Relevance Theory

Edited by Catherine Wearing (Wellesley College, Harvard University)
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  1. Is Context a Problem?Daniel Andler - 1992 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 93:279 - 296.
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  2. Semantically Cued Contextual Implicatures in Legal Texts.Sol Azuelos-Atias - 2010 - Journal of Pragmatics 42 (3):728-743.
    In this article I discuss one of the linguistic means which enables speakers to represent content in their utterances without expressing it explicitly. I will argue, in line with Wilson and Sperber, that the logical form of the argument encoded by an utterance (however fragmentarily or incompletely) is sufficient as a cue directing the hearers to the implicit content of the speaker's meaning. I will suggest that the logical form of the encoded argument enables the speaker to represent in the (...)
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  3. Words and Images in Argumentation.Axel Barceló Aspeitia - 2012 - Argumentation 26 (3):355-368.
    Abstract In this essay, I will argue that images can play a substantial role in argumentation: exploiting information from the context, they can contribute directly and substantially to the communication of the propositions that play the roles of premises and conclusion. Furthermore, they can achieve this directly, i.e. without the need of verbalization. I will ground this claim by presenting and analyzing some arguments where images are essential to the argumentation process. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-14 DOI 10.1007/s10503-011-9259-y Authors (...)
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  4. A Pragmatic Defense of Millianism.Arvid Båve - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 138 (2):271 - 289.
    A new kind of defense of the Millian theory of names is given, which explains intuitive counter-examples as depending on pragmatic effects of the relevant sentences, by direct application of Grice’s and Sperber and Wilson’s Relevance Theory and uncontroversial assumptions. I begin by arguing that synonyms are always intersubstitutable, despite Mates’ considerations, and then apply the method to names. Then, a fairly large sample of cases concerning names are dealt with in related ways. It is argued that the method, as (...)
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  5. Review of “Poetic Effects: A Relevance Theory Perspective” by Adrian Pilkington. [REVIEW]Motti Benari - 2004 - Pragmatics and Cognitionpragmatics and Cognition 12 (1):181-189.
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  6. Voice and Expressivity in Free Indirect Thought Representations: Imitation and Representation.Diane Blakemore - 2013 - Mind and Language 28 (5):579-605.
    This article addresses issues in the philosophy of fiction from the perspective of a relevance theoretic approach to communication: first, how should we understand the notion of ‘voice’ as it is used in the analysis of free indirect style narratives; and, second, in what sense can the person responsible for free indirect representations of fictional characters' thoughts be regarded as a communicator? The background to these questions is the debate about the roles of pretence and attribution in free indirect style. (...)
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  7. Restatement and Exemplification: A Relevance Theoretic Reassessment of Elaboration.Diane Blakemore - 1997 - Pragmatics and Cognition 5 (1):1-19.
    According to a number of researchers in linguistics and artificial intelligence, the key to the meanings of expressions such as in other words, that is, and for example/for instance lies in the particular coherence relations they express in discourse. It is argued that these relations are sub-types of the relation of Elaboration and hence are ideational or semantic relations which express some experience of the world about us and within our imagination. In this paper I argue that the notion of (...)
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  8. Denial and Contrast: A Relevance Theoretic Analysis of But. [REVIEW]Diane Blakemore - 1989 - Linguistics and Philosophy 12 (1):15 - 37.
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  9. Pragmatics.Noel Burton-Roberts (ed.) - 2007 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
    This contribution to Palgrave's 'Advances' series addresses a wide range of issues that have arisen in post-Gricean pragmatic theory, in chapters by distinguished authors. Among the specific topics covered are scalar implicatures, lexical semantics and pragmatics, indexicality, procedural meaning, the semantics and pragmatics of negation. The volume includes both defences and critiques of Relevance Theory and of Neo-Gricean Pragmatics.
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  10. Relevance Theory and Shared Content.Herman Cappelen & Ernie Lepore - 2007 - In Noel Burton-Roberts (ed.), Pragmatics. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 115--135.
