Lingua 90:1-25 (1993)

Dan Sperber
Institut Jean Nicod
Deirdre Wilson
University College London
Our book Relevance (Sperber and Wilson 1986) treats utterance interpretation as a two-phase process: a modular decoding phase is seen as providing input to a central inferential phase in which a linguistically encoded logical form is contextually enriched and used to construct a hypothesis about the speaker's informative intention. Relevance was mainly concerned with the inferential phase of comprehension: we had to answer Fodor's challenge that while decoding processes are quite well understood, inferential processes are not only not understood, but perhaps not even understandable (see Fodor 1983). Here we will look more closely at the decoding phase and consider what types of information may be linguistically encoded, and how the borderline between decoding and inference can be drawn. It might be that all linguistically encoded information is cut to a single pattern: all truth conditions, say, or all instructions for use. However, there is a robust intuition that two basic types of meaning can be found. This intuition surfaces in a variety of distinctions: between describing and indicating, stating and showing, saying and conventionally implicating, or between truth-conditional and non-truth-conditional, conceptual and procedural, or representational and computational meaning. In the literature, justifications for these distinctions have been developed in both strictly linguistic and more broadly cognitive terms. The linguistic justification goes as follows (see for example Recanati 1987). Utterances express propositions; propositions have truth conditions; but the meaning of an utterance is not exhausted by its truth conditions, i.e. the truth conditions of the proposition expressed. An utterance not only expresses a proposition but is used to perform a variety of speech acts. It can..
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References found in this work BETA

Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and Other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
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Citations of this work BETA

Relevance Theory.Deirdre Wilson & Dan Sperber - 2002 - In L. Horn & G. Ward (eds.), The Handbook of Pragmatics. Blackwell. pp. 607-632.
Truthfulness and Relevance.Deirdre Wilson & Dan Sperber - 2002 - Mind 111 (443):583-632.
What is an Inference?Ram Neta - 2013 - Philosophical Issues 23 (1):388-407.
Are Explicatures Cancellable?Alessandro Capone - 2009 - Intercultural Pragmatics 6 (1):55-83.

View all 27 citations / Add more citations

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The Mapping Between the Mental and the Public Lexicon.Dan Sperber & Deirdre Wilson - 1998 - In Peter Carruthers & Jill Boucher (eds.), [Book Chapter]. Cambridge University Press. pp. 184-200.
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