About this topic
Summary The distinction between semantics and pragmatics is a central topic in philosophy of language, as well as in certain areas of linguistics and cognitive science. According to one way of understanding the distinction, semantics is the study of how sentences of a language - or some suitable level of representation, such as logical forms - compositionally determine truth conditions, while pragmatics is the study of inferences that hearers draw on the basis of interpreting truth-conditional meaning. The former is sometimes referred to as “what is said,” the latter as “what is meant." On this way of thinking of the demarcation,  semantics studies the way in which truth conditions are associated with sentences in a systematic way depending on the lexical meanings of their parts and their mode of combination. By contrast, pragmatics is the study of how semantic meaning, the mental states of the speaker and hearers, and other contextual features underpin what is communicated by utterances. For example, on this conception, the semantic study of a sentence like “Anna drank two beers and drove home” would be the study of the compositional determination of the truth conditions that the sentence is true if and only if it is true that Anna drank two beers and it is true that Anna drove home. On the other hand, an utterance of the sentence, in most situations, communicates that Anna drove home after drinking the two beers. This latter fact would be studied by pragmatics.  The controversy over the distinction between semantics and pragmatics arises, in part, from various arguments to the effect that pragmatic processes are involved in determining truth-conditional meaning, or what is said. Hence, proponents of the view often called “Contextualism,” in this area, typically argue that there is no clear distinction between what is said and what is meant, in that there is no way of isolating an aspect of the meaning of a sentence that is determined without influence from contextual factors such as the mental states of the participants. Some Contextualist believe that theorizing about what is communicated by utterances, in context, is nevertheless possible although it must be a thoroughly pragmatic study. Others are more skeptic and dismiss any attempt to theorize systematically about natural language meaning.  One kind of opposition to Contextualism, of this kind, comes from theories, sometimes called “Indexicalist,” according to which even contextual effects on what is said, or truth-conditional meaning, is determined compositionally, in context, that is by linguistic material at the relevant level of representation. On the other hand, so-called “Minimalist" opponents of Contextualism hold that compositional processes invariably determine a fully fledged truth-conditional level of meaning, which is nevertheless often not identical to what is communicated in context.  Debate in this area ranges from general issues concerning the nature of communication and linguistic representation to questions about specific expressions and constructions in natural languages. The debate has implications for how to understand the nature of languages, what it means to know a language, as well as for many other issues concerning speech acts, mental states, and other topics.
Key works While discussion of the relation between semantics and pragmatics have a long history (see, e.g., Morris 1938, Montague 1968), the origin of the contemporary debate is Grice 1989. Key Contextualist texts are Searle 1978, Travis 1985, Sperber & Wilson 1995, Carston 2002, Recanati 2002. The opposition to Contextualism was strengthened in the 2000’s by, in particular, Stanley 2000Borg 2004, and Cappelen & Lepore 2005. Some useful collections of papers on this topic are Szabo 2005, Preyer & Peter 2007.
Introductions Some useful introductions and overviews of this topic are Carston 1999, Stanley 2005, and the introduction to Szabo 2005.
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448 found
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  1. An Existing Sculps Human Modelling- The Deviations in Dialect of Indian Standard English From the British Colonial Period to Present Times. [REVIEW]Syeda Tasfia Imam, Md Majidul Haque Bhuiyan & Kamrunnahar Rakhi - manuscript
    English is spoken all around the world as it is chosen as the second language to speak within most of the countries. However, from the ancient history of the British to come into this South Asian region, the entrance of English as a speaking language happened. Though, after some centuries, the British went out of the mainland of India, it remains the second-largest spoken language there. Here comes another fact; many words in Standard English changed its form. So, this made (...)
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  2. "Saying 'Thank You!' and Expressing Gratitude: A Response to Schwartz".Indrek Reiland - manuscript
    This is a short response piece to Jeremy Schwartz's "Saying 'Thank You' and Meaning It", published in Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 2020, 98, pp. 718-731. -/- Schwartz argues against the received view that 'Thank You! is for expressing gratitude, claiming instead that it is for expressing one's judgment that gratitude is appropriate or fitting. I argue against the judgment view while defending the received one. -/- I mainly consider the objection that the judgment view is implausible since it makes ‘Thank (...)
