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Pragmatics

Edited by Christopher Gauker (University of Salzburg)
About this topic
Summary Topics in the philosophy of language tend to fall into two main branches, pragmatics and semantics.  Roughly, semantics deals with conventional meaning.  Theories in formal semantics for natural language attempt to pair meanings with sentence-context pairs in some systematic way.  A primary test of correctness for a semantic theory is whether it allows us to define the logical properties of sentences (such as whether one sentence logically implies another).  The term “pragmatics” covers both a part of formal semantics, so defined, and also the study of the ways in which utterances effect communication.  The first kind of pragmatic theory deals with the way in which the extensions of terms and the truth values of sentences depend on features of the situation in which the sentence is spoken.  The second kind of pragmatic theory studies the nature of speech acts, such as asserting or asking, and also the ways in which speakers manage to convey more than the conventional meaning of the sentence uttered.  It is not always clear where in this taxonomy a given phenomenon should fall.  The topic of presupposition, for instance, has been located under all of these headings.
Key works The classics of pragmatics include Austin 1975, Searle 1969, Grice 1989, Kaplan 1977, Stalnaker 1973, and Lewis 1979.  More recent contributions that have drawn considerable attention include Bach 1994, Recanati 2004, Lepore & Cappelen 2005, and Stanley & Szabó 2000
Introductions

An excellent but now somewhat dated collection of classics is Stephen Davis, ed., Pragmatics: A Reader, Oxford University Press, 1991.  For a short overview of some current issues, see Gauker 2012.

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  1. André J. Abath (2012). Epistemic Contextualism, Semantic Blindness and Content Unawareness. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):593 - 597.
    It is held by many philosophers that it is a consequence of epistemic contextualism that speakers are typically semantically blind, that is, typically unaware of the propositions semantically expressed by knowledge attributions. In his ?Contextualism, Invariantism and Semantic Blindness? (this journal, 2009), Martin Montminy argues that semantic blindness is widespread in language, and not restricted to knowledge attributions, so it should not be considered problematic. I will argue that Montminy might be right about this, but that contextualists still face a (...)
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  2. Juan José Colomina Almiñana (2010). ¿ Qué podemos aprovechar del análisis austiniano del significado y de la verdad? Revista de Filosofía (Madrid) 42 (2):197 - 218.
    In this paper, we try to show why a formal definition of truth is not satisfactory (first point). Later, we expound (second point) the polemic between Austin and Strawson about truth with the intention to show that both refer to different problems concerning truth and to prove that Austin did not lose this confrontation and that we can recover some elements of his investigation for making an adequate approach to this notion. We will complete our definition of truth using the (...)
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  3. Juan José Colomina Almiñana (2007). El papel del significado en una noción pragmática de la verdad. Revista de Filosofía (Madrid) 32 (1):85-108.
    In this paper, we try to show why a formal definition of truth is not satisfactory (first point). Later, we expound (second point) the polemic between Austin and Strawson about truth with the intention to show that both refer to different problems concerning truth and to prove that Austin did not lose this confrontation and that we can recover some elements of his investigation for making an adequate approach to this notion. We will complete our definition of truth using the (...)
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  4. Karl-Otto Apel (2003). Transcendental Pragmatics*(1979). In Gerard Delanty & Piet Strydom (eds.), Philosophies of Social Science: The Classic and Contemporary Readings. Open University. 316.
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  5. Leo Apostel (1979). Persuasive Communication As Metaphorical Discourse Under The Guidance Of Conversational Maxims. Logique Et Analyse 22 (September):265-320.
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  6. Michael Argyle (1976). Non-Verbal Communication and Language. Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures 10:63-78.
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  7. Salvatore Attardo (1997). Competition and Cooperation: Beyond Gricean Pragmatics. Pragmatics and Cognition 5 (1):21-50.
