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Profile: Robyn Anne Carston (University College London)
  1. Robyn Carston, A Response to Noel Burton-Roberts.
    Metalinguistic negation (MN) is interesting for at least the following two reasons: (a) it is one instance of the much broader, very widespread and various, phenomenon of metarepresentational use in linguistic communication, whose semantic and pragmatic properties are currently being extensively explored by both linguists and philosophers of language; (b) it plays a central role in recent accounts of presupposition-denial cases, such as "The king of France is not bald; there is no king of France". It is this latter employment (...)
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  2. Robyn Carston, Enrichment and Loosening: Complementary Processes in Deriving the Proposition Expressed?
    Within relevance theory the two local pragmatic processes of enrichment and loosening of linguistically encoded conceptual material have been given quite distinct treatments. Enrichments of various sorts, including those which involve a logical strengthening of a lexical concept, contribute to the proposition expressed by the utterance, hence to its truth-conditions. Loosenings, including metaphorical uses, do not enter into the proposition expressed by the utterance or affect its truth-conditions; they stand in a relation of 'interpretive resemblance' with the linguistically encoded concept (...)
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  3. Robyn Carston, Explicature and Semantics.
    A standard view of the semantics of natural language sentences or utterances is that a sentence has a particular logical structure and is assigned truth-conditional content on the basis of that structure. Such a semantics is assumed to be able to capture the logical properties of sentences, including necessary truth, contradiction and valid inference; our knowledge of these properties is taken to be part of our semantic competence as native speakers of the language. The following examples pose a problem for (...)
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  4. Robyn Carston, Introduction: Representation and Metarepresentation.
    “Utterances and thoughts have content: They represent (actual or imaginary) states of affairs.” This is the opening statement of François Recanati’s most sustained work on kinds of representation, Oratio Obliqua, Oratio Recta (2000) and it presents the core phenomenon which it is the task of the philosophy of language to explain. A primary function of language and thought, though not their only function, is to represent how things are or might be. As well as descriptively representing entities, properties, and states (...)
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  5. Robyn Carston, Informativeness, Relevance and Scalar Implicature.
    The idea is that, in a wide range of contexts, utterances of the sentences in (a) in each case will communicate the assumption in (b) in each case (or something closely akin to it, there being a certain amount of contextually governed variation in the speaker's propositional attitude and so the scope of the negation). These scalar inferences are taken to be one kind of (generalized) conversational implicature. As is the case with pragmatic inference quite generally, these inferences are defeasible (...)
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  6. Robyn Carston, Making Connections – Linguistic or Pragmatic?
    In (1), the talking event described in the matrix clause is elaborated on in the following adjunct: the arguing about the data and the theories makes up the content of the talking referred to in the matrix clause. In (2), on the other hand, the events (or sub-events of a single complex event) described are in a causeconsequence relation, a result of the action described in the matrix clause being that the porcelain vase breaks. These two examples illustrate a central (...)
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  7. Robyn Carston, Metalinguistic Negation and Echoic Use.
    What I hope to achieve in this paper is some rather deeper understanding of the semantic and pragmatic properties of utterances which are said to involve the phenomenon of metalinguistic negation[FN1]. According to Laurence Horn, who has been primarily responsible for drawing our attention to it, this is a special non-truthfunctional use of the negation operator, which can be glossed as 'I object to U' where U is a linguistic utterance. This is to be distinguished from descriptive truthfunctional negation which (...)
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  8. Robyn Carston, To Appear in Journal of Linguistics.
    The basic thesis of this book is that there is a level of utterance-type meaning, which is distinct from, and intermediate between, sentence-type meaning and utterance-token meaning. That is, it is more than encoded linguistic meaning but generally less than the full interpretation of an utterance. Here are some examples, where (a) is a sentence and (b) is its utterance-type meaning in each case.
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  9. Robyn Carston & Diane Blakemore, Introduction: Neil Smith's Linguistics.