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  3. ?!.Michael Schmitz - manuscript
    Frege argued for the force-content distinction not only by appealing to the logical and fictional contexts which are most closely associated with the “Frege point", but also based on the fact that an affirmative answer to a yes-no question constitutes an assertion. Supposedly this is only intelligible if the question contains a forceless thought or proposition which an affirmative answer then asserts. Against this I argue that this fact more readily supports the view that questions operate on assertions and other (...)
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  4. Assertability and Interpretability..Stephen Lester Thompson - manuscript
  5. If Counterfactuals Were Neg-Raisers, Conditional Excluded Middle Wouldn’T Be Valid.Patrick Todd & Brian Rabern - manuscript
    The principle of Conditional Excluded Middle has been a matter of longstanding controversy in both semantics and metaphysics. According to this principle, we are, inter alia, committed to claims like the following: If the coin had been flipped, it would have landed heads, or if the coin had been flipped, it would not have landed heads. In favour of the principle, theorists have appealed, primarily, to linguistic data such as that we tend to hear ¬(A > B) as equivalent to (...)
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  6. An Inferential Impasse in the Theory of Implicatures.Savas L. Tsohatzidis - manuscript
  7. A Remark on the Bank Cases.Wolfgang Barz - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-11.
    Since their formulation by Keith DeRose, the so-called bank cases have played a major role in the discussion about whether knowledge depends on practical factors. According to the proponents of pragmatic encroachment, the proper conclusion to be drawn from the bank cases and similar examples is that knowledge of a proposition p does not supervene on one’s evidence for or against p. In my view, this conclusion is ill-founded. The reason is that the bank cases and similar examples suffer from (...)
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  8. Force and Choice.Sam Carter - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-38.
    Some utterances of imperative clauses have directive force—they impose obligations. Others have permissive force—they extend permissions. The dominant view is that this difference in force is not accompanied by a difference in semantic content. Drawing on data involving free choice items in imperatives, I argue that the dominant view is incorrect.
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  9. Sly Pete in Dynamic Semantics.Simon Goldstein - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophical Logic:1-17.
    In 'Sly Pete' or 'standoff' cases, reasonable speakers accept incompatible conditionals, and communicate them successfully to a trusting hearer. This paper uses the framework of dynamic semantics to offer a new model of the conversational dynamics at play in standoffs, and to articulate several puzzles posed by such cases. The paper resolves these puzzles by embracing a dynamic semantics for conditionals, according to which indicative conditionals require that their antecedents are possible in their local context, and update this body of (...)
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  10. Contextology.Simon Goldstein & Cameron Domenico Kirk-Giannini - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-31.
    'Contextology' is the science of the dynamics of the conversational context. Contextology formulates laws governing how the shared information states of interlocutors evolve in response to assertion. More precisely, the contextologist attempts to construct a function which, when provided with just a conversation’s pre-update context and the content of an assertion, delivers that conversation’s post-update context. Most contextologists have assumed that the function governing the evolution of the context is simple: the post-update context is just the pre-update context intersected with (...)
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  11. Semantics Without Semantic Content.Daniel W. Harris - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    I argue that semantics is the study of the proprietary database of a centrally inaccessible and informationally encapsulated input–output system. This system’s role is to encode and decode partial and defeasible evidence of what speakers are saying. Since information about nonlinguistic context is therefore outside the purview of semantic processing, a sentence’s semantic value is not its content but a partial and defeasible constraint on what it can be used to say. I show how to translate this thesis into a (...)
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  12. Meaning and Racial Slurs: Derogatory Epithets and the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface.Joseph A. Hedger - forthcoming - Language and Communication.
    The semantics of racial slurs has recently become a locus of debate amongst philosophers. While everyone agrees that slurs are offensive, there is disagreement about the linguistic mechanism responsible for this offensiveness. This paper places the debate about racial slurs into the context of a larger issue concerning the interface between semantics and pragmatics, and argues that even on minimalist assumptions, the offensiveness of slur words is more plausibly due to their semantic content rather than any pragmatic mechanism. Finally, I (...)
