Implicature

Edited by Brian Robinson (Texas A&M University - Kingsville)
About this topic
Summary Paul Grice coined the term 'implicature' and its two sub-categories: conventional implicature and conversational implicature. Implicatures are what a speaker meant in addition to or instead of what was literally said. Grice originally intended implicature to serve as a gap between what a speaker said and what a speaker meant, since speakers regularly do mean more than (or something contrary to) what they literally said. While many except that implicatures fit in that gap, it is debated that they do not completely fill it. Since Grice, neo-Griceans have made various emendations to the notion of implicature. Others, have sought to account for roughly the same phenomena by different theoretical means, chiefly Relevance theorists, such as Sperber and Wilson. 
Key works The first, and most important key work is Grice's "Logic and Conversation" in Grice 1989, in which Grice lays out the initial account of implicature. Neale 1992 provides a lengthy, but thorough summary of that theory. Bach has two seminal articles on conversational implicature (Bach 1994) and conventional implicature (Bach 1999). Davis offers his arguments for the failure of the Gricean theory of implicature in Davis 1998.
Introductions Grice 1989  Grandy 1989  Neale 1992
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  1. Speaker Meaning and the Interpretation and Construction of Executive Orders.Harold Anthony Lloyd - 2018 - Wake Forest Journal of Law and Policy 8 (2):319-361.
    This Article explores the interpretation and construction of executive orders using as examples President Trump’s two executive orders captioned “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” (the “Two Executive Orders”). -/- President Trump issued the Two Executive Orders in the context of (among other things) Candidate Trump’s statements such as: “Islam hates us,” and “[W]e can’t allow people coming into this country who have this hatred.” President Trump subsequently provided further context including his tweet about the (...)
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  2. Local Pragmatics: Reply to Mandy Simons.François Recanati - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (5):493-508.
    In response to Mandy Simons’ defence of a classical Gricean approach to pragmatic enrichment in terms of conversational implicature, I emphasize the following contrast. Conversational implicatures are generated by a global inference which uses as a premise the fact that the speaker has said that p, but only the triggering inference is global in cases of pragmatic enrichment. What generates the correct interpretation is a process of reconstrual, which locally maps the literal meaning of a constituent to a modulated meaning (...)
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  3. On Three Theories of Implicature: Default Theory, Relevance and Minimalism.Emma Borg - unknown
    Grice's distinction between what is said by a sentence and what is implicated by an utterance of it is both extremely familiar and almost universally accepted. However, in recent literature, the precise account he offered of implicature recovery has been questioned and alternative accounts have emerged. In this paper, I examine three such alternative accounts. My main aim is to show that the two most popular accounts in the current literature still face signifi cant problems. I will then conclude by (...)
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  4. Purport, Implicature and Presupposition: Sanskrit Abhiprāya and Tibetan Dgo $$\Dot N$$ s Pa/Dgo $$\Dot N$$ s Gži as Hermeneutical Concepts.D. Seyfort Ruegg - 1985 - Journal of Indian Philosophy 13:309.
  5. I—Stating and Insinuating.Elizabeth Fricker - 2012 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 86 (1):61-94.
    An utterer may convey a message to her intended audience by means of an explicit statement; or by a non‐conventionally mediated one‐off signal from which the audience is able to work out the intended message; or by conversational implicature. I investigate whether the last two are equivalent to explicit testifying, as communicative act and epistemic source. I find that there are important differences between explicit statement and insinuation; only with the first does the utterer assume full responsibility for the truth (...)
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  6. La regla de la aseveración y las implicaturas conversacionales.Manuel Pérez Otero - 2009 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 24 (1):63-81.
    Williamson defiende la regla del conocimiento, RK, sobre las aseveraciones: debemos aseverar que p sólo si sabemos que p. En este trabajo exploro algunas consecuencias interesantes de RK: en ocasiones, al hacer una aseveración correcta transmitimos un significado no literal verdadero, que \sin embargo\ no podría ser correctamente aseverado; ese tipo de implicatura se da, entre otros casos, en una cierta subclase de las implicaturas: las implicaturas argumentativas; RK y la noción de implicatura argumentativa permiten explicar la tendencia a tratar (...)
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  7. On Grice on Language.Richard E. Grandy - 1989 - Journal of Philosophy 86 (10):514-525.
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  8. The Implicit Dimension of Meaning: Ways of “Filling In” and “Filling Out” Content.Anna Kollenberg & Alex Burri - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (1):89-109.
