Kinds of conversational cooperation
Lumsden, D. (2008). Kinds of conversational cooperation. Journal of Pragmatics, 40(11), p. 1896- 1908.
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The Cooperative Principle was the organizing principle in Grice’s pragmatics. More recently, cooperation has played a reduced role in pragmatic theory. The principle has been attacked on the grounds that people are not always or generally cooperative. One response to that objection is to say that there are two kinds of cooperation and Grice’s principle only applies to the narrower kind, which concerns linguistic or formal cooperation. I argue that such a distinction is only defensible if it is accepted that linguistic cooperation can be determined by an extra-linguistic goal. To make distinctions among types of cooperation is helpful but this strategy does not remove all concerns about speakers who are not fully cooperative and in particular the operation of the principle needs to be qualified in situations of conflict of interest. I propose that the principle, once qualified, can have a significant continuing role in pragmatic theory.
This article has been published in the Journal of Pragmatics. Copyright © 2008 Elsevier B.V.