Grice’s maxims of cooperative communication

Grice’s maxims of cooperatice communication are fourfold.


His maxim of quantity is to be informative, and has two submaxims:

  1. Make your contribution as informative as is required (for the current purposes of the exchange).
  2. Do not make your contribution more informative than is required.

Analogy: If I ask for 4 screws, do not provide only 2, and fo not provide 6.


His maxim of quality is to be truthful, and has these submaxims:

  1. Do not say what you believe is false.
  • Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.

  • Analogy: Be genuine and not spurious. If I ask for sugar, I do not expect salt. If I ask for a spoon, I do not expect a trick rubber spoon.


    His maxim of relation says:

    Be relevant — i.e., one should ensure that all the information they provide is relevant to the current exchange; therefore omitting any irrelevant information.

    Analogy: I expect a partner’s contribution to be appropriate to the immediate needs at each stage of the transaction. If I am mixing ingredients for a cake, I do not expect to be handed a good book, or even an oven cloth (though this might be an appropriate contribution at a later stage).


    His final maxim of manner is to be clear, and has ingrained parody of itself:

    Be perspicious.

    1. Avoid obscurity of expression — i.e., avoid language that is difficult to understand.
  • Avoid ambiguity — i.e., avoid language that can be interpreted in multiple ways.

  • Be brief — i.e., avoid unnecessary prolixity.

  • Be orderly — i.e., provide information in an order that makes sense, and makes it easy for the recipient to process it.

  • ——

    Flouting a maxim ironically can be used to convey deeper or alternate meaning when context is correct.

    Viloating maxims can be used to mislead, or impede communication.

    Three Dinosaur Giraffe Butts, and a shovel

    Phrase for 2017-2018 school year is “Three Dinosaur Giraffe Butts”.

    The mantra is “Shovel” from grovel from gravel from gratitude.

    The shovel head is the size of a spoon, and the handle is 35 feet long, and at a sharp angle. It is designed to move a piece of gravel weighing 18 tons, and about 2cm in diameter.

    This is the result of lunch with Khai and Erica.

    Kids, Family, Life rambles

    The question I ask myself pretty often, obviously not as much in the heat of the moment, but in post-reflection, is “What is best for my kids.” This does not mean “What is best for my wishes for my kids.”

    There are all sorts of things I want for my kids, and things I want them to do, or want them to want to do. But that does not really matter.

    What do my kids want? How will this affect them in 20 years? Does this have any effect on their future ability to be self sufficient and happy? Did I do anything like this as a kid that I can compare? If they are making a mistake, will it harm them? If I make a mistake in judgement, will it hinder them?

    Sometimes, I have to be a little more on alert. Maybe some activity seems risky, yet I cannot properly justify preventing that action. Sometimes, the prevention is unenforceable, or enforcement would take huge resources. In those situations, there are frequent discussions of my concerns, their decision factors, and how they’re doing.

    Sometimes, it’s just nothing. They were curious, but after discussion, they realize it’s not worth the effort or risk. Other times, they have to continue forward until they tire of the experience. As long as it’s not something that is unrecoverable (risk of death or incarceration), I feel it still needs to be their decision.

    How can they learn to make good decisions if they are not allowed to make them? Seeing decisions taken apart and discussed, and making decisions, are how people learn. If I decide for them, and tell them how it will be, they learn no thinking skills – only memorization.

    This ramble came about because I have several sets of friends with kids who have divorced. Some of them have maintained a child-focused mentality. They have been polite, and respectful, even to the point of being friendly. Maybe they don’t hang out all the time like when they were together, but they discuss life beyond “here is the school schedule”, and are willing to help each-other be happy because that helps their kids see happiness as an example.

    However, some of the couples are constantly at odds. There is distrust, lack of communication (I plan to do this because I am concerned about this), and lack of coordination and agreement in what needs to happen. Maybe kids are excluded from activity with one parent. Maybe discussions occur with the kids that push their judgement of the other parent onto the kids. Some parents have rights with their kids curtailed because of health or income disparity when it really does not matter. These too teach the kids how to behave. They learn to be manipulative, exclusive, and not how to have a partner in life.

    It’s not sad to me the sheer number of divorced parents I know, but it is disappointing in how many are so self-important that they do not even see how their actions are affecting their kids.

    It takes a village to rear a child, and that village, when at all possible, should include both biological parents as long as they both love the kid. All parts of the family should be on speaking terms, and step-parents or equivalents have to understand that while they have input, and duties, the bio-parents get to set the rules. Persuade them with logic, but not force/guilt/manipulation.