    I distinguish between the classical Gricean approach to conversational implicatures, which I call the action-theoretic approach, and the approach to CIs taken in contemporary cognitive science. Once we free ourselves from the AT account, and see implicating as a form of what I call “conversational tailoring”, we can more easily see the many different ways that CIs arise in conversation. I will show that they arise not only on the basis of a speaker’s utterance of complete sentences but also on (...)
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  9. Conventional Wisdom Reconsidered.Laurence R. Horn - 2016 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (2):145-162.
    Lepore and Stone seek to replace the rationality-based Gricean picture of coordination between speaker and hearer with one leaning more strongly on the roles of convention and speaker knowledge while doing away with conversational implicature. Focusing on the phenomena of indirect speech acts, asymmetric conjunction, and scalar inferencing, I argue that the case for abandoning implicature as an analytical tool is not ultimately compelling. I seek further to demonstrate the utility of the classical Gricean distinction between what is said and (...)
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  10. On the Exclusivity Implicature of ‘Or’ or on the Meaning of Eating Strawberries.Liza Verhoeven & Leon Horsten - 2005 - Studia Logica 81 (1):19-24.
    This paper is a contribution to the program of constructing formal representations of pragmatic aspects of human reasoning. We propose a formalization within the framework of Adaptive Logics of the exclusivity implicature governing the connective 'or'.
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  11. The Semantics/Pragmatics Interface From an Experimental Perspective: The Case of Scalar Implicature.Napoleon Katsos - 2008 - Synthese 165 (3):385-401.
    In this paper I discuss some of the criteria that are widely used in the linguistic and philosophical literature to classify an aspect of meaning as either semantic or pragmatic. With regards to the case of scalar implicature (e.g. some Fs are G implying that not all Fs are G), these criteria are not ultimately conclusive, either in the results of their application, or in the interpretation of the results with regards to the semantics/pragmatics distinction (or in both). I propose (...)
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  12. Gricean Communication and Transmission of Thoughts.Friedrich Christoph Doerge & Mark Siebel - 2008 - Erkenntnis 69 (1):55-67.
    Gricean communication is communication between utterers and their audiences, where the utterer means something and the audience understands what is meant. The weak transmission idea is that, whenever such communication takes place, there is something which is transmitted from utterer to audience; the strong transmission idea adds that what is transmitted is nothing else than what is communicated. We try to salvage these ideas from a seemingly forceful attack by Wayne Davis. Davis attaches too much significance to the surface structure (...)
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  13. Paul Grice Et la Philosophie du Langage Ordinaire.Francois Recanati - 1993 - L'Age de la Science 5:17-22.
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  14. The Availability Principle and Truth-Value Judgements.Andrei Moldovan - 2015 - Filozofia Nauki 23 (2):29-44.
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  15. The Conventional and the Analytic.Manuel Pérez Otero Manuel García‐Carpintero - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (2):239-274.
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  16. Paul Grice, Philosopher and Linguist. [REVIEW]L. Villamil García - 2007 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 26 (2).
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  17. Reasoning About Implicature: A Plan-Based Approach.Andrew Schaub Mccafferty - 1987 - Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
    Paul Grice coined the term "implicature" in his 1967 William James Lectures. A speaker implicates a proposition if it is part of what he or she communicates, but not part of what he or she literally says. For example, when you direct a stranger to a gas station, you implicate that it is open. This is communicated, but not literally said. The only viable theory of implicature in the philosophical literature is Grice's own theory, which appeals to a "cooperative principle" (...)
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  18. Dan Sperber and Deirdre Wilson, Relevance: Communication and Cognition.F. Murphy - 1997 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 5:144-144.
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  19. Only: Meaning and Implicatures-the Very Incomplete Short Version.Robert van Rooy & Kathrin Schulz - 2005 - In Emar Maier, Corien Bary & Janneke Huitink (eds.), Proceedings of Sub9.
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  20. Pragmatic Tolerance: Implications for the Acquisition of Informativeness and Implicature.Napoleon Katsos & Dorothy V. M. Bishop - 2011 - Cognition 120 (1):67-81.
  21. Licensing Strong NPIs.Jon R. Gajewski - 2011 - Natural Language Semantics 19 (2):109-148.
    This paper proposes that both weak and strong NPIs in English are sensitive to the downward entailingness of their licensers. It is also proposed, however, that these two types of NPIs pay attention to different aspects of the meaning of their environment. As observed by von Fintel and Chierchia, weak NPIs do not attend to the scalar implicatures of presuppositions of their licensers. Strong NPIs see both the truth-conditional and non-truth-conditional (scalar implications, presuppositions) meaning of their licensers. This theory accounts (...)
