Scalar implicature and contrastive explanation

Synthese 161 (1):47 - 66 (2008)
I argue for a subsumption of any version of Grice’s first quantity maxim posited to underlie scalar implicature, by developing the idea of implicature recovery as a kind of explanatory inference, as e.g. in science. I take the applicable model to be contrastive explanation, while following van Fraassen’s analysis of explanation as an answer to a why-question. A scalar implicature is embedded in such an answer, one that meets two probabilistic constraints: the probability of the answer, and ‘favoring’. I argue that besides having application at large, outside of linguistic interpretation, these constraints largely account not only for implicatures based on strength order, logical and otherwise, but also for unordered cases. I thus suggest that Grice’s maxim and its descendants are expressions of general explanatory constraints, as they happen to be manifested in this particular explanatory task. I conclude by briefly discussing how I accordingly view Grice’s system outside of scalar implicature.
Keywords Contrastive explanation  Explanation  Scalar implicature  Implicature  Why-questions
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,280
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 29 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

47 ( #101,630 of 1,932,461 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

15 ( #56,493 of 1,932,461 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.