Semantics-Pragmatics Distinction

Edited by Andreas Stokke (Uppsala University, Swedish Collegium For Advanced Study)
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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  1. ?!.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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  2. Assertability and Interpretability..Stephen Lester Thompson - manuscript
  3. An Inferential Impasse in the Theory of Implicatures.Savas L. Tsohatzidis - manuscript
  4. Exploring Linguistic Liability.Emma Borg & Patrick Joseph Connolly - forthcoming - In Ernest LePore & David Sosa (eds.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Language Volume 2.
    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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. Philosophy of Language: The Key Thinkers.B. Lee (ed.) - forthcoming - Continuum.
  9. How to Have a Metalinguistic Dispute.Poppy Mankowitz - forthcoming - Synthese:1-20.
    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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  10. Pejoratives & Oughts.Teresa Marques - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-17.
    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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  11. Force, Content and the Unity of the Proposition.Gabriele Mras & Michael Schmitz (eds.) - forthcoming - Routledge.
  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. Reviving the Performative Hypothesis?Peter van Elswyk - forthcoming - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy.
    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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  15. The Lying-Misleading Distinction: A Commitment-Based Approach.Emanuel Viebahn - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
    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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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. How Can "I" Refer to Me? Banishing Monsters at the Source.David Kashtan - 2020 - In Tadeusz Ciecierski & Pawel Grabarczyk (eds.), The Architecture of Context and 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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  26. 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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  27. 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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  28. 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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  29. Slurs, Pejoratives, and Hate Speech.Mihaela Popa-Wyatt - 2020 - Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy.
  30. 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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  31. 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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  32. Deceiving without answering.Peter van Elswyk - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (5):1157-1173.
    Lying is standardly distinguished from misleading according to how a disbelieved proposition is conveyed. To lie, a speaker uses a sentence to say a proposition she does not believe. A speaker merely misleads by using a sentence to somehow convey but not say a disbelieved proposition. Front-and-center to the lying/misleading distinction is a conception of what-is-said by a sentence in a context. Stokke (2016, 2018) has recently argued that the standard account of lying/misleading is explanatorily inadequate unless paired with a (...)
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  33. 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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  34. 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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  35. Picturing Words: The Semantics of Speech Balloons.Emar Maier - 2019 - In Proceedings of the 22nd Amsterdam Colloquium. Amsterdam: pp. 584-592.
    Semantics traditionally focuses on linguistic meaning. In recent years, the Super Linguistics movement has tried to broaden the scope of inquiry in various directions, including an extension of semantics to talk about the meaning of pictures. There are close similarities between the interpretation of language and of pictures. Most fundamentally, pictures, like utterances, can be either true or false of a given state of affairs, and hence both express propositions (Zimmermann, 2016; Greenberg, 2013; Abusch, 2015). Moreover, sequences of pictures, like (...)
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  36. Shifting Perspectives in Pictorial Narratives.Emar Maier & Sofia Bimpikou - 2019 - In Uli Sauerland & Stephanie Solt (eds.), Proceeding of Sinn und Bedeutung 23. Barcelona: Leibniz-Centre General Linguistics (ZAS).
    We propose an extension of Discourse Respresentation Theory (DRT) for analyzing pictorial narratives. We test drive our PicDRT framework by analyzing the way authors represent characters’ mental states and perception in comics. Our investigation goes beyond Abusch and Rooth (2017) in handling not just free perception sequences, but also a form of apparent perspective blending somewhat reminiscent of free indirect discourse.
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  37. The Logicality of Language: A New Take on Triviality, “Ungrammaticality”, and Logical Form.Guillermo Del Pinal - 2019 - Noûs 53 (4):785-818.
    Recent work in formal semantics suggests that the language system includes not only a structure building device, as standardly assumed, but also a natural deductive system which can determine when expressions have trivial truth-conditions (e.g., are logically true/false) and mark them as unacceptable. This hypothesis, called the `logicality of language', accounts for many acceptability patterns, including systematic restrictions on the distribution of quantifiers. To deal with apparent counter-examples consisting of acceptable tautologies and contradictions, the logicality of language is often paired (...)
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  38. The Logicality of Language: A New Take on Triviality, `Ungrammaticality', and Logical Form.Guillermo Del Pinal - 2019 - Noûs 53 (4):785-818.
    Recent work in formal semantics suggests that the language system includes not only a structure building device, as standardly assumed, but also a natural deductive system which can determine when expressions have trivial truth‐conditions (e.g., are logically true/false) and mark them as unacceptable. This hypothesis, called the ‘logicality of language’, accounts for many acceptability patterns, including systematic restrictions on the distribution of quantifiers. To deal with apparent counter‐examples consisting of acceptable tautologies and contradictions, the logicality of language is often paired (...)
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  39. Is There Such a Thing as Pragmatics? -- Review of Concise Encyclopedia of Pragmatics 2nd Ed. (2009)(Review Revised 2019).Michael Starks - 2019 - In Talking Monkeys Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Religion and Politics on a Doomed Planet -- Articles and Reviews 2006-2019 Michael Starks 3rd Edition. Las Vegas, NV USA: Reality Press. pp. 193-222.
    Clearly neither I nor anyone will ever read any substantial part of this massive tome so I will discuss the one article that interests me most and which I think provides the framework necessary for the understanding of all the rest. I refer to the one on Ludwig Wittgenstein (W). Even were I to try to discuss others, we would not get past the first page as all the issues here arise immediately in any discussion of behavior. The differentiation of (...)
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  40. Content in a Dynamic Context.Una Stojnić - 2019 - Noûs 53 (2):394-432.
