Dynamic Context

Kai von Fintel
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
A primary goal of research in the semantics/pragmatics interface is to investigate the division of labor between the truth-conditional component of the meaning of an expression and other factors of a more pragmatic nature. One favorite strategy, associated foremost with Grice (1967, 1989), is to keep to a rather austere semantics and to derive the overall meaning of an utterance by predictable additional inferences, called ``implicatures,'' which are seen as based on certain principles of rational and purposeful interaction. In this chapter, I will explore a di¨erent way in which the truth-conditional component is complemented in context. Imagine that we have persuasive evidence that an expression a in context c expresses a proposition p. The straightforward way of capturing this in a semantic system is to attribute to a a context-dependent meaning that maps c to p in a systematic and adequate way.
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