Hierarchical Common Ground Update Procedure - Liam Kofi Bright & Olúfémi Táíwò
Communicative acts have been* modeled in analytic philosophy of language as the exchange and group evaluation of propositions. The uptake such acts receive is affected by the social context in which communication occurs. Analytic philosophers of language, postcolonial theorists, and feminist theorists have all entertained the possibility that power hierarchies between the speakers, when salient, can produce predictable effects on communicative acts; including the ability of socially powerful persons to "silence" or distort the communicative acts of their interlocutors. In this paper, we produce an analysis of the mechanisms that might underlie such effects, which we term "discourse power". We show that our simplified model of communication that includes discourse power retains all of the predictive power of an analogous approach based on Stalnaker's notion of "common ground", but can also predict the silencing and distorting effects investigated by the aforementioned groups of theorists. Further, our model suggests there are as yet underexplored connections between discourse power in communication and agenda setting in a voting context.