Keywords: Evolution of
language, Communication, Attention, Tool use, Reference,
Perception, Intelligence, Intentionality
Abstract: It is argued that the capacity to focus
attention is crucial for intentional communication.
Intentional communication is goal-intended; directed at
changing mental states and as a consequence behaviour; about
a referential object common to sender and recipient; and
about objects that may be context-and referent-independent.
Three different kinds of attention is discerned: scanning,
attention attraction, and attention-focusing. The focus of
attention can, depending on the abilities of the subject, be
on objects or subjects that either are contextual or stable,
and it can be individual or shared. For language use,
subject-subject focusing along with shared attention are
necessary. This does not require Gricean
metarepresentations, but basically only attention contact
between the subjects and behavioral co-ordination. Language
use can be compared with tool use to bring out the
characteristics that distinguish informational from
intentional communication. The capacities required for tool
use are in several cases similar to those required for
language use. A basic similarity is that both activities are
used as means to an end.