Pragmatics

Edited by Christopher Gauker (University of Salzburg)
About this topic
Summary Topics in the philosophy of language tend to fall into two main branches, pragmatics and semantics.  Roughly, semantics deals with conventional meaning.  Theories in formal semantics for natural language attempt to pair meanings with sentence-context pairs in some systematic way.  A primary test of correctness for a semantic theory is whether it allows us to define the logical properties of sentences (such as whether one sentence logically implies another).  The term “pragmatics” covers both a part of formal semantics, so defined, and also the study of the ways in which utterances effect communication.  The first kind of pragmatic theory deals with the way in which the extensions of terms and the truth values of sentences depend on features of the situation in which the sentence is spoken.  The second kind of pragmatic theory studies the nature of speech acts, such as asserting or asking, and also the ways in which speakers manage to convey more than the conventional meaning of the sentence uttered.  It is not always clear where in this taxonomy a given phenomenon should fall.  The topic of presupposition, for instance, has been located under all of these headings.
Key works The classics of pragmatics include Austin 1962, Searle 1969, Grice 1989, Kaplan 1989, Stalnaker 1973, and Lewis 1979.  More recent contributions that have drawn considerable attention include Bach 1994, Recanati 2002, Cappelen & Lepore 2005, and Stanley & Szabó 2000
Introductions

An excellent but now somewhat dated collection of classics is Stephen Davis, ed., Pragmatics: A Reader, Oxford University Press, 1991.  For a short overview of some current issues, see Gauker 2012.

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6122 found
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  1. Relevance and Emotion.Tim Wharton, Constant Bonard, Daniel Dukes, David Sander & Steve Oswald - 2021 - Journal of Pragmatics 181.
    The ability to focus on relevant information is central to human cognition. It is therefore hardly unsurprising that the notion of relevance appears across a range of different dis- ciplines. As well as its central role in relevance-theoretic pragmatics, for example, rele- vance is also a core concept in the affective sciences, where there is consensus that for a particular object or event to elicit an emotional state, that object or event needs to be relevant to the person in whom (...)
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  2. How to do things with nonwords: pragmatics, biosemantics, and origins of language in animal communication.Dorit Bar-On - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (6):1-25.
    Recent discussions of animal communication and the evolution of language have advocated adopting a ‘pragmatics-first’ approach, according to which “a more productive framework” for primate communication research should be “pragmatics, the field of linguistics that examines the role of context in shaping the meaning of linguistic utterances”. After distinguishing two different conceptions of pragmatics that advocates of the pragmatics-first approach have implicitly relied on, I argue that neither conception adequately serves the purposes of pragmatics-first approaches to the origins of human (...)
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  3. Semantica e Pragmatica: un'introduzione. Da Grice ai giorni nostri.Delia Belleri - 2021 - Bologna: CLUEB.
    This book (in Italian) provides an introduction to the debate about the distinction between semantics and pragmatics, starting with the work of Paul Grice, and touching on some of the most important authors and theories in the literature, including truth-conditional pragmatics, semantic minimalism, indexical and non-indexical contextualism.
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  4. Communication Before Communicative Intention.Josh Armstrong - forthcoming - Noûs.
    This paper explores the significance of intelligent social behavior among non-human animals for philosophical theories of communication. Using the alarm call system of vervet monkeys as a case study, I argue that interpersonal communication (or what I call “minded communication”) can and does take place in the absence of the production and recognition of communicative intentions. More generally, I argue that evolutionary theory provides good reasons for maintaining that minded communication is both temporally and explanatorily prior to the use of (...)
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  5. Divertissement quasigramsciano su logica e linguaggio.Salvatore Pistoia-Reda - 2021 - Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio 15 (1):148-153.
    This note focuses on the interaction between logic and grammar and discusses whether logical rules are irrelevant for syntactic formation. Classical evidence for the independence of syntax from logic comes from the acceptability of analytic propositions. Based on this piece of evidence, various authors in traditional discussions pronounced that language is illogical. This note focuses instead on two ways to oppose such pronouncements. In Gramscian linguistics, one can maintain that language is not illogical by broadening the notion of language one (...)
