Local pragmatics in a Gricean framework

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (5):466-492 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

The pragmatic framework developed by H.P. Grice in “Logic and Conversation” explains how a speaker can mean something more than, or different from, the conventional meaning of the sentence she utters. But it has been argued that the framework cannot give a similar explanation for cases where these pragmatic effects impact the understood content of an embedded clause, such as the antecedent of a conditional, a clausal disjunct, or the clausal complement of a verb. In this paper, I show that such an explanation is available. One of the central arguments of the paper is that in a significant subset of cases, local pragmatic effects are a consequence of a global pragmatic requirement. In these cases, local pragmatic effects are a consequence of ‘acting locally’ to resolve a potential global pragmatic violation. These cases do not require us to posit application of pragmatic principles to the contents of embedded clauses. The account does, though, require the assumption that interpreters can identify and reason about the contents of unasserted sub-parts of sentences, an assumption that I motivate in section 3. Building on this, in section 4 of the paper, I argue that once we have recognized that interpreters can, and do, reason independently about the contents of non-asserted clauses, it becomes unproblematic to assume that in some cases, Gricean conversational principles do apply directly to these contents, providing an alternative route to account for local pragmatic effects. In revisiting the ideas of this paper in my response to the commentaries, I consider in more detail the revisions to Grice’s broader program that are necessitated by these moves, in particular acknowledging the problematicity of Grice’s notion of what is said. I argue that the starting point for Gricean reconstructions should instead be merely what is expressed, which carries no pragmatic commitments regarding what is speaker meant.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,386

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Local pragmatics: reply to Mandy Simons.François Recanati - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (5):493-508.
Local pragmatics and structured contents.Mandy Simons - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 168 (1):21-33.
Scalar implicature and local pragmatics.Bart Geurts - 2009 - Mind and Language 24 (1):51-79.
The pragmatic circle.Kepa Korta & John Perry - 2008 - Synthese 165 (3):347 - 357.
Pragmatic Intrusion.Jane Aronson - 1994 - Dissertation, Stanford University
The reformulation argument: reining in Gricean pragmatics.Zachary Miller - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (2):525-546.
Grice in the wake of Peirce.Ahti-Veikko Pietarinen - 2004 - Pragmatics and Cognition 12 (2):295-316.
On pragmatic and non-pragmatic concept of explanation.Eugen Zeleňák - 2006 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 13 (3):334-348.
The Pragmatic Character of Explanation.Peter Achinstein - 1984 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1984:275 - 292.
A pragmatic defense of Millianism.Arvid Båve - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 138 (2):271 - 289.
Pragmatics, Modularity and Mind‐reading.Dan Sperber & Deirdre Wilson - 2002 - Mind and Language 17 (1-2):3–23.

Analytics

Added to PP
2016-12-09

Downloads
47 (#330,788)

6 months
8 (#342,364)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Mandy Simons
Carnegie Mellon University

Citations of this work

The Social Epistemology of Introspection.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2023 - Mind and Language 38 (3):925-942.
Authentic Speech and Insincerity.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2023 - Journal of Philosophy 120 (10):550-576.
Implicature.Wayne Davis - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The explanatory project of Gricean pragmatics.Lars Dänzer - 2021 - Mind and Language 36 (5):683-706.

View all 12 citations / Add more citations