics of Meaning-Word Associations; T.Lenaerts & Vylder

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Tags: Pragmatics, Theory, allows, information, relevant