    Speakers share content when they make the same assertion (claim, conjecture, proposal, etc). They also share content when they propose (entertain, discuss, etc.) the same hypothesis, theory, and thought. And again when they evaluate whether what each says (thinks, claims, suggests, etc.) is true, false, interesting, obscene, original or offensive. Content sharing, so understood, is the very foundation of communication. Relevance Theory (RT), however, implies that content sharing is impossible; or at least, we will argue as much in what follows.
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  11. Explicature and Semantics.Robyn Carston - unknown
    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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  12. Linguistic Communication and the Semantics/Pragmatics Distinction.Robyn Carston - 2008 - 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 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 a (...)
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  13. Relevance Theory and the Saying/Implicating Distinction.Robyn Carston - 2004 - In . pp. 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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  14. .Robyn Carston - 2004
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  15. Thoughts and Utterances: The Pragmatics of Explicit Communication.Robyn Carston - 2002
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  16. Linguistic Meaning, Communicated Meaning and Cognitive Pragmatics.Robyn Carston - 2002 - 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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  17. The Semantics/Pragmatics Distinction: A View From Relevance Theory.Robyn Carston - 1999 - In Ken Turner (ed.), The Semantics/Pragmatics Interface From Different Points of View. Elsevier. pp. 85125.
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  18. Relevance Theory - New Directions and Developments.Robyn Carston & George Powell - 2006 - In Ernest Lepore & Barry Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press. pp. 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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  19. Processing Narrative Coherence: Towards a Top-Down Model of Discourse.Erica Cosentino, Ines Adornetti & Francesco Ferretti - 2013 - Open Access Series in Informatics (OASICS) 32:61-75.
    Models of discourse and narration elaborated within the classical compositional framework have been characterized as bottom-up models, according to which discourse analysis proceeds incrementally, from phrase and sentence local meaning to discourse global meaning. In this paper we will argue against these models. Assuming as a case study the issue of discourse coherence, we suggest that the assessment of coherence is a top-down process, in which the construction of a situational interpretation at the global meaning level guides local meaning analysis. (...)
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  20. Utterance Interpretation and Cognitive Models.Mikhail De Brabanter, Kissine, Philippe (ed.) - 2009 - Emerald.
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  21. Uttering Sentences Made Up of Words and Gestures.Philippe De Brabanter - 2007 - In E. Romero & B. Soria (eds.), Explicit Communication: Robyn Carston's Pragmatics.
    Human communication is multi-modal. It is an empirical fact that many of our acts of communication exploit a variety of means to make our communicative intentions recognisable. Scholars readily distinguish between verbal and non-verbal means of communication, and very often they deal with them separately. So it is that a great number of semanticists and pragmaticists give verbal communication preferential treatment. The non-verbal aspects of an act of communication are treated as if they were not underlain by communicative intentions. They (...)
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  22. In Context: Giving Contextualization its Rightful Place in the Study of Argumentation.Frans Eemeren - 2011 - Argumentation 25 (2):141-161.
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  23. Cognitive Effort and Effects in Metaphor Comprehension: Relevance Theory and Psycholinguistics.Raymond W. Gibbs Jr & Markus Tendahl - 2006 - Mind and Language 21 (3):379–403.
    This paper explores the trade-off between cognitive effort and cognitive effects during immediate metaphor comprehension. We specifically evaluate the fundamental claim of relevance theory that metaphor understanding, like all utterance interpretation, is constrained by the presumption of optimal relevance (Sperber and Wilson, 1995, p. 270): the ostensive stimulus is relevant enough for it to be worth the addressee's effort to process it, and the ostensive stimulus is the most relevant one compatible with the communicator's abilities and preferences. One important implication (...)
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  24. Cognitive Effort and Effects in Metaphor Comprehension: Relevance Theory and Psycholinguistics.Raymond W. Gibbs & Markus Tendahl - 2006 - Mind Language 21 (3):379-403.
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  25. Relevance: Communication and Cognition.Daniel Hirst - 1989 - Mind and Language 4 (1-2):138-146.
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  26. Indicative Mood, Assertoric Force and Relevance.Mark Jary - 2004 - Philosophica 4:2.