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  13. On the Nature of the Lexicon: The Status of Rich Lexical Meanings.Lotte Hogeweg & Agustin Vicente - forthcoming - Journal of Linguistics.
    The main goal of this paper is to show that there are many phenomena that pertain to the construction of truth-conditional compounds that follow characteristic patterns, and whose explanation requires appealing to knowledge structures organized in specific ways. We review a number of phenomena, ranging from non-homogenous modification and privative modification to polysemy and co-predication that indicate that knowledge structures do play a role in obtaining truth-conditions. After that, we show that several extant accounts that invoke rich lexical meanings to (...)
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  14. Philosophy of Language: The Key Thinkers.B. Lee (ed.) - forthcoming - Continuum.
  15. What’s Positive and Negative About Generics: A Constrained Indexical Approach.Junhyo Lee & Anthony Nguyen - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-23.
    Nguyen (2020) introduced the positive data and argued that only his pragmatic account and Sterken’s (2015a) indexical account can accommodate it. In this paper, we will present new data – what we call the negative data – and argue that there is no theory on the market that is compatible with both the positive data and the negative data. We will draw two generalizations from them and develop a novel version of the indexical account that captures both the positive data (...)
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  16. Lies, Common Ground and Performative Utterances.Neri Marsili - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-12.
    In a recent book (Lying and insincerity, Oxford University Press, 2018), Andreas Stokke argues that one lies iff one says something one believes to be false, thereby proposing that it becomes common ground. This paper shows that Stokke’s proposal is unable to draw the right distinctions about insincere performative utterances. The objection also has repercussions on theories of assertion, because it poses a novel challenge to any attempt to define assertion as a proposal to update the common ground.
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  17. Saying, Commitment, and the Lying – Misleading Distinction.Neri Marsili & Guido Löhr - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
  18. Brandom on Communication.Kevin Scharp - forthcoming - In Jason Hannon & Robert Rutland (eds.), Philosophical Profiles in the Theory of Communication. McGill-Queen's University Press.
    This chapter covers some of Robert Brandom’s contributions to our understanding of communication. Topics discussed include his theory of discursive practice, his inferential semantics, his scorekeeping pragmatics, his views on the “transmission” model of communication, and his semantic perspectivism. I compare his scorekeeping pragmatic theory to other kinds of pragmatic theories, and I argue that his semantic perspectivism can be understood as a global indexical relativism.
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  19. Formal Properties of "Now" Revisited.Una Stojnic & Daniel Altshuler - forthcoming - Semantics and Pragmatics.
    The traditional view is that 'now’ is a pure indexical, denoting the utterance time. Yet, despite its initial appeal, the view has faced criticism. A range of data reveal 'now’ allows for discourse-bound (i.e., anaphoric) uses, and can occur felicitously with the past tense. The reaction to this has typically been to treat ‘now’ as akin to a true demonstrative, selecting the prominent time supplied by the non-linguistic context or prior discourse. We argue this is doubly mistaken. The first mistake (...)
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  20. Exploring Linguistic Liability.Emma Borg & Patrick Joseph Connolly - 2022 - In Ernest Lepore & David Sosa (eds.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Language Volume 2. Oxford University Press.
    There is a well-established social practice whereby we hold one another responsible for the things that we say. Speakers are held liable for the truth of the contents they express and they can be sanctioned and/or held to be unreliable or devious if it turns out what they say is false. In this paper chapter we argue that a better understanding of this fundamental socio-linguistic practice – of ascribing what we will term (following Borg (2019)) ‘linguistic liability’ – helps to (...)
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  21. Ignoring Qualifications as a Pragmatic Fallacy: Enrichments and Their Use for Manipulating Commitments.Fabrizio Macagno - 2022 - Langages 1 (13).
    The fallacy of ignoring qualifications, or secundum quid et simpliciter, is a deceptive strategy that is pervasive in argumentative dialogues, discourses, and discussions. It consists in misrepresenting an utterance so that its meaning is broadened, narrowed, or simply modified to pursue different goals, such as drawing a specific conclusion, attacking the interlocutor, or generating humorous reactions. The “secundum quid” was described by Aristotle as an interpretative manipulative strategy, based on the contrast between the “proper” sense of a statement and its (...)