    An argument is presented for augmenting Gricean pragmatics with cognitively significant information about whether the participants in the interaction share the same goals, the same amount of information, and the degree of their awareness of both. The additions handle situations of competitive conversational exchanges, where the cooperative principle has been claimed to be inoperative, and show that cooperation underlies competitive exchanges as well. Some examples of competitive exchanges are examined, including witness cross-examination, sales pitches, propaganda, and lies.
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  8. I. L. Austin (2013). 2. Performative Utterances. In Maite Ezcurdia & Robert J. Stainton (eds.), The Semantics-Pragmatics Boundary in Philosophy. Broadview Press. 21.
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  9. J. L. Austin (1961). Perfonnative Utterances. In J. O. Urmson & G. J. Warnock (eds.), Philosophical Papers. Clarendon Press.
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  10. Kent Bach (1995). Standardization Vs. Conventionalization. Linguistics and Philosophy 18 (6):677 - 686.
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  11. Dorit Bar-On (2013). Expressive Communication and Continuity Skepticism. Journal of Philosophy 110 (6):293-330.
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  12. Lars Bejerholm (1966). Religiöse Performative. Neue Zeitschrift Für Systematische Theologie Und Religionsphilosophie 8 (3):255-264.
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  13. V. Bell (2006). Performative Knowledge. Theory, Culture and Society 23 (2-3):214-217.
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  14. Gustav Bergmann (1947). Philosophical and Psychological Pragmatics. Philosophy of Science 14 (3):271-273.
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  15. Memo Bergmann (1986). How Many Feminists Does It Take To Make A Joke? Sexist Humor and What's Wrong With It. Hypatia 1 (1):63-82.
    In this paper I am concerned with two questions: What is sexist humor? and what is wrong with it? To answer the first question, I briefly develop a theory of humor and then characterize sexist humor as humor in which sexist beliefs are presupposed and are necessary to the fun. Concerning the second question, I criticize a common sort of argument that is supposed to explain why sexist humor is offensive: although the argument explains why sexist humor feels offensive, it (...)
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  16. Roxane Bertrand & Beatrice Priego Valverde (2011). Does Prosody Play a Specific Role in Conversational Humor? Pragmatics and Cognition 19 (2):333-356.
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  17. Mary Besemeres & Anna Wierzbicka (2003). Pragmatics and Cognition: The Meaning of the Particle Lah in Singapore English. Pragmatics and Cognition 11 (1):3-38.
    In this paper we try to crack one of the hardest and most intriguing chestnuts in the field of cross-cultural pragmatics and to identify the meaning of the celebrated Singaporean particle lah ¿ the hallmark of Singapore English. In pursuing this goal, we investigate the use of lah and seek to identify its meaning by trying to find a paraphrase in ordinary language which would be substitutable for lah in any context. In doing so, we try to enter the speakers¿ (...)
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  18. Mary Besemeres & Anna Wierzbicka (2003). Pragmatics and Cognition: The Meaning of the Particle. Pragmatics and Cognition 11 (1):3-38.
    In this paper we try to crack one of the hardest and most intriguing chestnuts in the field of cross-cultural pragmatics and to identify the meaning of the celebrated Singaporean particle lah — the hallmark of Singapore English. In pursuing this goal, we investigate the use of lah and seek to identify its meaning by trying to find a paraphrase in ordinary language which would be substitutable for lah in any context. In doing so, we try to enter the speakers' (...)
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  19. Martina Blečić (2011). Drawing the Boundaries of Meaning: Neo-Gricean Studies in Pragmatics and Semantics in Honor of Laurence R. Horn; Edited by Betty J. Birner and Gregory Ward (John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2006), 350 Pp. [REVIEW] Croatian Journal of Philosophy 11 (1 (31)):133-139.
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  20. Peter Bornedal (1997). Speech and System. Museum Tusculanum Press.
    2.2.4) Differance as Supplement 246 2.3) Anti-logics 248 2.3.1) Argumentative Incompatibility 249 2.3.2) Counter-Finality 250 2.3.3) Performative ...
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  21. Francesca M. Bosco (2006). Cognitive Pragmatics. In Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. 546--552.
