Synthese 198 (6):5229-5252 (2019)

Authors
Luca Gasparri
University of Zürich
Michael Murez
Université de Nantes
Abstract
According to the perceptual view of language comprehension, listeners typically recover high-level linguistic properties such as utterance meaning without inferential work. The perceptual view is subject to the Objection from Context: since utterance meaning is massively context-sensitive, and context-sensitivity requires cognitive inference, the perceptual view is false. In recent work, Berit Brogaard provides a challenging reply to this objection. She argues that in language comprehension context-sensitivity is typically exercised not through inferences, but rather through top-down perceptual modulations or perceptual learning. This paper provides a complete formulation of the Objection from Context and evaluates Brogaards reply to it. Drawing on conceptual considerations and empirical examples, we argue that the exercise of context-sensitivity in language comprehension does, in fact, typically involve inference.
Keywords language  meaning  context  inference  perception  cognition
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-019-02398-0
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References found in this work BETA

Literal Meaning.François Recanati - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
Minimal Semantics.Emma Borg - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
Truth-Conditional Pragmatics.François Recanati - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
Which Properties Are Represented in Perception.Susanna Siegel - 2005 - In Tamar S. Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Perceptual Experience. Oxford University Press. pp. 481--503.

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Citations of this work BETA

Lexical Innovation and the Periphery of Language.Luca Gasparri - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-25.

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