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  22. Metalinguistic Comparison in an Alternative Semantics for Imprecision.Marcin Morzycki - 2011 - Natural Language Semantics 19 (1):39-86.
    This paper offers an analysis of metalinguistic comparatives such as more dumb than crazy in which they differ from ordinary comparatives in the scale on which they compare: ordinary comparatives use scales lexically determined by particular adjectives, but metalinguistic ones use a generally-available scale of imprecision or ‘pragmatic slack’. To implement this idea, I propose a novel compositional implementation of the Lasersohnian pragmatic-halos account of imprecision—one that represents clusters of similar meanings as Hamblin alternatives. In the theory that results, existential (...)
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  23. On the Characterization of Alternatives.Danny Fox & Roni Katzir - 2011 - Natural Language Semantics 19 (1):87-107.
    We present an argument for revising the theory of alternatives for Scalar Implicatures and for Association with Focus. We argue that in both cases the alternatives are determined in the same way, as a contextual restriction of the focus value of the sentence, which, in turn, is defined in structure-sensitive terms. We provide evidence that contextual restriction is subject to a constraint that prevents it from discriminating between alternatives when they stand in a particular logical relationship with the assertion or (...)
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  24. A Theory of Individual-Level Predicates Based on Blind Mandatory Scalar Implicatures.Giorgio Magri - 2009 - Natural Language Semantics 17 (3):245-297.
    Predicates such as tall or to know Latin, which intuitively denote permanent properties, are called individual-level predicates. Many peculiar properties of this class of predicates have been noted in the literature. One such property is that we cannot say #John is sometimes tall. Here is a way to account for this property: this sentence sounds odd because it triggers the scalar implicature that the alternative John is always tall is false, which cannot be, given that, if John is sometimes tall, (...)
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  25. Upper-Bounded No More: The Exhaustive Interpretation of Non-Strict Comparison. [REVIEW]Rick Nouwen - 2008 - Natural Language Semantics 16 (4):271-295.
    The paper concerns the expression of non-strict comparison, focusing in particular on constructions of the form [no(t) . . .-er than] in modified numerals. The main empirical finding is the observation that negated comparatives contrast with regular comparatives in that the former but not the latter can give rise to (scalar) implicatures. It is shown that such a contrast falls out of theories of exhaustive interpretation that claim alternatives to form dense scales. An important result is that the paper sharpens (...)
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  26. Grice on Meaning: 50 Years Later.John Searle - 2007 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 26 (2):9-18.
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  27. The Scope of Even.Karina Wilkinson - 1996 - Natural Language Semantics 4 (3):193-215.
    This paper is about even in downward entailing contexts. Karttunen and Peters (1979) have shown that there are two different sets of implicatures of even in such contexts. They argue that the two sets of implicatures are derived by allowing even to take scope either higher or lower than a negative polarity licenser. Rooth (1985) argues that even is lexically ambiguous, that is, there is a negative polarity even. I argue against Rooth's ambiguity theory and show that within Rooth's theory (...)
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  28. Scalar Implicatures and Iterated Admissibility.Sascia Pavan - 2013 - Linguistics and Philosophy 36 (4):261-290.
    Paul Grice has given an account of conversational implicatures that hinges on the hypothesis that communication is a cooperative activity performed by rational agents which pursue a common goal. The attempt to derive Grice’s principles from game theory is a natural step, since its aim is to predict the behaviour of rational agents in situations where the outcome of one agent’s choice depends also on the choices of others. Generalised conversational implicatures, and in particular scalar ones, offer an ideal test (...)
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  29. Grice’s Razor and Epistemic Invariantism.Wayne A. Davis - 2013 - Journal of Philosophical Research 38:147-176.
    Grice’s Razor is a methodological principle that many philosophers and linguists have used to help justify pragmatic explanations of linguistic phenomena over semantic explanations. A number of authors in the debate over contextualism argue that an invariant semantics together with Grice’s (1975) conversational principles can account for the contextual variability of knowledge claims. I show here that the defense of Grice’s Razor found in these “Gricean invariantists,” and its use against epistemic contextualism, display all the problems pointed out earlier in (...)
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  30. Pragmatics of Speech Actions, Handbooks of Pragmatics (HoPs) Vol. 2.Claudia Bianchi - 2013
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  31. The Implicature Theory: A Case Study.Rodrigo Jungmann - 2010 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 14 (3):405-419.