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  22. Robert Brandom (2002). Pragmatics and Pragmatisms. In Urszula M. Żegleń & James Conant (eds.), Hilary Putnam: Pragmatism and Realism. Routledge. 40--58.
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  23. Karl Britton (1939/1970). Communication. College Park, Md.,Mcgrath Pub. Co..
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  24. Gerald L. Bruns (1974/2001). Modern Poetry and the Idea of Language: A Critical and Historical Study. Dalkey Archive Press.
    Bruns lucidly depicts the distinctions and convergences between these two lines of thought by examining the works of Mallarme, Flaubert, Joyce, Beckett, and ...
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  25. Alessandro Capone (ed.) (2013). Perspectives on Pragmatics and Philosophy. Springer.
    Alessandro Capone Franco Lo Piparo Marco Carapezza Editors Perspectives on Pragmatics and Philosophy Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology Volume 1 Editor-in-Cheif Alessandro. Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy ...
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  26. Jose E. Chaves, Explicature, What is Said and Gricean Factorization Criteria.
    Since Grice introduced the distinction between what is said and implicature, the literature shows a widespread interest in the delimitation of these notions. In this paper, I will identify and specify the criteria with which Grice distinctly determines the factors of the speaker’s meaning and I will use these criteria to compare the Gricean minimalist notion of what is said with the Relevance theoretic notion of explicature. In drawing this comparison, I aim to make it clear that the two approaches (...)
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  27. Jose E. Chaves, Of Course, I Don't Say That!
    Grice’s notion of what is said has been challenged in many directions and, since then, there are a lot of new proposals to understand it. One of these new proposals claims that what a speaker said is not part of the speaker meaning. In that sense, the content said by uttering a sentence is not intentioned by the speaker but a purely semantic and syntactic matter. Kent Bach argues for this proposal and is the main exponent of it. My aim (...)
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  28. Elżbieta Chrzanowska-Kluczewska (2000). Language-Games, Pro and Against. Universitas.
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  29. Billy Clark (1993). Relevance and “Pseudo-Imperatives”. Linguistics and Philosophy 16 (1):79 - 121.
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  30. John Collier (2014). Informal Pragmatics and Linguistic Creativity. South African Journal of Philosophy 33 (2):121-129.
    Examples of successful linguistic communication give rise to two important insights: it should be understood most fundamentally in terms of the pragmatic success of each individual utterance, and linguistic conventions need to be understood as on a par with the non-linguistic regularities that competent language users rely upon to refer. Syntax and semantics are part of what Barwise and Perry call the context of the utterance, contributing to the pragmatics of the utterance. This full and distributed multichannel context determines meaning (...)
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  31. Steven Davis (1994). The Grice Program and Expression Meaning. Philosophical Studies 75 (3):293 - 299.
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  32. Alice Davison (1983). Linguistic or Pragmatic Description in the Context of the Performadox. Linguistics and Philosophy 6 (4):499 - 526.
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  33. Philippe de Brabanter & Mikhail Kissine (eds.) (2009). Utterance Interpretation and Cognitive Models. Emmerald Publishers.
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  34. Géraud de Cordemoy (1972). A Philosophical Discourse Concerning Speech (1668) and a Discourse Written to a Learned Friar (1670). Delmar, N.Y.,Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints.
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  35. Géraud de Cordemoy (1668/1973). A Philosophical Discourse Concerning Speech, Together with a Discourse Written by a Learned Friar. New York,Ams Press.
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  36. Paul Dimmock & Torfinn Thomesen Huvenes (2014). Knowledge, Conservatism, and Pragmatics. Synthese 191 (14):3239-3269.
    The apparent contextual variability exhibited by ‘knows’ and its cognates—brought to attention in examples like Keith DeRose’s Bank Case—poses familiar problems for conservative forms of invariantism about ‘knows’. The paper examines and criticises a popular response to those problems, one that involves appeal to so-called ‘pragmatic’ features of language. It is first argued, contrary to what seems to have been generally assumed, that any pragmatic defence faces serious problems with regard to our judgments about retraction. Second, the familiar objection that (...)
