The Collaborative Project

The project CCCOM investigates the nature and preconditions of communicative success in the complex communicative situation that is the human predicament. The overall objective is to develop a new theory of communicative success, one that explains how communication is possible despite the obstacles posed by the cultural and contextual differences that form the backdrop of human interaction.

The main hypothesis is that successful communication requires sufficient overlap in the message communicated (instead of identity). This hypothesis is developed by all of the disciplines involved in the collaborative research project (CRP): semantics, pragmatics, game theory, value theory, cognitive science, socio-linguistics, experimental philosophy and psychology.

Three central themes provide focal points for the CRP and tie together its theoretical and experimental aspects: Communicative success, Context and Coordination (‘CCC’).

  1. A main goal is to develop a theory of communicative success, both with respect to the level of semantic content and with respect to the full pragmatic information. Theoretical groundwork is done in order to spell out the overlap thesis properly and experiments on speakers’ categorization dispositions and on their use of referential expressions and natural kind terms are carried out.
  2. Language is rife with context dependent expressions and much pragmatic information is dependent on contextual features of the utterance situation. The CRP aims to account for the role of context and explain how communication succeeds despite the fact that the communicating subjects often do not share exactly the same context.
  3. Language is a conventional way to solve recurrent coordination problems, and as such serves a common interest. But language is also used when interests are in conflict, in which case there is often lying and deception. The CRP examines how linguistic practices remain stable despite non-cooperative behavior of this sort. A theory of value conflicts is also developed and applied to central cases.

For further information, please contact Åsa Wikforss (project leader): asa.wikforss [at] philosophy.su.se