  27. Content Similarity and Communicative Success.Georg Kjoll - 2010 - International Review of Pragmatics 2 (1):21-45.
    In this paper, I discuss the relevance theoretic view of shared content and ask how one can use the theory to understand in what situations communication is successful and when it’s not. The paper is meant as a case study in the philosophy of linguistics, in which I aim to draw some conclusions based on a particular debate between two very influential groups of theorists. I look at Cappelen and Lepore’s (2007) critique of Sperber and Wilson (1995) and claim that, (...)
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  28. More Than Words.Elisabetta Lalumera - 2009 - In Kissine De Brabanter (ed.), Utterance Interpretation and Cognitive Models. Emerald.
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  29. Relevance: Communication and Cognition.Alan M. Leslie - 1989 - Mind and Language 4 (1-2):147-150.
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  30. Translation and Relevance: Cognition and Context.Kirsten Malmkjaer - 1992 - Mind and Language 7 (3):298-309.
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  31. Does Legal Interpretation Need Paul Grice?Marcin Matczak - 2016 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 10 (1):67-87.
    By significantly diminishing the role intentions play in communication, in Imagination and Convention Lepore and Stone attempt to overthrow the Gricean paradigm which prevails in the philosophy of language. The approach they propose is attractive to theorists of legal interpretations for many reasons. Primary among these is that the more general dispute in the philosophy of language between Griceans and non-Griceans mirrors the dispute between intentionalists and non-intentionalists in legal interpretation. The ideas proposed in Imagination and Convention naturally support the (...)
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  32. What is Said by a Metaphor: The Role of Salience and Conventionality.Fernando Martinez-Manrique & Agustin Vicente - 2013 - Pragmatics and Cognition 21 (2):304-328.
    Contextualist theorists have recently defended the views (a) that metaphor-processing can be treated on a par with other meaning changes, such as narrowing or transfer, and (b) that metaphorical contents enter into “what is said” by an utterance. We do not dispute claim (a) but consider that claim (b) is problematic. Contextualist theorists seem to leave in the hands of context the explanation about why it is that some meaning changes are directly processed, and thus plausibly form part of “what (...)
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  33. Schemata and Associative Processes in Pragmatics.Marco Mazzone - 2011 - Journal of Pragmatics 43 (8):2148-2159.
    The notion of schema has been given a major role by Recanati within his conception of primary pragmatic processes, conceived as a type of associative process. I intend to show that Recanati’s considerations on schemata may challenge the relevance theorist’s argument against associative explanations in pragmatics, and support an argument in favor of associative (versus inferential) explanations. More generally, associative relations can be shown to be schematic, that is, they have enough structure to license inferential effects without any appeal to (...)
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  34. Aboutness, Critical Notice. [REVIEW]Naomi Osorio-Kupferblum - 2016 - Analysis 76 (4):528-546.
    This Critical Notice is about aboutness in logic and language. In a first part, I discuss the origin of the issue and the philosophical background to Yablo's book Aboutness (PUP 2014), which is itself the subject of the second and main part of my paper.
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  35. Making the Metaphor Move: The Problem of Differentiating Figurative and Literal Language.Mark Phelan - manuscript
    Sally and Sid have worked together for a while, and Sally knows Sid to be a hard worker. She might make this point about him by saying, “Sid is a hard worker.” Or, she might make it by saying, “Sid is a Sherman tank.” We all recognize that there is some distinction between the first assertion, in which Sally is speaking literally, and the second, in which she is speaking figuratively. This is a distinction that any theory of figurative language (...)
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  36. Pretence and Echo: Towards an Integrated Account of Verbal Irony.Mihaela Popa-Wyatt - 2014 - International Review of Pragmatics 6 (1):127–168.
    Two rival accounts of irony claim, respectively, that pretence and echo are independently sufficient to explain central cases. After highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of these accounts, I argue that an account in which both pretence and echo play an essential role better explains these cases and serves to explain peripheral cases as well. I distinguish between “weak” and “strong” hybrid theories, and advocate an “integrated strong hybrid” account in which elements of both pretence and echo are seen as complementary (...)
