Does linguistic communication rest on inference?

Mind and Language 17 (1-2):105–126 (2002)
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Abstract

It is often claimed that, because of semantic underdetermination, one can determine the content of an utterance only by appealing to pragmatic considerations concerning what the speaker means, what his intentions are. This supports ‘inferentialism' : the view that, in contrast to perceptual content, communicational content is accessed indirectly, via an inference. As against this view, I argue that primary pragmatic processes (the pragmatic processes that are involved in the determination of truth-conditional content) need not involve an inference from premisses concerning what the speaker can possibly intend by his utterance. Indeed, they need not involve any inference at all : communication, I argue, is as direct as perception.

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Francois Recanati
Institut Jean Nicod

Citations of this work

Relevance theory.Deirdre Wilson & Dan Sperber - 2002 - In L. Horn & G. Ward (eds.), The Handbook of Pragmatics. Blackwell. pp. 607-632.
Is there a priori knowledge by testimony?Anna-Sara Malmgren - 2006 - Philosophical Review 115 (2):199-241.
Origins of Meaning: Must We ‘Go Gricean’?Dorit Bar-on - 2013 - Mind and Language 28 (3):342-375.
Varieties of inference?Anna-Sara Malmgren - 2018 - Philosophical Issues 28 (1):221-254.
Implicature.Wayne Davis - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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