Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn more

Organon F

Volume 28, May 2021, Issue 2, Pages 360–398

ISSN 2585-7150 (online) ISSN 1335-0668 (print)

Research Article | Special issue on The Origins of Meaning and the Nature of Speech Acts

Limitations of Non-Gricean Approaches to the Evolution of Human Communicative Abilities

Mateusz Włodarczyk



In this paper, I examine two non-Gricean approaches to the evolution of human communicative abilities: Mitchell S. Green’s ac- count of organic meaning and Dorit Bar-On’s account of expressive communication. I argue that the non-Gricean approaches in question face certain problems: i) they focus on the adaptive function of communicative behaviours and ignore questions about their mechanisms, ontogeny and phylogeny; ii) the notion of organic meaning does not constitute an intermediate form between natural and non-natural meaning but should rather be understood as a special case of natural meaning; iii) the non-Gricean approaches under scrutiny cannot ex- plain the transition from dyadic to triadic communication. I also outline the differences between Gricean and non-Gricean approaches and argue against the usefulness of the non-Gricean approaches discussed in this paper in explaining the evolution of human communicative abilities.


Evolution of communication; evolution of language; expressive communication; Gricean communication; organic meaning.

Author(s) and affiliation(s)


Mateusz Włodarczyk 


University of Szczecin


Institute of Philosophy and Cognitive Science, University of Szczecin ul. Krakowska 71-79, 71-017 Szczecin, Poland.



About this article


28 August 2019


8 June 2020


20 September 2020

Published online

17 March 2021


Institute of Philosophy of the Slovak Academy of Sciences

Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Cite as


Włodarczyk, M. (2021). Limitations of Non-Gricean Approaches to the Evolution of Human Communicative Abilities. Organon F28(2), 360–398. https://doi.org/10.31577/orgf.2021.28205


Włodarczyk, Mateusz. 2021. "Limitations of Non-Gricean Approaches to the Evolution of Human Communicative Abilities." Organon F 28 (2): 360–398. https://doi.org/10.31577/orgf.2021.28205


Włodarczyk, M.  (2021). Limitations of Non-Gricean Approaches to the Evolution of Human Communicative Abilities. Organon F, 28(2), pp. 360–398. https://doi.org/10.31577/orgf.2021.28205

Copyright information

© Mateusz Włodarczyk

Response page


The above URL is linked with the article's response page. The response page is a permanent location that is associated with the article's DOI number.

This article is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Institute of Philosophy
Slovak Academy of Sciences
Klemensova 19
813 64 Bratislava
Slovak Republic
(+421 2) 5292 1215
FAX (+421 2) 5292 1215

Organon F takes part on the long-term preservation of the digital cultural heritage carried out by the University Library in Bratislava.