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  6. Literal Meaning, Minimal Propositions, and Pragmatic Processing.Anne Louise Bezuidenhout & J. Cooper Cutting - 2002 - Journal of Pragmatics 34 (4):433-456.
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  7. Is Semantics Still Possible?Jonathan Berg - 2002 - Journal of Pragmatics 34 (4):349-359.
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  8. الاتجاهات المعاصرة في فلسفة اللغة.Salah Ismail - 1996 - Al-Fikr Al- Arabi الفكر العربي 17 (83):53-77.
    يقدم هذا البحث معالجة تحليلية موجزة للاتجاهات الأساسية في فلسفة اللغة المعاصرة، وهي ثلاثة: 1- الاتجاه الممتد من فريجه ورسل وفتجنشتين المبكر عبر الوضعية المنطقية وكواين وديفيدسون ودميت وبتنام وكريبكي. ويهتم بالعلاقة بين المعنى والصدق والإشارة. والسؤال الأساسي في هذا الاتجاه هو: ما شروط صدق الجملة؟ 2- الاتجاه الممتد من مور وفتجنشتين المتأخر ومدرسة أكسفورد (رايل، وأوستن وستراوسون، وجرايس) وسيرل وهابرماس وبراندوم. ويهتم بالعلاقة بين اللغة والمتكلم. والسؤال الأساسي في هذا الاتجاه هو: ما العلاقة بين المعنى والاستعمال. 3- الاتجاه الذي (...)
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  9. Philosophy of Language.Salah Ismail - 2017 - Cairo, Egypt: Al Dar Almasriah Allubnaniah.
    Philosophy of Language, introduces students to the main issues and theories in twenty-first-century philosophy of language, focusing specifically on linguistic phenomena. Author Salah Ismail divided the book into seven chapters. Ch. I, Philosophy of language: Defining term and Indication of trends. Ch.2, Empirical theory in language learning (Quine). Ch.3, Mental theory in language learning and its knowledge (Chomsky). Ch.4, Theories of meaning, surveys the competing theories of linguistic meaning and compares their various advantages and liabilities; theory of ideas, theory of (...)
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  10. The Theory of Meaning in the Philosophy of Paul Grice.Salah Ismail - 2007 - Modern Quba: Cairo, Egypt.
    The primary function that philosophy has to perform is analysis of meanings. Contemporary philosophy is a story of the idea of meaning, in the words of Gilbert Ryle. The study of meaning in our time takes several ways. Two ways come in the forefront. The first relates to the formal theories proposed by Frege, earlier Wittgenstein, Quine, Chomsky and Dummmett. The second relates to the theories of use suggested by the later Wittgenstein, Austin, Ryle, Strawson, Grice and Searle. Formal theories (...)
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  11. Simulating Grice: Emergent Pragmatics in Spatialized Game Theory.Patrick Grim - 2011 - In Anton Benz, Christian Ebert & Robert van Rooij (eds.), Language, Games, and Evolution. Springer-Verlag.
    How do conventions of communication emerge? How do sounds or gestures take on a semantic meaning, and how do pragmatic conventions emerge regarding the passing of adequate, reliable, and relevant information? My colleagues and I have attempted in earlier work to extend spatialized game theory to questions of semantics. Agent-based simulations indicate that simple signaling systems emerge fairly naturally on the basis of individual information maximization in environments of wandering food sources and predators. Simple signaling emerges by means of any (...)
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  12. Girl Talk: Understanding Negative Reactions to Female Vocal Fry.Monika Chao & Julia R. S. Bursten - 2021 - Hypatia 36 (1):42-59.
    Vocal fry is a phonation, or voicing, in which an individual drops their voice below its natural register and consequently emits a low, growly, creaky tone of voice. Media outlets have widely acknowledged it as a generational vocal style characteristic of millennial women. Critics of vocal fry often claim that it is an exclusively female vocal pattern, and some say that the voicing is so distracting that they cannot understand what is being said under the phonation. Claiming that a phonation (...)
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  13. Una nota sulla pragmatica musicale.Salvatore Pistoia-Reda - 2020 - de Musica 1 (24):173-178.
    In questa nota si fornisce un esempio preliminare di analisi pragmatica delle strutture musicali. Nell’analisi, la stipulazione di una pragmatica musicale segue strettamente recenti proposte presentate in ambito semantico, in cui si illustrano le potenziali virtù rappresentazionali delle strutture musicali. In particolare, in questa nota si suggerisce la presenza di strategie di ricostruzione dei significati musicali le quali intervengono a prevenire la realizzazione di contenuti semantici contraddittori. L’evidenza utilizzata è ricavata da alcune misure del madrigale primo del II libro dei (...)
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  14. Critical Faults and Fallacies of Questioning.Douglas N. Walton - 1991 - Journal of Pragmatics 15:337--366.
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  15. Slurs, Neutral Counterparts, and What You Could Have Said.Arianna Falbo - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy 1.
    Recent pragmatic accounts of slurs argue that the offensiveness of slurs is generated by a speaker's free choice to use a slur opposed to a more appropriate and semantically equivalent neutral counterpart. I argue that the theoretical role of neutral counterparts on such views is overstated. I consider two recent pragmatic analyses, Bolinger (2017) and Nunberg (2018), which rely heavily upon the optionality of slurs, namely, that a speaker exercises a deliberate lexical choice to use a slur when they could (...)
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  16. A Linguistic Framework for Knowledge, Belief, and Veridicality Judgement.Anastasia Giannakidou & Alda Mari - manuscript
  17. From Recognition to Acknowledgement: Rethinking the Perlocutionary.Daniele Lorenzini - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    In this paper, I argue that a serious philosophical investigation of the domain of the perlocutionary is both possible and desirable, and I show that it possesses a distinctively moral dimension that has so far been overlooked. I start, in Section II, by offering an original characterisation of the distinction between the illocutionary and the perlocutionary derived from the degree of predictability and stability that differentiates their respective effects. In Section III, I argue that, in order to grasp the specificity (...)
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  18. The Interrogation as a Type of Dialogue.Douglas Walton - 2003 - Journal of Pragmatics 35:1771-1802.
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  19. The Varieties of Verbal Irony.Arthur Sullivan - 2019 - Lingua 232.
    This paper has two interconnected goals -- one defensive and fairly conservative, the other more novel and enterprising. The first goal is to defend a broadly Gricean approach to verbal irony from the post-Gricean criticisms which have emerged in the intervening literature --i.e., all things considered, verbal irony is best viewed as one among many species of particularized conversational implicature. The subsequent goal is to work toward developing a significantly original theory of verbal irony, within this Gricean orientation, which aims (...)
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  20. Evaluating the Cancellability Test.Arthur Sullivan - 2017 - Journal of Pragmatics 121:162-174.
    This paper considers four lines of objection to the efficacy or worth of Grice's cancellability test for conversational implicatures – the coherence objection, the entailment objection, the sarcasm objection, and the ambiguity objection. I argue that the test survives these objections relatively unscathed; and hence conclude that the cancellability test is still a significant, useful, reliable indicator at the semantics/pragmatics interface.
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  21. The Origin of the Social Approach in Language and Cognitive Research Exemplified by Studies Into the Origin of Language.Nathalie Gontier - 2009 - In H. Pishwa (ed.), Language and Social Cognition: Expressions of the social mind. pp. 25-46.
  22. Why `Might'?Giorgio Sbardolini - manuscript
    Why do we use epistemic modals like 'might'? According to Factualism, the function of 'might' is to exchange information about state-of-affairs in the modal universe. As an alternative to Factualism, this paper offers a game-theoretic rationale for epistemic possibility operators in a Bayesian setting. The background picture is one whereby communication facilitates coordination, but coordination could fail if there's too much uncertainty, since the players' ability to share a belief is undermined. However, 'might' and related expressions can be used to (...)
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  23. Grammar, Ambiguity, and Definite Descriptions.Thomas J. Hughes - 2015 - Dissertation, Durham University
  24. Review of Capone (2010): Perspectives on Language Use and Pragmatics. A Volume in Memory of Sorin Stati. [REVIEW]Valentina Cuccio - 2011 - Pragmatics and Cognition 19 (1):174-180.
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  25. Review of Dascal & Chang (2007): Traditions of Controversy. [REVIEW]Lily I.-wen Su - 2009 - Pragmatics and Cognition 17 (2):458-463.
  26. Review of Grundy (1995): Doing Pragmatics. [REVIEW]LuMing Mao - 1996 - Pragmatics and Cognition 4 (2):416-423.
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  27. Generics in Context: The Robustness and the Explanatory Implicatures.Martina Rosola - 2019 - In Gábor Bella & Paolo Bouquet (eds.), CONTEXT 2019: Modeling and Using Context. pp. 223-237.
    Generics are sentences that express generalizations about a category or about its members. They display a characteristic context-sensitivity: the same generic can express a statistical regularity, a principled connection, or a norm. Sally Haslanger (2014) argues that this phenomenon depends on the implicit content that generics carry in different contexts. -/- I elaborate on Haslanger’s proposal, arguing that the implicit content of generics is complex and constituted by two different propositions. A first proposition, that I here call the robustness proposition, (...)
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  28. Truth, Force, and Knowledge in Language: Essays on Semantic and Pragmatic Topics.Savas L. Tsohatzidis - 2020 - Berlin & Boston: De Gruyter.
    This book collects twenty-five of the author's essays, each of which addresses a descriptive or a foundational issue that arises at the interface between linguistic semantics and pragmatics, on the one hand, and the philosophy of language, on the other. Arranged into three interconnected parts (I. Matters of Meaning and Truth; II. Matters of Meaning and Force; III. Knowledge Matters), the essays suggest that some key topics in the above-mentioned fields have often been approached in ways that considerably underestimate their (...)
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  29. The status of individual and collective intentions in Searle's speech act theory.Alexa Bódog - 2012 - Argumentum 8:42-52.
    The present study focuses on the received version of speech act theory as developed by Searle. The aim of the paper is to demonstrate how Searle formulates precise and general conditions for illocutionary act individuation based on the linguistic description of inherent individual intentions. I argue for the impossibility of such individuation processes.
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  30. How to handle beliefs and knowledge: JL. Austin's philosophy of language.Alexa Bódog - 2012 - Argumentu 8:42-52.
    The present paper focuses on the Austinian approach to intentionality. My aim is to demonstrate that the Austinian concept and its application in the classical version of speech act theory are fundamentally different from the treatment of intentionality in the received version of speech act theory (as developed by Searle). The received version of speech act theory treats intentional states as a bunch of internal individual beliefs, desires, and intentions, while it assumes that conventions belong to the external social domains. (...)
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  31. On the relationship between communication and intentionality in pragmatics.Alexa Bódog - 2008 - Argumentum 4:22-51..
    The main hypothesis of the article is that there has been an attitude change in the field of pragmatics: the philosophical notion of intentionality has penetrated in a cognitive approach. The first aim is to argue for this attitude change via analyzing classical pragmatical writings (works of J. R. Searle and H. P. Grice) and the relevance- theoretical approach of D. Sperber and D. Wilson. The second aim is to argue for the legitimacy of the attitude change by presenting a (...)
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  32. A Quantificational Analysis of the Liar Paradox.Matheus Silva - manuscript
    It seems that the most common strategy to solve the liar paradox is to argue that liar sentences are meaningless and, consequently, truth-valueless. The other main option that has grown in recent years is the dialetheist view that treats liar sentences as meaningful, truth-apt and true. In this paper I will offer a new approach that does not belong in either camp. I hope to show that liar sentences can be interpreted as meaningful, truth-apt and false, but without engendering any (...)
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  33. Directional Bias.Matheus Silva - manuscript
    There is almost a consensus among conditional experts that indicative conditionals are not material. Their thought hinges on the idea that if indicative conditionals were material, A → B could be vacuously true when A is false, even if B would be false in a context where A is true. But since this consequence is implausible, the material account is usually regarded as false. It is argued that this point of view is motivated by the grammatical form of conditional sentences (...)
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  34. In Defence of Extensional Evidence.Matheus Silva - manuscript
    Intensional evidence is any reason to accept a proposition that is not the truth values of the proposition accepted or, if it is a complex proposition, is not the truth values of its propositional contents. Extensional evidence is non-intensional evidence. Someone can accept a complex proposition, but deny its logical consequences when her acceptance is based on intensional evidence, while the logical consequences of the proposition presuppose the acceptance of extensional evidence, e.g., she can refuse the logical consequence of a (...)
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  35. Subjunctive Conditionals Are Material.Matheus Silva - manuscript
    The material account claims that indicative conditionals are material. However, the conventional wisdom even among material account enthusiasts is that the material account cannot be extended to subjunctive conditionals. There are mainly three reasons that motivate this consensus: (1) the belief that if subjunctives were material, most subjunctive conditionals would be vacuously true, which is implausible; (2) its inconsistency with Adams pair, which suggest that indicative and subjunctive conditionals have different truth conditions; and (3) the belief that it is an (...)
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  36. Indicative Conditionals Are Material - Expanding the Survey.Matheus Martins Silva - manuscript
    Adam Rieger (2013) has carried out a survey of arguments in favour of the material account of indicative conditionals. These arguments involve simple and direct demonstrations of the material account. I extend the survey with new arguments and clarify the logical connections among them. I also show that the main counter-examples against these arguments are not successful either because their premises are just as counter-intuitive as the conclusions, or because they depend on contextual fallacies. The conclusion is that the unpopularity (...)
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  37. What is Happening to Our Norms Against Racist Speech?Jennifer Saul - 2019 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 93 (1):1-23.
    Until recently, the accepted wisdom in the US was that overt racism would doom a national political campaign. This led to the use of covert messaging strategies like dogwhistles. Recent political events have called this wisdom into question. In this paper, I explore what has happened in recent years to our norms against racist speech, and to the ways that they are applied. I describe several mechanisms that seem to have contributed to the changes that I outline.
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  38. Peter Olen: Wilfrid Sellars and the Foundations of Normativity. [REVIEW]Catherine Legg - 2019 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 7 (3).
    Commentary on Peter Olen's book "Wilfrid Sellars and the Foundations of Normativity", originally prepared for an 'Author Meets Critics' session organized by Carl Sachs for the Eastern Division Meeting of the APA in Savannah, Georgia, on 5th January, 2018.
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  39. Pragmatismo y pragmaticismo Condiciones semióticas para la fundamentación del conocimiento científico.Julio Horta - 2019 - In Publicaciones del Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales. Ciudad de México, CDMX, México: pp. 123-146.
    El presente artículo busca hacer una revisión del concepto de verdad como fundamento del conocimiento científico: desde el pragmatismo de William James y Jürgen Habermas hasta las nociones pragmáticas de Charles -/- Sanders Peirce, con la intención de mostrar los rasgos pertinentes -/- e insuficiencias de cada postura. De manera complementaria, se -/- buscará dar cuenta de los niveles: pragmático (semiótico-filosófico) -/- y pragmatista (psicológico), en los que funciona dicho concepto -/- dentro de la filosofía peirciana. Finalmente, tal esbozo teórico (...)
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  40. Espacio, significación y vivencia: implicaciones semióticas sobre la noción Centro Histórico.Julio Horta - 2015 - In Olimpia Niglio (ed.), edA. Roma, Italia: pp. 134-146.
    Este artículo tiene el objetivo de explorar algunas funciones semióticas que constituyen el espacio urbano. Se revisarán algunas categorías y operaciones semióticas relevantes en la comprensión del espacio para que, desde ahí, se pueda explorar el sentido de la noción Centro Histórico como un concepto fundamental en la construcción del imaginario social en las ciudades de occidente.
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  41. Historia y Semiótica. Categorías y relaciones filosóficas en la caracterización del espacio histórico.Julio Horta - 2012 - Madrid, España: Lap Lambert.
    El presente trabajo parte de un supuesto: la historia como un espacio semiotico que se edifica sobre la base de un sistema de categorias. En este sentido, los signos con los cuales se construye la realidad "ideal" de la historia se articulan en razon de correspondencias especificas determinadas por un esquema particular de relacion. Asi pues, el proposito de la este estudio es mostrar un espacio especulativo que de cuenta de las categorias de la filosofia de la historia, con las (...)
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  42. Perspectives on Pragmatics and Philosophy.Alessandro Capone, Franco Lo Piparo & Marco Carapezza (eds.) - 2013 - Springer.
    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 ...
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  43. Antipositivist Arguments From Legal Thought and Talk: The Metalinguistic Response.David Plunkett & Tim Sundell - 2014 - In Graham Hubbs & Douglas Lind (eds.), Pragmatism, Law, and Language. Routledge. pp. 56-75.
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  44. Racial Figleaves, the Shifting Boundaries of the Permissible, and the Rise of Donald Trump.Jennifer M. Saul - 2017 - Philosophical Topics 45 (2):97-116.
    The rise to power of Donald Trump has been shocking in many ways. One of these was that it disrupted the preexisting consensus that overt racism would be death to a national political campaign. In this paper, I argue that Trump made use of what I call “racial figleaves”—additional utterances that provide just enough cover to give reassurance to voters who are racially resentful but don’t wish to see themselves as racist. These figleaves also, I argue, play a key role (...)
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  45. The Ironist’s Intentions: Communicative Priority and Manifestness.Eleni Kapogianni - 2016 - Pragmatics Cognition 23 (1):150-173.
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  46. El problema dejado por el pragmatismo y el lenguaje entendido como fenómeno dinámico.Alfonso José Pizarro Ramírez - 2014 - Anuario de Postgrado 10:173-186.
    En una primera parte expondré la crítica pragmatista a la visión tradicional del lenguaje; luego, contrastaré las visiones dentro de las que critican a la tradición: contextualismo y contextualismo radical. En una segunda expondré el tipo de semántica que se podría sostener bajo esta concepción del lenguaje: una semántica no proposicionalista. Finalmente, quisiera proponer que, así como en las ciencias sociales el localismo metodológico plantea la emergencia de entidades colectivas (ya sean las clases o instituciones) —sin ser meramente epifenomenales, que (...)
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  47. Recognizing Sarcasm Without Language: A Cross-Linguistic Study of English and Cantonese.Henry S. Cheang & Marc D. Pell - 2011 - Pragmatics and Cognition 19 (2):203-223.
    The goal of the present research was to determine whether certain speaker intentions conveyed through prosody in an unfamiliar language can be accurately recognized. English and Cantonese utterances expressing sarcasm, sincerity, humorous irony, or neutrality through prosody were presented to English and Cantonese listeners unfamiliar with the other language. Listeners identified the communicative intent of utterances in both languages in a crossed design. Participants successfully identified sarcasm spoken in their native language but identified sarcasm at near-chance levels in the unfamiliar (...)
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  48. Jacques Moeschler and Anne Reboul, Dictionnaire Encyclopédique de Pragmatique.Michel Musiol - 1995 - Pragmatics and Cognition 3 (2):386-394.
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  49. Problems of Discourse Theory.Robert Alexy - 1988 - Critica 20 (58):43-65.
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  50. Gossip as a Model of Inference to Composite Hypotheses.Tommaso Bertolotti & Lorenzo Magnani - 2014 - Pragmatics and Cognition 22 (3):309-324.
    In this paper we seek an inferential and cognitive model explaining some characteristics of abduction to composite hypotheses. In the first section, we introduce the matter of composite hypotheses, stressing how it is coherent with the intuitive and philosophical contention that a single event can be caused not only by several causes acting together, but also by several kinds of causation. In the second section, we argue that gossip could serve as an interesting model to study the generation of composite (...)
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