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Herbert Paul Grice

(1913—1988) philosopher


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(1913–88)

English philosopher of language. Educated at Oxford, Grice became a Fellow of St John's College, Oxford in 1939. In 1967 he emigrated to a chair at Berkeley, retiring in 1980. He introduced the important concept of an implicature into the philosophy of language, arguing that not everything that is said is direct evidence for the meaning of some term, since many factors may determine the appropriateness of remarks independently of whether they are actually true. The point undermined excessive attention to the niceties of conversation as reliable indicators of meaning, a methodology characteristic of linguistic philosophy. In a number of elegant papers Grice also introduced an approach to the concept of the meaning of a sentence which identifies it with a complex of intentions with which it is uttered. The psychological is thus used to explain the semantic, and the question of whether this is the correct priority has prompted considerable subsequent discussion. Studies in the Way of Words (1989) and The Conception of Value (1991) were published posthumously.

Subjects: Philosophy.


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