Date of Award

Spring 4-20-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Andrea Scarantino

Second Advisor

George Graham

Third Advisor

Michael Owren


Grice (1982) and Bar-On and Green (2010) each provide 'continuity stories' which attempt to explain how a human-like language could emerge from the primitive communication practices of non-human animals. I offer desiderata for a proper account of linguistic continuity in order to argue that these previous accounts fall short in important ways. I then introduce the recent evolutionary literature on non-cooperative communication in order to construct a continuity story which better satisfies the proposed desiderata while retaining the positive aspects of the proposals of Grice and Bar-On and Green. The outcome of this project is a more tenable and empirically investigable framework chronicling the evolution of human-like language from communicative abilities currently found in non-human animals.


Included in

Philosophy Commons