    Neil Smith has worked across the full range of the discipline of linguistics and explored its interfaces with other disciplines. In all this work he has maintained a commitment to a mentalist approach to the study of language and communication. The aim of this Special Issue is to honour his work and commitment with a collection of papers which brings together work by phonologists, syntacticians, psycholinguists, and pragmatists who share this interest in language as a central component of the human (...)
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  10. Robyn Carston & Gower Street, Semantics/Pragmatics Distinction.
    Most people working on linguistic meaning or communication assume that semantics and pragmatics are distinct domains, yet there is still little consensus on how the distinction is to be drawn. The position defended in this paper is that the semantics/pragmatics distinction holds between (context-invariant) encoded linguistic meaning and speaker meaning. Two other ‘minimalist’ positions on semantics are explored and found wanting: Kent Bach’s view that there is a narrow semantic notion of context which is responsible for providing semantic values for (...)
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  11. Robyn Carston & Gower Street, The Relationship Between Generative Grammar and (Relevance-Theoretic) Pragmatics.
    The generative grammar approach to language seeks a fully explicit account of the modular systems of knowledge (competence) that underlies the human language capacity. Similarly, the relevance-theoretic approach to pragmatics attempts an explicit characterisation of the sub-personal systems involved in utterance interpretation. As an on-line performance system, however, it is subject to certain additional constraints; this is demonstrated by the way in which matters of computational (processing effort) economy are currently employed in the two types of theory. A sub-module of (...)
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  12. Robyn Carston (forthcoming). The Architecture of the Mind: Modularity and Modularization. Cognitive Science: An Introduction.
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  13. Robyn Carston (2013). 12. Implicature, Explicature, and Truth-Theoretic Semantics. In Maite Ezcurdia & Robert J. Stainton (eds.), The Semantics-Pragmatics Boundary in Philosophy. Broadview Press. 261.
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  14. Robyn Carston (2012). Metaphor and the Literal–Nonliteral Distinction. In Keith Allan & Kasia Jaszczolt (eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Pragmatics. Cambridge University Press. 469--492.
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  15. Robyn Carston (2010). Metaphor: Ad Hoc Concepts, Literal Meaning and Mental Images. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 110 (3pt3):295-321.
    I propose that an account of metaphor understanding which covers the full range of cases has to allow for two routes or modes of processing. One is a process of rapid, local, on-line concept construction that applies quite generally to the recovery of word meaning in utterance comprehension. The other requires a greater focus on the literal meaning of sentences or texts, which is metarepresented as a whole and subjected to more global, reflective pragmatic inference. The questions whether metaphors convey (...)
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  16. Robyn Carston (2008). A Review of E. Borg, 2004. Minimal Semantics. Oxford: Clarendon Press. [REVIEW] Mind and Language 23:359-67.
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  17. Robyn Carston (2008). Linguistic Communication and the Semantics/Pragmatics Distinction. Synthese 165 (3):321 - 345.
    Most people working on linguistic meaning or communication assume that semantics and pragmatics are distinct domains, yet there is still little consensus on how the distinction is to be drawn. The position defended in this paper is that the semantics/pragmatics distinction holds between (context-invariant) encoded linguistic meaning and speaker meaning. Two other ‘minimalist’ positions on semantics are explored and found wanting: Kent Bach’s view that there is a narrow semantic notion of context which is responsible for providing semantic values for (...)
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  18. Robyn Carston (2008). Minimal Semantics - by Emma Borg. Mind and Language 23 (3):359–367.
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  19. Robyn Carston & George Powell (2008). Relevance Theory. In Ernest Lepore & Barry C. Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language. Oup Oxford.
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  20. Deirdre Wilson & Robyn Carston (2008). Metaphor and the 'Emergent Property' Problem: A Relevance-Theoretic Approach. The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 3 (1):1-40.
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  21. Robyn Carston (2007). How Many Pragmatic Systems Are There? In María José Frápolli (ed.), Saying, Meaning and Referring: Essays on François Recanati's Philosophy of Language. Palgrave Macmillan.