    Várias tentativas foram feitas pelos teóricos da referência direta para acomodar o dado intuitivo da opacidade referencial— a não ocorrência de substituição mútua salva veritate de nomes próprios co-referenciais nas orações subordinadas, precedidas por ‘que’, nas orações em que se atribuem atitudes proposicionais. A teoria defendida por Nathan Salmon, em seu livro de 1986 Frege’s Puzzle , é provavelmente a versão mais bem elaborada daquilo a que adiante nos referimos como ‘a Teoria Implicativa’. Salmon sustenta que a opacidade referencial é (...)
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  32. Maximize Presupposition and Gricean Reasoning.Philippe Schlenker - 2012 - Natural Language Semantics 20 (4):391-429.
    Recent semantic research has made increasing use of a principle, Maximize Presupposition, which requires that under certain circumstances the strongest possible presupposition be marked. This principle is generally taken to be irreducible to standard Gricean reasoning because the forms that are in competition have the same assertive content. We suggest, however, that Maximize Presupposition might be reducible to the theory of scalar implicatures. (i)First, we consider a special case: the speaker utters a sentence with a presupposition p which is not (...)
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  33. Knowledge and Implicature: Modeling Language Understanding as Social Cognition.Noah D. Goodman & Andreas Stuhlmüller - 2013 - Topics in Cognitive Science 5 (1):173-184.
    Is language understanding a special case of social cognition? To help evaluate this view, we can formalize it as the rational speech-act theory: Listeners assume that speakers choose their utterances approximately optimally, and listeners interpret an utterance by using Bayesian inference to “invert” this model of the speaker. We apply this framework to model scalar implicature (“some” implies “not all,” and “N” implies “not more than N”). This model predicts an interaction between the speaker's knowledge state and the listener's interpretation. (...)
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  34. Literal Meaning.Kent Bach - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2):487-492.
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  35. A, The, Another: A Game of Same and Different. [REVIEW]Atle Grønn & Kjell Johan Sæbø - 2012 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 21 (1):75-95.
    Indefinites face competition at two levels: Presupposition and content. The antipresupposition hypothesis predicts that they signal the opposite of familiarity, or uniqueness, namely, novelty, or non-uniqueness. At the level of descriptive content, they are pressured from two sides: definites expressing identity and another phrases expressing difference, and Gricean reasoning predicts that indefinites signal both difference and identity and are infelicitous when definites and another phrases are felicitous. However, occasionally a space opens between the and another, for a to fill. This (...)
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  36. Meaning and Implication: Other Thoughts.R. J. Kearney - 1972 - Analysis 33 (2):47 - 50.
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  37. The Conventional and the Analytic.Manuel Pérez Otero - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (2):239 - 274.
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  38. Scalar Implicatures in Language Acquisition: Some Evidence From Modern Greek.Anna Papafragou - unknown
    According to the standard analysis, quantifiers such as , connectives such as , modals such as and a host of other expressions form informational scales (Horn, 1972). In the canonical case, informational scales are defined on the basis of entailment (e.g. p and q asymmetrically entails p or q). Given the Gricean assumption that speakers try to say as much as they truthfully can that is relevant to the conversational exchange, the fact that an informationally weaker term was used in (...)
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  39. Exhaustivity in Questions with Non-Factives.Nathan Klinedinst - manuscript
    This paper is concerned with the conditions under which a person can be said to have told someone or predicted (the answer to a question like) ‘who came’.
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  40. [In: Syntax and Semantics, Vol. 3, Speech Acts, Ed. By Peter Cole and Jerry L. Morgan.H. Paul Grice - unknown
    [p. 45] I wish to represent a certain subclass of nonconventional implicatures, which I shall call CONVERSATIONAL implicatures, as being essentially connected with certain general features of discourse; so my next step is to try to say what these features are. The following may provide a first approximation to a general principle. Our talk exchanges do not normally consist of a succession of disconnected remarks, and would not be rational if they did. They are characteristically, to some degree at least, (...)
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  41. A Note on Projection and Local Implication.Mandy Simons - unknown
    The phenomenon we now know as projection was first observed by Frege in his brief remarks about presupposition in “Sense and Reference.” Frege observes there that the assertion that Kepler died in misery gives rise to the implication that the name Kepler has a referent; but that so too does the assertion that Kepler did not die in misery. Here we have the source of the observation that if p is a presupposition of S, then p is implied by (utterances (...)
