Pragmatics, Modularity and Mind-reading

Mind and Language 17 (1&2):3-23 (2002)
The central problem for pragmatics is that sentence meaning vastly underdetermines speaker’s meaning. The goal of pragmatics is to explain how the gap between sentence meaning and speaker’s meaning is bridged. This paper defends the broadly Gricean view that pragmatic interpretation is ultimately an exercise in mind-reading, involving the inferential attribution of intentions. We argue, however, that the interpretation process does not simply consist in applying general mind-reading abilities to a particular (communicative) domain. Rather, it involves a dedicated comprehension module, with its own special principles and mechanisms. We show how such a metacommunicative module might have evolved, and what principles and mechanisms it might contain.
Keywords speaker's meaning  mindreading  modularity  Gricean pragmatics  relevance theory  evolution of communication
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DOI 10.1111/1468-0017.00186
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Peter Carruthers (2013). Mindreading in Infancy. Mind and Language 28 (2):141-172.

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