co-operative principle


co-operative principle
A convention suggested by Grice directing participants in conversation to pay heed to an accepted purpose or direction of the exchange. Contributions made without paying this attention are liable to be rejected for other reasons than straightforward falsity: something true but unhelpful or inappropriate may meet with puzzlement or rejection. We can thus never infer from the fact that it would be inappropriate to say something in some circumstance that what would be said, were we to say it, would be false. This inference was frequently made in ordinary language philosophy, it being argued, for example, that since we do not normally say ‘there seems to be a barn there’ when there is unmistakably a barn there, it is false that on such occasions there seems to be a barn there.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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