Re: Chapter 9: Pragmatics and Communication

From: Harnad, Stevan (
Date: Wed May 14 1997 - 11:59:00 BST

> From: Gill, Lynn <>
> After re-reading Chapters 8 and 9 I am left wondering where "gossip"
> fits into the picture. As far as I can tell it fails Grice"s "maxims"
> of Quality and Relation, but it also fails Sperber and Wilson"s Theory
> of Relevance, surely one of the defining features of gossip is its
> irrelevance/unimportance. I can see that this is linked with the issue
> of "importance", which we were asked to consider before, it seems to me
> that these theories haven't explained EVERYTHING about human
> communication.

They certainly haven't explained everything about human communication:
they haven't even explained everything about Relevance. It may well
turn out that "relevance" is in the eye of the beholder, and that from
any other standpoint you can only guess at what is LIKELY to be relevant.

By the way, the anthropologist who has the theory that human speech is
just our version of primate grooming would agree with you about

DUNBAR_RIM BBS, 1993, VOL.16, NO.4, PP.681-694

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