Volume 11, April 2018
When Language Breaks
A Heideggerian Analysis of Grice's Cooperative Principle
In “Logic and Conversation,” H. P. Grice posits that in conversations, we are “always-already” implying certain things about the subjects of our words while abiding by certain rules to aid in understanding. It is my view, however, that Grice’s so-called “cooperative principle” can be analyzed under the traditional Heideggerian dichotomy of ready-to-hand and present-at-hand wherein language can be viewed as a “mere” tool that sometimes breaks. Ultimately, I contend that the likening of language to a tool allows for a more robust understanding of it and conversational failures, while ontologically recategorizing language as an object of sorts.