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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. 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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  2. Salvatore Attardo (1997). Competition and Cooperation: Beyond Gricean Pragmatics. Pragmatics and Cognition 5 (1):21-50.
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  3. Kent Bach (1995). Standardization Vs. Conventionalization. Linguistics and Philosophy 18 (6):677 - 686.
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  4. 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.
  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. Mary Besemeres & Anna Wierzbicka (2003). Pragmatics and Cognition: The Meaning of the Particle. Pragmatics and Cognition 11 (1):3-38.
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  8. 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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  9. Karl Britton (1939/1970). Communication. College Park, Md.,Mcgrath Pub. Co..
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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. Elżbieta Chrzanowska-Kluczewska (2000). Language-Games, Pro and Against. Universitas.
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  14. Billy Clark (1993). Relevance and “Pseudo-Imperatives”. Linguistics and Philosophy 16 (1):79 - 121.
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  15. Alice Davison (1983). Linguistic or Pragmatic Description in the Context of the Performadox. Linguistics and Philosophy 6 (4):499 - 526.
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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. L. I. Grishaeva, M. K. Popova & V. T. Titov (eds.) (2004). Fenomen Pret͡sedentnosti I Preemstvennostʹ Kulʹtur: [Monografii͡a. Voronezhskiĭ Gos. Universitet.
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  23. Petra Hendriks, Coherent Discourse Solves the Pronoun Interpretation Problem.
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  24. Maria Rodica Iacobescu (2008). Non-Discursiveness and Language. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 39:71-77.
    Discursive knowledge is expressed in a conceptual, specialized language, which offers the standardization and rigor necessary to a rational reasoning. For the non discursive knowledge, language, as a means of communication, is inadequate and insufficient.
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  25. Ludger Jansen & Niko Strobach (2003). The so-Called Materially Valid Inferences and the Logic of Concepts. In Foundations of the Formal Sciences II. Applications of Mathematical Logic in Philosophy and Linguistics. Kluwer. 113-118.
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  26. Asa Kasher (1977). What Is A Theory Of Use? Journal of Pragmatics 1 (June):105-120.
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  27. Leon Koj (1974). Leon Koj, Semantyka a Pragmatyka. Stosunek Językoznawstwa I Psychologii Do Semantyki (Semantics and Pragmatics. The Relation of Linguistics and Psychology to Semantics). Dialectics and Humanism 1 (2):180-181.
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  28. Ivona Kučerová (2012). Grammatical Marking of Givenness. Natural Language Semantics 20 (1):1-30.
    Schwarzschild (Nat Lang Semant 7:141–177, 1999)’s account of givenness elaborates a notion of complementarity of givenness and focus in an intricate way: while givenness is semantically interpreted, focus is grammatically marked. It has been noticed, however, that under certain circumstances givenness in English is grammatically marked as well. Movement plays a role in this process. This paper provides further evidence for givenness marking. I present a case study of three Slavic languages (Czech, Russian, and Serbo-Croatian) in which givenness is always (...)
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  29. Michiel Leezenberg (2009). Part I. Gricean Themes: Gricean and Confucian Pragmatics: A Contrastive Analysis. In Dingfang Shu & Ken Turner (eds.), Contrasting Meanings in Languages of the East and West. Peter Lang.
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  30. Joseph Levine (1989). Breaking Out of the Gricean Circle. Philosophical Studies 57 (2):207 - 216.
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  31. Joseph Margolis (1984). The Locus of Coherence. Linguistics and Philosophy 7 (1):3 - 30.
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  32. R. M. Martin (1959/1974). Toward a Systematic Pragmatics. Westport, Conn.,Greenwood Press.
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  33. Aloysius Martinich (1984). Communication and Reference. W. De Gruyter.
    Chapter One: Introduction /. Why Study Philosophy of Language? Why should philosophers (or human beings in their leisurely reflective moments) be interested ...
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  34. W. Mays (1961). Pragmatics and Intension. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 39 (1):1 – 12.
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  35. Betty McLellan (2010). Unspeakable: A Feminist Ethic of Speech. Otherwise Publications.
  36. Robin Melrose (1996). The Margins of Meaning: Arguments for a Postmodern Approach to Language and Text. Rodopi.
    INTRODUCTION The title of this book is inspired by Jacques Derrida and the title of one of his works, The Margins of Philosophy. This work introduced me to ...
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  37. Rita Messori (2013). Poetiche Del Sensibile: Le Parole E I Fenomeni Tra Esperienza Estetica E Figurazione: Merleau-Ponty, Ricoeur, Dufrenne, Maldiney. Quodlibet.
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  38. Sarah Moss (forthcoming). On the Semantics and Pragmatics of Epistemic Vocabulary. Semantics and Pragmatics.
    This paper motivates and develops a novel semantics for several epistemic expressions, including possibility modals and indicative conditionals. The semantics I defend constitutes an alternative to standard truth conditional theories, as it assigns sets of probability spaces as sentential semantic values. I argue that what my theory lacks in conservatism is made up for by its strength. In particular, my semantics accounts for the distinctive behavior of nested epistemic modals, indicative conditionals embedded under probability operators, and instances of constructive dilemma (...)
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  39. Stephen Mulhall (2007). The Conversation of Humanity. University of Virginia Press.
    Introduction: discursive conditions -- Language, philosophy, and sophistry -- Contributions to a conversation about the conversation of humanity: Heidegger and Gadamer, Oakeshott and Rorty -- Lectures and letters as conversation: Cavell as educator in Cities of words -- Conclusion: redeeming words.
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  40. Herman Parret (1971). Language and Discourse. The Hague,Mouton.
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  41. Barbara H. Partee (1985). Situations, Worlds and Contexts. Linguistics and Philosophy 8 (1):53--58.
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  42. Julia Ponzio (2005). Il Ritmo Della Scrittura: Tempo, Alterità E Comunicazione. Schena.
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  43. Paul Portner & Katsuhiko Yabushita (1998). The Semantics and Pragmatics of Topic Phrases. Linguistics and Philosophy 21 (2):117-157.
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  44. Rajendra Prasad (1989). Regularity, Normativity, and Rules of Language and Other Essays in Philosophical Analysis. Dept. Of Philosophy, University of Poona.
  45. Ian Pratt (1987). Constraints, Meaning and Information. Linguistics and Philosophy 10 (3):299 - 324.
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  46. Guanlian Qian (2005). Yu Yan: Ren Lei Zui Hou de Jia Yuan: Ren Lei Ji Ben Sheng Cun Zhuang Tai de Zhe Xue Yu Yu Yong Xue Yan Jiu = Language: The Last Homestead of Human Beings: Philosophical & Pragmatic Probe Into the Basic Survival Ways of Man. Shang Wu Yin Shu Guan.
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  47. Boris Rähme (2000). Reflexion und Sinnkritik. Handlung, Kultur, Interpretation 9 (1):147-168.
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  48. Harry P. Reeder (1984). Language and Experience: Descriptions of Living Language in Husserl and Wittgenstein. Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology & University Press of America.
  49. Alan Reeves (1977). Logicians, Language, and George Lakoff. Linguistics and Philosophy 1 (2):221 - 231.
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  50. Tanya Reinhart (1981). Pragmatics and Linguistics: An Analysis of Sentence Topics. Philosophica 27.
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