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  22. Force, Content, and the Unity of the Proposition.Gabriele M. Mras & Michael Schmitz (eds.) - 2022 - New York: Routledge.
    This volume advances discussions between critics and defenders of the force-content distinction and opens new ways of thinking about force and speech acts in relation to the unity problem. -/- The force-content dichotomy has shaped the philosophy of language and mind since the time of Frege and Russell. Isn’t it obvious that, for example, the clauses of a conditional are not asserted and must therefore be propositions and propositions the forceless contents of forceful acts? But, others have recently asked in (...)
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  23. Presuppositional Exhaustification.Itai Bassi, Guillermo Del Pinal & Uli Sauerland - 2021 - Semantics and Pragmatics 14:1-42.
    Grammatical theories of Scalar Implicatures make use of an exhaustivity operator exh, which asserts the conjunction of the prejacent with the negation of excludable alternatives. We present a new Grammatical theory of Scalar Implicatures according to which exh is replaced with pex, an operator that contributes its prejacent as asserted content, but the negation of scalar alternatives at a non-at-issue level of meaning. We show that by treating this non-at-issue level as a presupposition, this theory resolves a number of empirical (...)
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  24. Knowledge, Hope, and Fallibilism.Matthew A. Benton - 2021 - Synthese 198:1673-1689.
    Hope, in its propositional construction "I hope that p," is compatible with a stated chance for the speaker that not-p. On fallibilist construals of knowledge, knowledge is compatible with a chance of being wrong, such that one can know that p even though there is an epistemic chance for one that not-p. But self-ascriptions of propositional hope that p seem to be incompatible, in some sense, with self-ascriptions of knowing whether p. Data from conjoining hope self-ascription with outright assertions, with (...)
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  25. The Dynamics of Loose Talk.Sam Carter - 2021 - Noûs 55 (1):171-198.
    In non‐literal uses of language, the content an utterance communicates differs from its literal truth conditions. Loose talk is one example of non‐literal language use (amongst many others). For example, what a loose utterance of (1) communicates differs from what it literally expresses: (1) Lena arrived at 9 o'clock. Loose talk is interesting (or so I will argue). It has certain distinctive features which raise important questions about the connection between literal and non‐literal language use. This paper aims to (i.) (...)
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  26. Oddness, Modularity, and Exhaustification.Guillermo Del Pinal - 2021 - Natural Language Semantics 29 (1):115-158.
    According to the `grammatical account', scalar implicatures are triggered by a covert exhaustification operator present in logical form. This account covers considerable empirical ground, but there is a peculiar pattern that resists treatment given its usual implementation. The pattern centers on odd assertions like #"Most lions are mammals" and #"Some Italians come from a beautiful country", which seem to trigger implicatures in contexts where the enriched readings conflict with information in the common ground. Magri (2009, 2011) argues that, to account (...)
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  27. How to Have a Metalinguistic Dispute.Poppy Mankowitz - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):5603-5622.
    There has been recent interest in the idea that speakers who appear to be having a verbal dispute may in fact be engaged in a metalinguistic negotiation: they are communicating information about how they believe an expression should be used. For example, individuals involved in a dispute about whether a racehorse is an athlete might be communicating their diverging views about how ‘athlete’ should be used. While many have argued that metalinguistic negotiation is a pervasive feature of philosophical and everyday (...)
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  28. Pejoratives & Oughts.Teresa Marques - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (3):1109-1125.
    Chris Hom argued that slurs and pejoratives semantically express complex negative prescriptive properties, which are determined in virtue of standing in external causal relations to social ideologies and practices. He called this view Combinatorial Externalism. Additionally, he argued that Combinatorial Externalism entailed that slurs and pejoratives have null extensions. In this paper, I raise an objection that has not been raised in the literature so far. I argue that semantic theories like Hom’s are forced to choose between two alternatives: either (...)
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  29. Assertion: A (Partly) Social Speech Act.Neri Marsili & Mitchell Green - 2021 - Journal of Pragmatics 181 (August 2021):17-28.
    In a series of articles (Pagin, 2004, 2009), Peter Pagin has argued that assertion is not a social speech act, introducing a method (which we baptize ‘the P-test’) designed to refute any account that defines assertion in terms of its social effects. This paper contends that Pagin's method fails to rebut the thesis that assertion is social. We show that the P-test is both unreliable (because it overgenerates counterexamples) and counterproductive (because it ultimately provides evidence in favor of some social (...)
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  30. And Therefore.Bram Vaassen & Alex Sandgren - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    This article focuses on `therefore' constructions such as ‘The switch is on, and therefore the lights are on’. We submit that the contribution of `therefore’ is to express a dependence as part of the core content of these constructions, rather than being conveyed by conventional implicature (Grice 1975, Potts 2005, Neta 2013) or a triggered presupposition (Pavese 2017, forthcoming, Stokke 2017). We argue that the standard objections to this view can be answered by relying on the general projection hypothesis defended (...)
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  31. Reviving the Performative Hypothesis?Peter van Elswyk - 2021 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 10 (4):240-248.
    A traditional problem with the performative hypothesis is that it cannot assign proper truth-conditions to a declarative sentence. This paper shows that the problem is solved by adopting a multidimensional semantics on which sentences have more than just truth-conditions. This is good news for those who want to at least partially revive the hypothesis. The solution also brings into focus a lesson about what issues to consider when drawing the semantics/pragmatics boundary.
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  32. Representing Knowledge.Peter van Elswyk - 2021 - The Philosophical Review 130 (1):97-143.
    A speaker's use of a declarative sentence in a context has two effects: it expresses a proposition and represents the speaker as knowing that proposition. This essay is about how to explain the second effect. The standard explanation is act-based. A speaker is represented as knowing because their use of the declarative in a context tokens the act-type of assertion and assertions represent knowledge in what's asserted. I propose a semantic explanation on which declaratives covertly host a "know"-parenthetical. A speaker (...)
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  33. The Lying-Misleading Distinction: A Commitment-Based Approach.Emanuel Viebahn - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (6):289-319.
    The distinction between lying and mere misleading is commonly tied to the distinction between saying and conversationally implicating. Many definitions of lying are based on the idea that liars say something they believe to be false, while misleaders put forward a believed-false conversational implicature. The aim of this paper is to motivate, spell out, and defend an alternative approach, on which lying and misleading differ in terms of commitment: liars, but not misleaders, commit themselves to something they believe to be (...)
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  34. J.L. Austin ve I. Kant’ta Kategorik Önermeler ve Mental Nedensellik Problemleri.Atilla Akalın - 2020 - Sosyal, Beşeri Ve İdari Bilimler Dergisi 3 (8):624-631.
    One of the central figures of philosophy of language- John Langshaw Austin, attributes principles of causation to the mere pragmatic language. Conversely, Kant tried to construct a “free human act” which is independent from any physical determination except its innate motivations via his well-known the phenomenal / noumenal distinction. That kind of Kantian metaphysical ground which addresses to the noumenal field, he obviously tries to establish this behavioral causation again by denying Austinian style pragmatic propositions or illocutionary acts. I claimed (...)
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  35. Philosophical Implications of Morris’ Semiotic Theory.Milos Bogdanovic - 2020 - Filozofija I Društvo 31 (1):108-125.
    The subject of this paper is Charles Morris’ semiotic theory that has as one of its major projects the unification of all sciences of signs. However, since the above project has proven to be unsuccessful, we will try to examine here the reasons that led to this. Accordingly, we will argue that to transcend the particularities of individual disciplines that he wanted to unify, Morris had to make certain ontological assumptions, instead of theoretical and methodological ones, that they could share. (...)
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  36. Compositionality in Truth Conditional Pragmatics.Adrian Briciu - 2020 - In Tadeusz Ciecierski & Pawel Grabarczyk (eds.), The Architecture of Context and Context-Sensitivity. New York: Springer. pp. 205-226.
    In the past decade various linguists and philosophers (e.g. Pagin, Pelletier, Recanati, Westerståhl, Lasersohn) have proposed a weakening of the standard interpretation of compositionality for propositional content. Their move is motivated by the desire to accommodate radical forms of context sensitivity within a systematic account of natural languages. In this paper I argue against weakening compositionality in the way proposed by them. I argue that weak compositionality fails to provide some of the expected benefits of compositionality. First, weak compositionality fails (...)
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  37. Ineffability: The Very Concept.Sebastian Gäb - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (5):1-12.
    In this paper, I analyze the concept of ineffability: what does it mean to say that something cannot be said? I begin by distinguishing ineffability from paradox: if something cannot be said truly or without contradiction, this is not an instance of ineffability. Next, I distinguish two different meanings of ‘saying something’ which result from a fundamental ambiguity in the term ‘language’, viz. language as a system of symbols and language as a medium of communication. Accordingly, ‘ineffability’ is ambiguous, too, (...)
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  38. Davidson’s Wittgenstein.Ali Hossein Khani - 2020 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 8 (5):1-26.
    Although the later Wittgenstein appears as one of the most influential figures in Davidson’s later works on meaning, it is not, for the most part, clear how Davidson interprets and employs Wittgenstein’s ideas. In this paper, I will argue that Davidson’s later works on meaning can be seen as mainly a manifestation of his attempt to accommodate the later Wittgenstein’s basic ideas about meaning and understanding, especially the requirement of drawing the seems right/is right distinction and the way this requirement (...)
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  39. How Can "I" Refer to Me? Banishing Monsters at the Source.David Kashtan - 2020 - In Tadeusz Ciecierski & Pawel Grabarczyk (eds.), The Architecture of Context Sensitivity. Springer.
    Kaplan’s influential (1989) makes a connection between the mode of reference of indexical expressions and the impossibility of a certain sentential operators, which he calls monsters. The impossibility of monsters has recently come under attack from several quarters, both theoretical and empirical. In this paper I consider monsters from a different perspective. I motivate the prohibition on monsters independently of intensional notions altogether, and understand it not as an empirical hypothesis, but as an adequacy criterion on formal systems intended to (...)
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  40. Quasi Indexicals.Justin Khoo - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (1):26-53.
    I argue that not all context dependent expressions are alike. Pure (or ordinary) indexicals behave more or less as Kaplan thought. But quasi indexicals behave in some ways like indexicals and in other ways not like indexicals. A quasi indexical sentence φ allows for cases in which one party utters φ and the other its negation, and neither party’s claim has to be false. In this sense, quasi indexicals are like pure indexicals (think: “I am a doctor”/“I am not a (...)
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  41. How Can Metaphors Communicate Arguments?Fabrizio Macagno - 2020 - Intercultural Pragmatics 3 (17):335-363.
    Metaphors are considered as instruments crucial for persuasion. However, while their emotive, communicative and persuasive effects are the focus of different studies and discussions, the core of their persuasive function, namely their argumentative dimension, is almost neglected. This paper addresses the problem of explaining how metaphors can communicate arguments, and how it is possible to reconstruct and justify them. To this purpose, a distinction is drawn between the arguments that are communicated metaphorically and reconstructed “top down,” namely based on relevance (...)
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  42. Expressions in Focus.Poppy Mankowitz - 2020 - Semantics and Pragmatics 13 (13).
    It is commonly claimed that, when a constituent is the focus of an occurrence of a sentence, certain alternatives to that constituent are relevant to our understanding of the sentence. Normally these are alternatives to the denotation of the focused constituent. However, Krifka (2007) briefly discusses the notion of expression focus, where the alternatives are linguistic items. Yet an adequate account of expression focus has not been given within the literature. This is despite the fact that it holds the potential (...)
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  43. The Radical Account of Bare Plural Generics.Anthony Nguyen - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (5):1303-1331.
    Bare plural generic sentences pervade ordinary talk. And yet it is extremely controversial what semantics to assign to such sentences. In this paper, I achieve two tasks. First, I develop a novel classification of the various standard uses to which bare plurals may be put. This “variety data” is important—it gives rise to much of the difficulty in systematically theorizing about bare plurals. Second, I develop a novel account of bare plurals, the radical account. On this account, all bare plurals (...)
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  44. Slurs, Pejoratives, and Hate Speech.Mihaela Popa-Wyatt - 2020 - Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy.
  45. The Truth and Nothing but the Truth: Non-Literalism and The Habits of Sherlock Holmes.Heidi Savage - 2020 - Southwest Philosophy Review 36 (2).
    Abstract: Many, if not most philosophers, deny that a sentence like ‘Sherlock Holmes smokes’ could be true. However, this attitude conflicts with the assignment of true to that sentence by natural language speakers. Furthermore, this process of assigning truth values to sentences like ‘Sherlock Holes smokes’ seems indistinguishable from the process that leads speakers to assign true to other sentences, those like ‘Bertrand Russell smokes’. I will explore the idea that when speakers assign the value true to the first sentence, (...)
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  46. Toward a Sharp Semantics/Pragmatics Distinction.Megan Henricks Stotts - 2020 - Synthese 197 (1):185–208.
    The semantics/pragmatics distinction was once considered central to the philosophy of language, but recently the distinction’s viability and importance have been challenged. In opposition to the growing movement away from the distinction, I argue that we really do need it, and that we can draw the distinction sharply if we draw it in terms of the distinction between non-mental and mental phenomena. On my view, semantic facts arise from context-independent meaning, compositional rules, and non-mental elements of context, whereas pragmatic facts (...)
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  47. Questions Under Discussion and the Semantics/Pragmatics Divide.Jumbly Grindrod & Emma Borg - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (275):418-426.
    The ‘question under discussion’ framework is a pragmatic framework that draws on work in the semantics of questions to provide an appealing account of a range of pragmatic phenomena, including the use of prosodic focus in English and restrictions on acceptable discourse moves. More recently, however, a number of proposals have attempted to use the framework to help to settle issues at the semantics/pragmatics boundary, fixing the truth-conditions of what is said by a speaker. In this discussion piece, we suggest (...)
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  48. Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy: An Introduction to Mukula's “Fundamentals of the Communicative Function”.Malcolm Keating - 2019 - New York: Bloomsbury Academic.
    This introduction brings to life the main themes in Indian philosophy of language by using an accessible translation of an Indian classical text to provide an entry into the world of Indian linguistic theories. -/- Malcolm Keating draws on Mukula's Fundamentals of the Communicative Function to show the ability of language to convey a wide range of meanings and introduce ideas about testimony, pragmatics, and religious implications. Along with a complete translation of this foundational text, Keating also provides: - Clear (...)
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  49. Davidson’s Phenomenological Argument Against the Cognitive Claims of Metaphor.Richmond Kwesi - 2019 - Axiomathes 30:1-24.
    In this paper, I take a critical look at the Davidsonian argument that metaphorical sentences do not express propositions because of the phenomenological experience—seeing one thing as another thing—involved in understanding them as metaphors. According to Davidson, seeing-as is not seeing-that. This verdict is aimed at dislodging metaphor from the position of being assessed with the semantic notions of propositions, meaning, and truth. I will argue that the phenomenological or perceptual experience associated with metaphors does not determine the propositional contentfulness (...)
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  50. Presupposition Triggers and Presumptive Interpretation.Fabrizio Macagno - 2019 - In Alessandro Capone, Marco Carapezza & Franco Lo Piparo (eds.), FuFurther Advances in Pragmatics and Philosophy: Part 2 Theories and Applications. Cham, Switzerland: pp. 155-179.
    Pragmatic presuppositions are analyzed considering their relation with the notion of commitment, namely the dialogical acceptance of a proposition by an interlocutor. The attribution of commitments carried out by means of pragmatic presupposition is shown to depend on the reasonableness of the underlying presumptive reasoning, ultimately grounded on hierarchies of presumptions. On this perspective, the ordinary interpretation of pragmatic presuppositions as the “taking for granted” of propositions signaled by semantic or syntactic triggers becomes only the presumptive, prototypical interpretation of a (...)
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