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  42. Meaning and Analysis: New Essays on Grice.Klaus Petrus (ed.) - 2010 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Machine generated contents note: Acknowledgements -- Notes on Contributors -- Introduction--K.Petrus -- H. Paul Grice's Defense of the Analytic/Synthetic Distinction and Its Unintended Historical Consequences in Twentieth Century Analytical Philosophy--J.Atlas -- Paul Grice and the Philosopher of Ordinary Language--S.Chapman -- Some Aspects on Reasons and Retionality--J.Baker -- The Total Content of What a Speaker Means--A.Martinich -- Showing and Meaning--M.Green -- Communicative Acts - With and Without Understanding--C.Plunze -- Perillocutionary Acts. A Gricean Approach--K.Petrus -- William James + 40: Issues in the (...)
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  43. Ten More Misconceptions About Implicature.Kent Bach - unknown
    1. Sentences have implicatures. (11, 14, 19)** 2. Implicatures are inferences. (12. 14) 3. Implicatures can’t be entailments. 4. Gricean maxims apply only to implicatures. (16, 17) 5. For what is implicated to be figured out, what is said must be determined first. (12, 13) 6. All pragmatic implications are implicatures. 7. Implicatures are not part of the truth-conditional contents of utterances. (20) 8. If something is meant but unsaid, it must be implicated. (20) 9. Scalar “implicatures” are implicatures. (11) (...)
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  44. A Dual Aspect Account of Moral Language.Caj Strandberg - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (1):87-122.
    It is often observed in metaethics that moral language displays a certain duality in as much as it seems to concern both objective facts in the world and subjective attitudes that move to action. In this paper, I defend The Dual Aspect Account which is intended to capture this duality: A person’s utterance of a sentence according to which φing has a moral characteristic, such as “φing is wrong,” conveys two things: The sentence expresses, in virtue of its conventional meaning, (...)
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  45. On the Characterization of Alternatives.Danny Fox Roni Katzir - 2011 - Natural Language Semantics 19 (1):87-107.
    The computation of both Scalar Implicatures (SI) and Association with Focus (AF) is characterized with reference to sets of alternatives. However, it has generally been assumed that the relevant alternatives are determined in different ways for the two processes. Specifically, it has been assumed that the alternatives for SI – scalar alternatives – are computed by a special procedure specifically designed for implicatures, whereas the alternatives for AF – focus alternatives – are determined by the general theory of association with (...)
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  46. In Defense of the Grammatical Approach to Local Implicatures.Yael Sharvit & Jon Gajewski - 2012 - Natural Language Semantics 20 (1):31-57.
    The existence of “local implicatures” has been the topic of much recent debate. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to this debate by asking what we can learn from three puzzles, namely, the cancellation of such implicatures by or both, their behavior in the complement clauses of negative factive verbs such as sorry, and their behavior in root and embedded questions. Two basic approaches to local implicatures have been advanced: a fully pragmatic account in which local implicatures result (...)
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  47. Logic and Conversation.Herbert Paul Grice - 1967 - In Paul Grice (ed.), Studies in the Way of Words. Harvard University Press. pp. 41-58.
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  48. Utterer's Meaning Revisited.Andreas Kemmerling - 1986 - In Richard E. Grandy & Richard Warner (eds.), Philosophical Grounds of Rationality: Intentions, Categories, Ends. Oxford University Press. pp. 131--55.
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  49. On a Homework Problem of Larry Horn's.Francis Jeffry Pelletier - unknown
    Larry Horn is justifiably famous for his work on the semantics of the English conjunction or and both its relationship to the formal logic truth functions ∨ and @ (“inclusive” and “exclusive” disjunction respectively1) and its relationship to the ways people employ or in natural discourse. These interests have been present since his 1972 dissertation, where he argued for a “scalar implicature-based” account of many of these relationships as opposed to a presuppositional account. They have surfaced in his “Greek Grice” (...)
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  50. Impliciture Vs. Explicature: What's the Difference?Kent Bach - manuscript
    I am often asked to explain the difference between my notion of impliciture (Bach 1994) and the relevance theorists’ notion of explicature (Sperber and Wilson 1986; Carston 2002). Despite the differences between the theoretical frameworks within which they operate, the two notions seem very similar. Relevance theorists describe explicatures as “developments of logical forms,” whereas I think of implicitures as “expansions” or “completions” of semantic contents (depending on whether or not the sentence’s semantic content amounts to a proposition). That is (...)
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