    The standing tradition in theorizing about meaning, since at least Frege, identifies meaning with propositions, which are, or determine, the truth-conditions of a sentence in a context. But a recent trend has advocated a departure from this tradition: in particular, it has been argued that modal claims do not express standard propositional contents. This non-propositionalism has received different implementations in expressivist semantics and certain kinds of dynamic semantics. They maintain that the key aspect of interpretation of modal claims is the (...)
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  41. Semantic Pluralism.Emanuel Viebahn - 2019 - Frankfurt, Germany: Klostermann.
    What is the content of a sentence in context? A proposition, says the standard propositional view accepted in much of semantics. A set of propositions, says the hitherto little-explored view of Semantic Pluralism. The aim of this book is to motivate, develop and defend Semantic Pluralism. To achieve this aim, the book puts forward two arguments against Contextualism, the most popular propositional theory. It spells out two versions of Semantic Pluralism: Flexible Pluralism, which takes many expressions to be context-sensitive, and (...)
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  42. The Philosophy of Charles Travis: Language, Thought, and Perception.Tamara Dobler & John Collins (eds.) - 2018 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This volume offers a collective critical engagement with the thought of Charles Travis, a leading contemporary philosopher of language and mind, and a scholar of the history of analytical philosophy. Twelve philosophers explore themes in his work, in sections focused on language, thought, and perception; and Travis responds.
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  43. Rehabilitating Austin, Reassessing Grice: The Case of Cancellability.David Egan - 2018 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 100 (4):470-491.
    This paper assesses Grice’s work on conversational implicature in the light of one of its early targets: Austin’s claim that we cannot isolate the meaning of an expression from the context in which it is used. Grice argues that we can separate the literal meaning of many utterances from their pragmatic implicatures through the mechanism of explicit cancellation. However, Grice’s conception of cancellation does not account for the fact that an explicit cancellation must be uttered, and that its utterance involves (...)
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  44. Speech Acts: The Contemporary Theoretical Landscape.Daniel W. Harris, Daniel Fogal & Matt Moss - 2018 - In Daniel Fogal, Matt Moss & Daniel Harris (eds.), New Work on Speech Acts. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    What makes it the case that an utterance constitutes an illocutionary act of a given kind? This is the central question of speech-act theory. Answers to it—i.e., theories of speech acts—have proliferated. Our main goal in this chapter is to clarify the logical space into which these different theories fit. -/- We begin, in Section 1, by dividing theories of speech acts into five families, each distinguished from the others by its account of the key ingredients in illocutionary acts. Are (...)
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  45. Meaning Transfer Revisited.David Liebesman & Ofra Magidor - 2018 - Philosophical Perspectives 32 (1):254-297.
  46. Lying and Fiction.Emar Maier - 2018 - In Jörg Meibauer (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Lying. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 303-314.
    Lying and fiction both involve the deliberate production of statements that fail to obey Grice’s first Maxim of Quality (“do not say what you believe to be false”). The question thus arises if we can provide a uniform analysis for fiction and lies. In this chapter I discuss the similarities, but also some fundamental differences between lying and fiction. I argue that there’s little hope for a satisfying account within a traditional truth conditional semantic framework. Rather than immediately moving to (...)
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  47. The Social Life of Slurs.Geoffrey Nunberg - 2018 - In Daniel Fogal, Daniel Harris & Matt Moss (eds.), New Work on Speech Acts. Oxford University Press.
    The words we call slurs are just plain vanilla descriptions like ‘cowboy’ and ‘coat hanger’. They don't semantically convey any disparagement of their referents, whether as content, conventional implicature, presupposition, “coloring” or mode of presentation. What distinguishes 'kraut' and 'German' is metadata rather than meaning: the former is the conventional description for Germans among Germanophobes when they are speaking in that capacity, in the same way 'mad' is the conventional expression that some teenagers use as an intensifier when they’re emphasizing (...)
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  48. Meaning, Modulation, and Context: A Multidimensional Semantics for Truth-Conditional Pragmatics.Guillermo Del Pinal - 2018 - Linguistics and Philosophy 41 (2):165-207.
    The meaning that expressions take on particular occasions often depends on the context in ways which seem to transcend its direct effect on context-sensitive parameters. ‘Truth-conditional pragmatics’ is the project of trying to model such semantic flexibility within a compositional truth-conditional framework. Most proposals proceed by radically ‘freeing up’ the compositional operations of language. I argue, however, that the resulting theories are too unconstrained, and predict flexibility in cases where it is not observed. These accounts fall into this position because (...)
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  49. Context and Pragmatics.Shyam Ranganathan - 2018 - In Piers Rawling & Philip Wilson (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Philosophy. London: Routledge. pp. 195-208.
    Syntax has to do with rules that constrain how words can combine to make acceptable sentences. Semantics (Frege and Russell) concerns the meaning of words and sentences, and pragmatics (Austin and Grice) has to do with the context bound use of meaning. We can hence distinguish between three competing principles of translation: S—translation preserves the syntax of an original text (ST) in the translation (TT); M—translation preserves the meaning of an ST in a TT; and P—translation preserves the pragmatics of (...)
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  50. From Meaning to Content.Francois Recanati - 2018 - In Derek Ball & Brian Rabern (eds.), The Science of Meaning: Essays on the Metatheory of Natural Language Semantics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    According to a widespread picture due to Kaplan, there are two levels of semantic value: character and content. Character is determined by the grammar, and it determines content with respect to context. In this chapter Recanati criticizes that picture on several grounds. He shows that we need more than two levels, and rejects the determination thesis: that linguistic meaning as determined by grammar determines content. Grammatical meaning does not determine assertoric content, he argues, but merely constrains it — speaker’s meaning (...)
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