|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.|
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.
Material to categorize
Using PhilPapers from home?
Create an account to enable off-campus access through your institution's proxy server.
Monitor this page
Be alerted of all new items appearing on this page. Choose how you want to monitor it:
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers