In this paper, I explore Bach’s idea (Bach, 2000) that null appositives, intended as expanded qua-clauses, can resolve the puzzles of belief reports. These puzzles are crucial in understanding the semantics and pragmatics of belief reports and are presented in a section. I propose that Bach’s strategy is not only a way of dealing with puzzles, but also an ideal way of dealing with belief reports. I argue that even simple unproblematic cases of belief reports are cases of pragmatic intrusion, (...) involving null appositives, or to use the words of Bach, ‘qua-clauses’. The main difference between my pragmatic approach and the one by Salmon (1986) is that this author uses the notion of conversational implicature, whereas I use the notion of pragmatic intrusion and explicature. From my point of view, statements such as ‘‘John believes that Cicero is clever’’ and ‘‘John believes that Tully is clever’’ have got distinct truth-values. In other words, I claim that belief reports in the default case illuminate the hearer on the mental life of the believer, that includes specific modes of presentation of the referents talked about. Furthermore, while in the other pragmatic approaches, it is mysterious how a mode of presentation is assumed to be the main filter of the believer’s mental life, here I provide an explanatory account in terms of relevance, cognitive effects, and processing efforts. The most important part of the paper is devoted to showing that null appositives are required, in the case of belief reports, to explain certain anaphoric effects, which would otherwise be mysterious. My examples show that null appositives are not necessitated at logical form, but only at the level of the explicature, in line with the standard assumptions by Carston and Recanati on pragmatic intrusion. I develop a potentially useful analysis of belief reports by exploiting syntactic and semantic considerations on presuppositional clitics in Romance. (shrink)
In this chapter I deal with indirect reports in terms of language games. I try to make connections between the theory of language games and the theory of indirect reports, in the light of the issue of clues and cues. Indirect reports are based on an interplay of voices. The voice of the reporter must allow hearers to ‘reconstruct’ the voice of the reported speaker. Ideally, it must be possible to separate the reporter’s voice from that of the reported speaker. (...) When we analyze the language game of indirect reporting, we ideally want to establish which parts belong to the primary voice and which parts belong to the reporter’s voice. In this paper I apply considerations on language games by Dascal et al. and I explore the dialectics between abstract pragmatics principles and considerations about situated uses that are sensitive to cues and clues. (shrink)
In this paper, we analyse and discuss an utterance/pragmeme/pract proffered by US President Donald Trump and addressed to FBI Director Comey: ‘I hope you will let Flynn go’.1 We consider the explicature of this utterance and its illocutionary and perlocutionary effects. We argue that while Republicans opt for an Austinian or Searlean analysis, in the attempt to deny that this utterance constituted an attempt to influence Comey, there are reasons for adopting a Strawsonian analysis, casting it in the framework of (...) pragmemes, devised by Mey, that frame a socio-pragmatic analysis of utterance interpretation within context. This analysis shows, Trump illicitly tried to persuade Comey to drop the Russian investigation, and therefore attempted to interfere with the judiciary system. A reasoned case can be made for saying that Trump had the intention of interfering with America’s federal court system through this utterance. (shrink)
This paper presents a purely pragmatic account of quotation which, it is argued, will be able to accommodate all relevant linguistic phenomena. Given that it is more parsimonious to explain the data by reference to pragmatic principles only than to explain them by reference to both pragmatic and semantic principles, as is common in the literature, I conclude that the account of quotation I present is to be preferred to the more standard accounts (including the alternative theories of quotation, discussed (...) here). (shrink)
The recent debate on pragmatics and the law has found ways to circumvent an important distinction, originally drawn by Dascal and Wróblewski, between the historical law-maker, the current law-maker, and the ideal/rational law-maker.1 By insisting on the relationship between the rational law-maker and contextualism and textualism, I want to redress this fault in current discussions. In this paper, I start with general considerations on pragmatics, intentionality in ordinary conversation, and intentionality in the context of judiciary proceedings and legal texts. I (...) then move on to considerations on rationality as a prerequisite for understanding the law and on the rational law-maker, an ideal construct proposed by Dascal and Wróblewski. I argue that contextualism is the best way to carry out the program by Dascal and Wróblewski on interpretation and the rational law-maker ;. I argue that bearing in mind the rational law-maker postulated by Dascal and Wróblewski is a guidance to interpretation of statutes whose texts create interpretative difficulties. I conclude by saying that the considerations on the rational law-maker constitute a compromise between Scalia’s textualism and contextualism. (shrink)
This article reconsiders the Catholic reaction to the French Revolution, focusing on Nicola Spedalieri's On the Rights of Man and on the debate that its publication sparked in Italy and beyond. The outbreak of the Revolution and the polarization of public opinion between the supporters of the new regime and its relentless opponents convinced Spedalieri, a well-reputed Catholic theologian, of the need to find a via media between these two extremes. Assuming the re-Christianization of the postrevolutionary world as his goal, (...) Spedalieri argued that some aspects of revolutionary political culture were acceptable from a Catholic standpoint as long as the revolutionaries, in turn, agreed to abandon secularization and to uphold the traditional confessional organization of the state. It was not modernity itself, he claimed, that should be rejected, but secularization, for a different modernity from that conceived by the revolutionaries—a confessional modernity, combining revolutionary politics and confessional states—was possible. Far from gaining immediate acceptance, Spedalieri's ideas were harshly criticized during the 1790s and then set aside by the triumph of reactionary Catholicism during the Restoration. However, they resurfaced later in the nineteenth century and ultimately played a decisive role in the development of the church's attitudes toward modern culture, for they carved a path for Catholics to fight secularization from within and to reshape modernity accordingly. (shrink)
The problem of establishing the best interpretation of a speech act is of fundamental importance in argumentation and communication in general. A party in a dialogue can interpret another’s or his own speech acts in the most convenient ways to achieve his dialogical goals. In defamation law this phenomenon becomes particularly important, as the dialogical effects of a communicative move may result in legal consequences. The purpose of this paper is to combine the instruments provided by argumentation theory with the (...) advances in pragmatics in order to propose an argumentative approach to meaning reconstruction. This theoretical proposal will be applied to and tested against defamation cases at common law. Interpretation is represented as based on a hierarchy of interpretative presumptions. On this view, the development of the logical form of an utterance is regarded as the result of an abductive pattern of reasoning in which various types of presumptions are confronted and the weakest ones are excluded. Conflicts of interpretations and equivocation become essentially interwoven with the dialectical problem of fulfilling the burden of defeating a presumption. The interpreter has a burden of explaining why a given presumption is subject to default, assuming that the speaker is reasonable and acting based on a set of shared expectations. (shrink)
Alessandro Capone Franco Lo Piparo Marco Carapezza Editors Perspectives on Pragmatics and Philosophy Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology Volume 1 Editor-in-Cheif Alessandro. Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy ...
In this paper, after outlining the general problem of the pragmatics of indirect reports, we dwell on two notoriously thorny problems: a) how do we interpret the pronominals contained in that-clauses of indirect reports; b) how do we interpret the presuppositions of that-clauses of indirect reports?. Theoretical considerations lead us in the direction of the idea that if two pragmatic principles clash, one should give way, but since we do not know which one has to give way, we should be (...) prepared to accept that the strongest or highest-ranking principle will defeat the other. Here we encounter a Principle, which Capone brought our attention to, that is not usually discussed in pragmatic theories, but which seems to play a crucial role, at least sometimes:Do not expect the hearers and the speakers to do what is not possible for them to do. In this paper, we recognize that the problem of opacity is connected with the problem of voices: who is responsible for a given section of the utterance. Given the presence of polyphony, this problem can be resolved either through contextual clues or through pragmatic principles. We prefer to see the interplay of principles and contextual clues as one in which the interpretation process is pretty orderly, with general principles providing the defaults, while contextual clues occasionally defeat the defaults in certain problematic cases. However, the issue of responsibility, which we try to regiment through the Paraphrasis/Form-style principle, does not only concern the issue of opacity but also the issue of how to find a referent for indexical expressions contained in the that-clause of a report and and how to satisfy the presuppositions of the that-clause. In this case the Paraphrasis/Form-style Principle makes wrong predictions, which have to be rectified thanks to a different principle. The pragmatic theory we apply certainly needs some flexibility, but a flexibility which is not injected into the theory by a mechanical ordering of the rules, but by explaining why a certain principle takes precedence over another in terms of considerations of rationality. (shrink)
In this chapter, I am going to discuss a very interesting case brought to our attention by Saul and references therein: NP-related substitution failure in simple sentences. Whereas it is well known that opacity occurs in intensional contexts and that in such contexts it is not licit to replace an NP with a co-referential one, one would not expect that substitution failure should also be exhibited by simple sentences in the context of stories about Superman. The suggested explanation of these (...) cases is to posit an embedding explicature, that is to say the insertion of structure that ipso facto creates an intensional context capable of blocking substitution. I consider various complications to this story in the light of important objections by García-Carpintero and, finally, I consider how this story fares when one applies constraints on explicatures along the lines of those proposed by Hall in an interesting paper.In general, this chapter exploits interesting considerations by Norrick on the structural similarities between stories and indirect reports. Norrick believes there are important differences, but he is inclined to concede that we could study structural similarities. An important similarity, brought out by the examples discussed by Saul, is that the narrative frame, once it is inserted into the interaction, can be left implicit and, during the act of narrating or referring to the story, one need not repeat the words ‘the story says’ or ‘we are told that…’ every time. Although implicit, these words are heard because they do some work at the structural level, as is shown by this attempt to resolve an otherwise intractable philosophical problem. The explicatures of simple sentences are perceived because they are integrated into the speakers’/hearers’ perception of the overall plan of discourse, as Haugh most interestingly notes:As Haugh and Jaszczolt note, this means that any putative “communicative intention of A is embedded within his higher-order intention”. In other words, to figure out the implicature that evidently arises here, the participants are necessarily making inferences about some kind of overall aim. According to this view, then, inferences about the intended implicature arise concomitant with inferences about the overall aim of the speaker.It follows from the considerations by Haugh that, since the explicature connected with simple sentences depends on the perception of the overall aim or plan of the conversation, it is not easily cancelled. Readers can check by themselves that the explicatures due to simple sentences cannot be cancelled, as cancelling them would involve returning to illogical discourses.. Haugh’s considerations about the overall aim of the discourse are precious in explaining how the embedding explicatures I posit are calculated once and for all for the whole stretch of the discourse framed by the narrative act. (shrink)
In this paper, I deal with implicit indirect reports. First of all, I discuss implicit indirect reports involving the first person. Then, I prove that in some cases second person reports are implicit indirect reports involving a de se attribution. Next, I draw analogies with implicit indirect reports involving the third person. I establish some similarities at the level of free enrichment through which the explicature is obtained and I propose that the explicature is syntactically active, given that it sanctions (...) anaphora. (shrink)
Examination of the bioethical concept of futile-care theory reveals its deleterious effects on patients when put into practice. Futile-care policies and laws unilaterally locate health care decision making in persons and committees other than the patient and his surrogate. Although not voluntarily ceded by the patient, this authority is assumed by third parties whose interests and goals do not contribute to the material and spiritual flourishing of the individual patient. A prime example is the Texas medical futility law, which blatantly (...) disregards the natural right of patients to decide the course of their own health care. Christians are called on to oppose this unprecedented assault on human dignity, freedom, and life itself. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 14.4 : 619–624. (shrink)
This contribution traces the interpretations of Jn 8: 32 in the first centuries up to Origen, who represents in this case, as in general for ancient patristic literature, a fundamental watershed. Each passage is illuminated by setting it in the context of exegesis and controversy. Passages which at first glance may seem unconnected are grouped together in this perspective to reveal interesting points of contact.