    Everyone must be prepared to compromise their own goals as much as possible. If the gap is still just too great, then someone is not putting their child first, most likely all of the parents.

    This is especially important as kids get into their mid-teens, because they will be smarter, more driven, and more manipulative to get what they want. It is very easy for a parent to fall into this trap, or even to use the child’s mindset to self-reinforce. “I want this, and the kid wants it, so it must be right.” is not a valid statement.

    Anyway, super rambly. This is about an amalgamation of a whole bunch of people who are having both good and bad times with this whole family thing.

    I have no solution. Emotions, both surface and deep-seated ones, are what control us. We rationalize, and explain it all, but our animal brains are what control us most of the time. Sometimes, fixing issues means having a discussion with the part of our minds which feels. Maybe we strike up an agreement. Maybe we don’t.

    It’s really difficult, as evidenced by people who stay overweight for decades (MEEEE!), or people who struggle with substance abuse for years, or people who struggle with depression for years. Emotions, affect, feelings, etc rule. You cannot command them in words and rational thought. You can only speak to them in feelings. You can re-train them in what you want to feel.

    Maybe if we lived for 200 years, we could sort out all of our internal demons. Until then, whether you are having a good time, or a bad time, I hope all things improve. Keep trying to be better. Review what seems important, and whether you’re on the right track. Be compassionate. When you mess up, and it will happen a whole bunch, do not punish yourself or others. Just try to be better. What can you do to trick yourself into being better. How can you set yourself up so that when you fail, you still succeed?

    ramble ramble ramble.

    If you got to this part, and read everything in the middle, I’m impressed. This was just stream of thought. Actually, I might be worried for your sanity. Take a break. You’ve earned it.

    What’s in a name?

    If the product says “High Quality” in its name, it probably isn’t. The addition to the name is because it’s really not obvious otherwise.

    The same goes with “Truth”. There seem to be many different versions, and usually the ones claiming to be “true” are more distant from reality.

    A friend and teacher passed on a comparison of CEO to Worker salaries across multiple countries. It painted the US in pretty poor light. Most countries were shown in the 11 to 22x range, but the US was 457x.

    There were no qualifiers, sources, etc were includes, and i wanted to know if this was for all CEOs, or just a subset. So, what do do? Research, of course.

    It looked like it was for more than the 100, but less than the total in the US.

    CEO #100’s total compensation is 541x the average worker. If you include only raw pay, and not deferred compensation (options, etc), the top 100 are still well above 100x the average worker.

    Note that the average worker pay is roughly 15% lower than the average full-time worker, which is probably a better comparison (CEOs work more than full-time).

    It’s not as bleak as it looks from this. The median income for a CEO is around $225k (6.5x), and the mean income is around $550k (16x).

    Though, the mean had a little SWAG to it, and it may be higher as per

    There are around 6 million CEOs in the US (assuming all companies with employees have a CEO, and all companies without employees don’t have a CEO).

    Breakdown of compensation for the top 100 are at

    Personal notes: Being a CEO in reality takes special skills and experience, which become more important as the company size grows. A big part of this is having your shit together, and not sabotaging yourself – surprisingly difficult in reality. If you had more than a marginal chance to make a Fortune 1000 company 5% more efficient, then why aren’t you? How much of this is jealousy? Why is it okay to be hostile towards over 6 million people because a few hundred of them were able to convince a group of directors that they were worth so much deferred income (stock options, etc).?

    Semantics, with Max and Khai

    K: Yay! Thank you dad!
    M: What did he do?
    K: he changed my lights to the bluish color
    M: Hugh. Mine are still yellow.
    K: it’s because I complained. If you whine, you don’t get anything, but if you complain, you do.

    Word Origins

    I was passing through my Etymology dictionary and ran across aegis, which I’d known from the telco Aegis.

    Aegis derives from ancient Greek, meaning the shield of Zeus. This was derived from the ancient Greek word meaning `goat` as Zeus’s shield was said to be made of goatskin. The word word for goat is `aìx` (aix with an accent over the i).

    I wonder. Advanced Interactive Executive SOUNDS like one of those cheesy acronyms that someone picked words to fill in a pre-chosen acronym. Since it was based off of BSD Unix, and was an interactive (shell based) O/S versus the batch processing systems of the time, that easily filled in the I.

    SO I actually support the Goat operating system.