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  37. Is Semantics Really Psychologically Real?Mihaela Popa-Wyatt - 2009 - In J. Larrazabal & L. Zubeldia (eds.), Meaning, Content and Argument. Proceedings of the ILCLI International Workshop on Semantics, Pragmatics, and Rhetoric. University of the Basque Country Press.. pp. 497-514.
    The starting point for this paper is a critical discussion of claims of psychological reality articulated within Borg’s (forth.) minimal semantics and Carpintero’s (2007) character*-semantics. It has been proposed, for independent reasons, that their respective accounts can accommodate, or at least avoid the challenge from psychological evidence. I outline their respective motivations, suggesting various shortcomings in their efforts of preserving the virtues of an uncontaminated semantics in the face of psychological objection (I-II), and try to make the case that, at (...)
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  38. Robyn Carston and George Powell.George Powell - 2006 - In Barry C. Smith (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press. pp. 341.
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  39. Pragmatics and Logical Form.François Recanati - 2007 - In Esther Romero & Belen Soria (eds.), Explicit Communication: Robyn Carston's Pragmatics. Palgrave. pp. 25-41.
    Robyn Carston and I share a general methodological position which I call ‘Truth-Conditional Pragmatics' (TCP). TCP is the view that the effects of context on truth-conditional content need not be traceable to the linguistic material in the uttered sentence. Some effects of context on truth-conditional content are due to the linguistic material (e.g. to context-sensitive words or morphemes which trigger the search for contextual values), but others result from ‘free' pragmatic processes. Free pragmatic processes take place not because the linguistic (...)
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  40. Reply to Carston.François Recanati - unknown
    Response to Carston's paper, 'How Many Pragmatic Systems Are There'?
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  41. Primary Pragmatic Processes.Francois Recanati - 1998 - In Asa Kasher (ed.), Pragmatics: Critical Concepts. Routledge. pp. 512-531.
  42. Relevance as an Explanation of Communication.Lawrence D. Roberts - 1991 - Linguistics and Philosophy 14 (4):453 - 472.
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  43. Explicit Communication: Robyn Carston's Pragmatics.E. Romero & B. Soria (eds.) - 2007
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  44. Phrasal Pragmatics in Carston's Programme.Esther Romero & B. Soria - manuscript
    In B. Soria and E. Romero, Explicit Communication: Essays on Robyn Carston’s Pragmatics, Palgrave Studies in Pragmatics, Language and Cognition. London.
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  45. The Principle of Relevance in the Light of Cooperation and Trust: Discussing Sperber and Wilson’s Theory.Cristián Santibañez - 2012 - Pragmatics and Cognitionpragmatics and Cognition 20 (3):483-504.
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  46. What is Said and Psychological Reality; Grice's Project and Relevance Theorists' Criticisms.Jennifer M. Saul - 2002 - Linguistics and Philosophy 25 (3):347-372.
  47. Cooperation, Cognition and Communication.Glendon Schubert - 1978 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1 (4):597.
  48. Irony, Dissociation and the Self.David Simpson - 2008 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 15 (6):119-135.
    Within the philosophy of language, irony is not a terribly popular topic. For the most part its status is that of a peripheral and derivative oddity, and when it has been discussed, it has tended to be as an aside to a discussion of its more popular purported cousin, metaphor. My major goal here is to help drag irony towards the centre of attention, in two ways. First, in the course of sorting through the account of verbal irony I want (...)
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  49. Motivating the Relevance Approach to Conditionals.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - 2016 - Mind & Language 31 (5):555–579.
    The aim is to theoretically motivate a relevance approach to (indicative) conditionals in a comparative discussion of the main alternatives. In particular, it will be argued that a relevance approach to conditionals is better motivated than the suppositional theory currently enjoying wide endorsement. In the course of this discussion, an argument will be presented of why failures of the epistemic relevance of the antecedent for the consequent should be counted as genuine semantic defects (as opposed to be relegated to pragmatics). (...)
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  50. Explicit Communication: Essays on Robyn Carston’s Pragmatics.Belen Soria & Esther Romero (eds.) - 2010 - Palgrave McMillan.
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