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  37. Umberto Eco (1999). Serendipities: Language & Lunacy. Harcourt Brace.
    Serendipities is a careful unraveling of the fabulous and the false, a brilliant exposition of how unanticipated truths often spring from false ideas. From Leibniz's belief that the I Ching illustrated the principles of calculus to Marco Polo's mistaking a rhinoceros for a unicorn, Umberto Eco offers a dazzling tour of intellectual history, illuminating the ways in which we project the familiar onto the strange to make sense of the world. Uncovering layers of mistakes that have shaped human history, Eco (...)
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  38. Dorothy Edgington (2006). The Pragmatics Ofthelogical. In Barry C. Smith (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press. 768.
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  39. Peter D. Fenves (2001). Arresting Language: From Leibniz to Benjamin. Stanford University Press.
    Speech act theory has taught us 'how to do things with words'. Arresting Language turns its attention in the opposite direction - toward the surprising things that language can undo and leave undone. In the eight essays of this volume, arresting language is seen as language at rest, words no longer in service to the project of establishing conventions or instituting legal regimes. Concentrating on both widely-known and seldom-read texts from a variety of philosophers, writers, and critics - from Leibniz (...)
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  40. M. Fludernik & R. D. Sell (1995). The Fictions of Language and the Languages of Fiction: The Linguistic Representation of Speech and Consciousness. Journal of Pragmatics 24.
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  41. Bas C. Van Fraassen (1977). The Pragmatics of Explanation. American Philosophical Quarterly 14 (2):143 - 150.
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  42. Marilyn Frye (1976). On Saying. American Philosophical Quarterly 13 (2):123 - 127.
    Disambiguations of 'saying' are presented, As a means of sorting and clarifying the many meanings and senses of that word whose confusions have clouded the literature on speech acts. The resulting analysis of saying is either an improved version of austin's or an alternative analysis, Depending on how significant the departures seem. In the second part, An account is given of "uttering a sentence as a sentence" ("a propos" of austin's characterization of the phatic act).
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  43. Richard M. Gale (1970). Do Performative Utterances Have Any Constative Function? Journal of Philosophy 67 (5):117-121.
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  44. Raymond W. Gibbs Jr & Jessica F. Moise (1997). Pragmatics in Understanding What is Said. Cognition 62 (1):51-74.
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  45. Antoni Gomila Benejam (1998). Tras la pragmática intencionalista (After the Intentionalist Pragmatics). Theoria 13 (1):33-49.
    Se trata de una consideraeión de la ultima propuesta teórica de Víctor Sánchez de Zavala para la Pragmatica, desde la perspectiva de sus fundamentos conceptuales, de la filosofia de la mente subyacente. Se repasan sus argumentos para sentirse insatisfecho con el enfoque intencionalista estándar de la Pragmática y se intenta reconstruir su coneepeión alternativa a este respecto, implícita en su nuevo marco teórieo. Lo que aparece, al final es una concepeión dinámica de las relaciones reciprocas entre pensamiento y lenguaje.The aim (...)
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  46. Samuel Gorovitz (1969). Aspects of the Pragmatics of Explanation. Noûs 3 (1):61-72.
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  47. L. I. Grishaeva, M. K. Popova & V. T. Titov (eds.) (2004). Fenomen Pret͡sedentnosti I Preemstvennostʹ Kulʹtur: [Monografii͡a. Voronezhskiĭ Gos. Universitet.
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  48. J. Gundel (2012). Pragmatics and Information Structure. In Keith Allan & Kasia Jaszczolt (eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Pragmatics. Cambridge University Press.
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  49. Jürgen Habermas (2000). On the Pragmatics of Communication. The Mit Press.
    Jurgen Habermas's program in formal pragmatics fulfills two main functions.
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  50. Petra Hedberg (2008). On the Performative and the Pragmatic. Performative Vs. Pragmatic Self-Contradictions. SATS: Northern European Journal of Philosophy 9 (2):91-115.
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