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  22. Deirdre Wilson & Robyn Carston (2007). A Unitary Approach to Lexical Pragmatics: Relevance, Inference and Ad Hoc Concepts. In Noel Burton-Roberts (ed.), Pragmatics. Palgrave Macmillan. 3.
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  23. Robyn Carston & George Powell (2006). Relevance Theory - New Directions and Developments. In Ernest Lepore & Barry Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press. 341--360.
    As a post-Gricean pragmatic theory, Relevance Theory (RT) takes as its starting point the question of how hearers bridge the gap between sentence meaning and speaker meaning. That there is such a gap has been a given of linguistic philosophy since Grice’s (1967) Logic and Conversation. But the account that relevance theory offers of how this gap is bridged, although originating as a development of Grice’s co-operative principle and conversational maxims, differs from other broadly Gricean accounts in certain fundamental respects, (...)
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  24. Robyn Carston & Deidre Wilson (2006). Metaphor, Relevance and the `Emergent Property' Issue. Mind and Language 21 (3):404--433.
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  25. Deirdre Wilson & Robyn Carston (2006). Metaphor, Relevance and the 'Emergent Property' Issue. Mind and Language 21 (3):404–433.
    The interpretation of metaphorical utterances often results in the attribution of emergent properties, which are neither standardly associated with the individual constituents in isolation nor derivable by standard rules of semantic composition. An adequate pragmatic account of metaphor interpretation must explain how these properties are derived. Using the framework of relevance theory, we propose a wholly inferential account, and argue that the derivation of emergent properties involves no special interpretive mechanisms not required for the interpretation of ordinary, literal utterances.
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  26. Robyn Carston (2004). .
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  27. Robyn Carston (2004). Relevance Theory and the Saying/Implicating Distinction. In . 155--181.
    It is widely accepted that there is a distinction to be made between the explicit content and the implicit import of an utterance. There is much less agreement about the precise nature of this distinction, how it is to be drawn, and whether any such two-way distinction can do justice to the levels and kinds of meaning involved in utterance interpretation. Grice’s distinction between what is said by an utterance and what is implicated is probably the best known instantiation of (...)
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  28. Robyn Carston (2004). Truth-Conditional Content and Conversational Implicature. In Claudia Bianchi (ed.), The Semantics/Pragmatics Distinction. Csli. 65--100.
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  29. Robyn Carston (2002). Linguistic Meaning, Communicated Meaning and Cognitive Pragmatics. Mind and Language 17 (1&2):127–148.
    Within the philosophy of language, pragmatics has tended to be seen as an adjunct to, and a means of solving problems in, semantics. A cognitive-scientific conception of pragmatics as a mental processing system responsible for interpreting ostensive communicative stimuli (specifically, verbal utterances) has effected a transformation in the pragmatic issues pursued and the kinds of explanation offered. Taking this latter perspective, I compare two distinct proposals on the kinds of processes, and the architecture of the system(s), responsible for the recovery (...)
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  30. Robyn Carston, Samuel Guttenplan & Deirdre Wilson (2002). Introduction: Special Issue on Pragmatics and Cognitive Science. Mind and Language 17 (1&2):1–2.
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  31. Robyn Carston (1999). The Semantics/Pragmatics Distinction: A View From Relevance Theory. In Ken Turner (ed.), The Semantics/Pragmatics Interface From Different Points of View. Elsevier. 85125.
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  32. Robyn Carston (1998). Negation, `Presupposition' and the Semantics/ Pragmatics Distinction. Journal of Linguistics 34:309-350.
    A cognitive pragmatic approach is taken to some long-standing problem cases of negation, the so-called presupposition denial cases. It is argued that a full account of the processes and levels of representation involved in their interpretation typically requires the sequential pragmatic derivation of two different propositions expressed. The first is one in which the presupposition is preserved and, following the rejection of this, the second involves the echoic (metalinguistic) use of material falling in the scope of the negation. The semantic (...)
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  33. Robyn Carston (1987). Being Explicit. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 10 (4):713.
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  34. Robyn Carston (1987). Multiple Review. Mind and Language 2 (4):333-349.
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