Entry title: Semantics/Pragmatics boundary


The Gricean distinction between saying and implicating suggests a clear division of labour between semantics and pragmatics. The standard view that a semantic theory delivers truth-conditions for every well-formed sentence of a language has been grafted onto a Gricean view of the semantics-pragmatics divide. Consequently, many believe that truth-conditions can be specified in a way that is essentially free from pragmatic considerations. This view has been challenged, by those who argue for pragmatic intrusion into truth-conditional content. Others have argued in favour of preserving a pragmatically untainted conception of semantics, but for a more finegrained conception of pragmatics. This debate has led to different proposals as to how to draw the boundary between semantics and pragmatics. This philosophical debate has been conducted largely independently of the debate in linguistics about the interfaces between the various sub-systems of the language faculty in the mind/brain



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Anne Louise Bezuidenhout
University of South Carolina

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