The Principle of Charity and Intercultural Communication

Eli Dresner


This article argues that the principle of “charity” and the debate over it in contemporary philosophy of language are of interest and importance for communication scholars in general, and for those interested in intercultural communication in particular. In support of this claim, I present in the first section of the paper an overview of “radical interpretation,” a notion used by Donald Davidson in order to account for linguistic communication. In the second section, I discuss the principle of charity (as it arises in radical interpretation), according to which interpreters must construe the beliefs and utterances of others as largely rational and true. In the third section, I begin to explore the ramifications the principle of charity holds for intercultural communication.

Full Text: