About this topic
Summary The distinction between semantics and pragmatics is a central topic in philosophy of language, as well as in certain areas of linguistics and cognitive science. According to one way of understanding the distinction, semantics is the study of how sentences of a language - or some suitable level of representation, such as logical forms - compositionally determine truth conditions, while pragmatics is the study of inferences that hearers draw on the basis of interpreting truth-conditional meaning. The former is sometimes referred to as “what is said,” the latter as “what is meant." On this way of thinking of the demarcation,  semantics studies the way in which truth conditions are associated with sentences in a systematic way depending on the lexical meanings of their parts and their mode of combination. By contrast, pragmatics is the study of how semantic meaning, the mental states of the speaker and hearers, and other contextual features underpin what is communicated by utterances. For example, on this conception, the semantic study of a sentence like “Anna drank two beers and drove home” would be the study of the compositional determination of the truth conditions that the sentence is true if and only if it is true that Anna drank two beers and it is true that Anna drove home. On the other hand, an utterance of the sentence, in most situations, communicates that Anna drove home after drinking the two beers. This latter fact would be studied by pragmatics.  The controversy over the distinction between semantics and pragmatics arises, in part, from various arguments to the effect that pragmatic processes are involved in determining truth-conditional meaning, or what is said. Hence, proponents of the view often called “Contextualism,” in this area, typically argue that there is no clear distinction between what is said and what is meant, in that there is no way of isolating an aspect of the meaning of a sentence that is determined without influence from contextual factors such as the mental states of the participants. Some Contextualist believe that theorizing about what is communicated by utterances, in context, is nevertheless possible although it must be a thoroughly pragmatic study. Others are more skeptic and dismiss any attempt to theorize systematically about natural language meaning.  One kind of opposition to Contextualism, of this kind, comes from theories, sometimes called “Indexicalist,” according to which even contextual effects on what is said, or truth-conditional meaning, is determined compositionally, in context, that is by linguistic material at the relevant level of representation. On the other hand, so-called “Minimalist" opponents of Contextualism hold that compositional processes invariably determine a fully fledged truth-conditional level of meaning, which is nevertheless often not identical to what is communicated in context.  Debate in this area ranges from general issues concerning the nature of communication and linguistic representation to questions about specific expressions and constructions in natural languages. The debate has implications for how to understand the nature of languages, what it means to know a language, as well as for many other issues concerning speech acts, mental states, and other topics.
Key works While discussion of the relation between semantics and pragmatics have a long history (see, e.g., Langford 1970, Montague 1968), the origin of the contemporary debate is Grice 1989. Key Contextualist texts are Searle 1978, Travis 1985, Sperber & Wilson 1986/1995, Carston 2002-01-01, Récanati 2002. The opposition to Contextualism was strengthened in the 2000’s by, in particular, Stanley 2000Borg 2004, and Cappelen & Lepore 2005. Some useful collections of papers on this topic are Szabó 2005, Preyer & Peter 2007.
Introductions Some useful introductions and overviews of this topic are Carston 1999, Stanley 2005, and the introduction to Szabó 2005.
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  1. An Existing Sculps Human Modelling- The Deviations in Dialect of Indian Standard English from the British Colonial Period to Present Times. [REVIEW]Syeda Tasfia Imam, Md Majidul Haque Bhuiyan & Kamrunnahar Rakhi - manuscript
    English is spoken all around the world as it is chosen as the second language to speak within most of the countries. However, from the ancient history of the British to come into this South Asian region, the entrance of English as a speaking language happened. Though, after some centuries, the British went out of the mainland of India, it remains the second-largest spoken language there. Here comes another fact; many words in Standard English changed its form. So, this made (...)
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  2. "Saying 'Thank You!' and Expressing Gratitude: A Response to Schwartz".Indrek Reiland - manuscript
    This is a short response piece to Jeremy Schwartz's "Saying 'Thank You' and Meaning It", published in Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 2020, 98, pp. 718-731. -/- Schwartz argues against the received view that 'Thank You! is for expressing gratitude, claiming instead that it is for expressing one's judgment that gratitude is appropriate or fitting. I argue against the judgment view while defending the received one. -/- I mainly consider the objection that the judgment view is implausible since it makes ‘Thank (...)
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  3. ?!.Michael Schmitz - manuscript
    Frege argued for the force-content distinction not only by appealing to the logical and fictional contexts which are most closely associated with the “Frege point", but also based on the fact that an affirmative answer to a yes-no question constitutes an assertion. Supposedly this is only intelligible if the question contains a forceless thought or proposition which an affirmative answer then asserts. Against this I argue that this fact more readily supports the view that questions operate on assertions and other (...)
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  4. Conditionals all the way down.Matheus Silva - manuscript
    It is commonly accepted that unconditional statements are clearer and less problematic than conditional ones. This article challenges this belief by proposing that all unconditional statements can be reduced to conditional ones since epistemic justification is inherently conditional in nature. The distinction between unconditional and conditional statements is similar to the distinction between assumptions and premises, which is an idealization that results from our attempts to limit epistemic complexity. This has perplexing consequences: (1) since any ordinary statement can be viewed (...)
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  5. Rethinking Implicatures.Matheus Silva - manuscript
    This paper advances the following criticisms against the received view of implicatures: (1) implicatures are relations of pragmatic implication and not attempts to convey particular speaker meanings; (2) conversational implicatures are non-cancellable; (3) generalised conversational implicatures and conventional implicatures are necessary to preserve the cooperative assumption employing a conversational maxim of conveyability; (4) implicatures should be divided into utterance implicatures and assumption implicatures, not speaker implicatures and sentence implicatures; (5) trivial implicatures are genuine implicatures; (6) Grice’s theory of conversation cannot (...)
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  6. Assertability and Interpretability..Stephen Lester Thompson - manuscript
  7. An Inferential Impasse in the Theory of Implicatures.Savas L. Tsohatzidis - manuscript
  8. Generic Cognition: A Neglected Source of Context Sensitivity.Mahrad Almotahari - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    What is the relationship between the claim that generics articulate psychologically primitive generalizations and the claim that they exhibit a unique form of context sensitivity? This paper maintains that the two claims are compatible. It develops and defends an overlooked form of contextualism grounded in the idiosyncrasies of System 1 thought.
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  9. Busting the Ghost of Neutral Counterparts.Jen Foster - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    Philosophers have nearly universally assumed that some highly general semantic relationship obtains between slurs and so-called “neutral counterpart” terms. This assumption has been fleshed out in different ways. On all extant accounts, however, it implies an unmotivated distinction between paradigmatic slur/“neutral counterpart” pairs and many pairs that theorists haven’t considered, including `chick flick’/`romantic comedy’, `stoner’/`cannabis user’, and 'libtard/'liberal’. For pairs like these, the most intuitive theory of the target relationship involves overlap––both in (presumed) extension and associated stereotypes. Since (I argue) (...)
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  10. Review of Context and Coherence: The Logic and Grammar of Prominence, by Una Stojnić. [REVIEW]Daniel W. Harris - forthcoming - Philosophical Review.
    I summarize several of the main claims, arguments, and innovations in Stojnić's 2021 book. I then take issue with her foundational view, on which both the context of a conversation and the contents of context-sensitive expressions are wholly fixed by the history of a conversation together with grammatical rules.
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  11. Meaning and Racial Slurs: Derogatory Epithets and the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface.Joseph A. Hedger - forthcoming - Language and Communication.
    The semantics of racial slurs has recently become a locus of debate amongst philosophers. While everyone agrees that slurs are offensive, there is disagreement about the linguistic mechanism responsible for this offensiveness. This paper places the debate about racial slurs into the context of a larger issue concerning the interface between semantics and pragmatics, and argues that even on minimalist assumptions, the offensiveness of slur words is more plausibly due to their semantic content rather than any pragmatic mechanism. Finally, I (...)
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  12. On the nature of the lexicon: the status of rich lexical meanings.Lotte Hogeweg & Agustin Vicente - forthcoming - Journal of Linguistics.
    The main goal of this paper is to show that there are many phenomena that pertain to the construction of truth-conditional compounds that follow characteristic patterns, and whose explanation requires appealing to knowledge structures organized in specific ways. We review a number of phenomena, ranging from non-homogenous modification and privative modification to polysemy and co-predication that indicate that knowledge structures do play a role in obtaining truth-conditions. After that, we show that several extant accounts that invoke rich lexical meanings to (...)
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  13. Desambiguación de presuposiciones anafóricas: el caso de ‘también’.William Jimenez Leal & Tomas Barrero - forthcoming - Signos.
    Este trabajo analiza los patrones de desambiguación de presuposiciones que se pueden considerar anafóricas y son generadas por partículas indexicales. En contraste con teorías recientes sobre la presuposición que privilegian la información lexical proponemos un análisis perspectivo de la presuposición según el cual la inferencia por defecto sobre este tipo de información hace uso de la perspectiva de los hablantes. En dos estudios exploramos el patrón de desambiguación de oraciones que contienen la palabra ‘también’ en contextos donde se usa el (...)
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  14. Pictorial Syntax.Kevin J. Lande - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    It is commonly assumed that images, whether in the world or in the head, do not have a privileged analysis into constituent parts. They are thought to lack the sort of syntactic structure necessary for representing complex contents and entering into sophisticated patterns of inference. I reject this assumption. “Image grammars” are models in computer vision that articulate systematic principles governing the form and content of images. These models are empirically credible and can be construed as literal grammars for images. (...)
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  15. Philosophy of Language: The Key Thinkers.B. Lee (ed.) - forthcoming - Continuum.
  16. Good people are not like good knives.Poppy Mankowitz - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Is anything good simpliciter? And can things count as ‘good’ independent of the context in which ‘good’ is used? Traditionally, a number of meta-ethicists have given positive answers. But more recently, some philosophers have used observations based on natural language to argue that things can only count as ‘good’ relative to ends and contextual thresholds. I will use work from contemporary linguistics to argue that ‘good’ is ambiguous, and that it has a moral disambiguation that attributes a fixed degree of (...)
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  17. Category mistakes electrified.Poppy Mankowitz - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-21.
    Occurrences of sentences that are traditionally considered category mistakes, such as 'The red number is divisible by three', tend to elicit a sense of oddness in assessors. In attempting to explain this oddness, existing accounts in the philosophical literature commonly claim that occurrences of such sentences are associated with a defect or phenomenology unique to the class of category mistakes. It might be thought that recent work in experimental psycholinguistics—in particular, the recording of event-related brain potentials (patterns of voltage variation (...)
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  18. 'Belief' and Belief.Eric Marcus - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
    Our interest in understanding belief stems partly from our being creatures who think. However, the term ‘belief’ is used to refer to many states: from the fully conscious rational state that partly constitutes knowledge to the fanciful states of alarm clocks. Which of the many ‘belief’ states must a theory of belief be answerable to? This is the scope question. I begin my answer with a reply to a recent argument that belief is invariably weak, i.e., that the evidential standards (...)
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  19. Brandom on Communication.Kevin Scharp - forthcoming - In Jason Hannon & Robert Rutland (eds.), Philosophical Profiles in the Theory of Communication. McGill-Queen's University Press.
    This chapter covers some of Robert Brandom’s contributions to our understanding of communication. Topics discussed include his theory of discursive practice, his inferential semantics, his scorekeeping pragmatics, his views on the “transmission” model of communication, and his semantic perspectivism. I compare his scorekeeping pragmatic theory to other kinds of pragmatic theories, and I argue that his semantic perspectivism can be understood as a global indexical relativism.
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  20. Game Theory and Demonstratives.J. P. Smit - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-20.
    This paper argues, based on Lewis’ claim that communication is a coordination game (Lewis in Minnesota studies in the philosophy of science, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, pp 3–35, 1975), that we can account for the communicative function of demonstratives without assuming that they semantically refer. The appeal of such a game theoretical version of the case for non-referentialism is that the communicative role of demonstratives can be accounted for without entering thecul de sacof trying to construct conventions of ever-increasing (...)
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  21. Expressing belief with evidentials: A case study with Cuzco Quechua on the dispensability of illocutionary explanation.Peter van Elswyk - forthcoming - Journal of Pragmatics.
    Evidentials indicate a source of evidence for a content, and sometimes do more. Depending on the language, they also express the speaker's belief in that content or its possibility. This paper is about how to explain the expression of belief. It argues that semantic explanations are better than illocutionary explanations in two ways. First, a general argument is provided that a semantic explanation is preferable. Second, a case study is given to the evidentials of Cuzco Quechua to argue that a (...)
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  22. Metaphor and contextual coherence: it's a match!Inés Crespo, Andreas Heise & Claudia Picazo - 2023 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1–35.
    Many sentences can be interpreted both as a metaphor and as a literal claim, depending on the context. The aim of this paper is to show that there are discourse-based systematic constraints on the identification of an utterance as metaphorical, literal, or both (as in the case of twice-apt metaphors), from a normative point of view. We claim that the key is contextual coherence. In order to substantiate this claim, we introduce a novel notion of context as a rich and (...)
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  23. Experimenting with every American king.Poppy Mankowitz - 2023 - Natural Language Semantics 31 (4):349-387.
    The standard contemporary semantics for ‘every’ predict the truth of occurrences of sentences with restrictors that denote the empty set, such as ‘Every American king lives in New York’. The literature on empty restrictors has been concerned with explaining a particular violation of this prediction: many assessors consider empty-restrictor sentences to be odd rather than valued, and they are apparently more likely to do so when such sentences include determiners like ‘every’ as opposed to those like ‘no’. Empirical investigation of (...)
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  24. Not Half True.Poppy Mankowitz - 2023 - Mind 132 (525):84-112.
    The word ‘true’ shows some evidence of gradability. For instance, there are cases where truth-bearers are described as ‘slightly true’, ‘completely true’ or ‘very true’. Expressions that accept these types of modifiers are analysed in terms of properties that can be possessed to a greater or lesser degree. If ‘true’ is genuinely gradable, then it would follow that there are degrees of truth. It might also follow that ‘true’ is context-sensitive, like other gradable expressions. Such conclusions are difficult to reconcile (...)
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  25. Pure Quotation in Linguistic Context.Brian Rabern - 2023 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 52 (2):393-413.
    A common framing has it that any adequate treatment of quotation has to abandon one of the following three principles: (i) The quoted expression is a syntactic constituent of the quote phrase; (ii) If two expressions are derived by applying the same syntactic rule to a sequence of synonymous expressions, then they are synonymous; (iii) The language contains synonymous but distinct expressions. In the following, a formal syntax and semantics will be provided for a quotational language which adheres to all (...)
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  26. Interval-based Dynamics of Loose Talk.Charlie Siu - 2023 - Synthese 202 (10):1-23.
    Carter (Noûs 55(1):171–198, 2021) argued that while most simple positive numerical sentences are literally false, they can communicate true contents because relevance has a weakening effect on their literal contents. This paper presents a challenge for his account by considering entailments between the imprecise contents of numerical sentences and the imprecise contents of comparatives. I argue that while Carter's weakening mechanism can generate the imprecise contents of plain comparatives such as `A is taller than B', it cannot generate the imprecise (...)
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  27. A Remark on the Bank Cases.Wolfgang Barz - 2022 - Acta Analytica 37 (4):519-529.
    Since their formulation by Keith DeRose (1992), the so-called bank cases have played a major role in the discussion about whether knowledge depends on practical factors. According to the proponents of pragmatic encroachment, the proper conclusion to be drawn from the bank cases and similar examples is that knowledge of a proposition _p_ does not supervene on one’s evidence for or against _p_. In my view, this conclusion is ill-founded. The reason is that the bank cases and similar examples suffer (...)
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  28. Exploring Linguistic Liability.Emma Borg & Patrick Joseph Connolly - 2022 - In Ernest Lepore & David Sosa (eds.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Language Volume 2. Oxford University Press.
    There is a well-established social practice whereby we hold one another responsible for the things that we say. Speakers are held liable for the truth of the contents they express and they can be sanctioned and/or held to be unreliable or devious if it turns out what they say is false. In this paper chapter we argue that a better understanding of this fundamental socio-linguistic practice – of ascribing what we will term (following Borg (2019)) ‘linguistic liability’ – helps to (...)
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  29. Just saying, just kidding : liability for accountability-avoiding speech in ordinary conversation, politics and law.Elisabeth Camp - 2022 - In Laurence R. Horn (ed.), From lying to perjury: linguistic and legal perspective on lies and other falsehoods. De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 227-258.
    Mobsters and others engaged in risky forms of social coordination and coercion often communicate by saying something that is overtly innocuous but transmits another message ‘off record’. In both ordinary conversation and political discourse, insinuation and other forms of indirection, like joking, offer significant protection from liability. However, they do not confer blanket immunity: speakers can be held to account for an ‘off record’ message, if the only reasonable interpreta- tions of their utterance involve a commitment to it. Legal liability (...)
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  30. Force and Choice.Sam Carter - 2022 - Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (4):873-910.
    Some utterances of imperative clauses have directive force—they impose obligations. Others have permissive force—they extend permissions. The dominant view is that this difference in force is not accompanied by a difference in semantic content. Drawing on data involving free choice items in imperatives, I argue that the dominant view is incorrect.
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  31. Sly Pete in Dynamic Semantics.Simon Goldstein - 2022 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 51 (5):1103-1117.
    In ‘Sly Pete’ or ‘standoff’ cases, reasonable speakers accept incompatible conditionals, and communicate them successfully to a trusting hearer. This paper uses the framework of dynamic semantics to offer a new model of the conversational dynamics at play in standoffs, and to articulate several puzzles posed by such cases. The paper resolves these puzzles by embracing a dynamic semantics for conditionals, according to which indicative conditionals require that their antecedents are possible in their local context, and update this body of (...)
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  32. Contextology.Simon Goldstein & Cameron Domenico Kirk-Giannini - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (11):3187-3209.
    Contextology is the science of the dynamics of the conversational context. Contextology formulates laws governing how the shared information states of interlocutors evolve in response to assertion. More precisely, the contextologist attempts to construct a function which, when provided with just a conversation’s pre-update context and the content of an assertion, delivers that conversation’s post-update context. Most contextologists have assumed that the function governing the evolution of the context is simple: the post-update context is just the pre-update context intersected with (...)
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  33. A Grammar in Two Dimensions: The Temporal Mechanics of Arrival and the Semantics/Pragmatics Divide.A. G. Holdier - 2022 - Journal of Science Fiction and Philosophy 5.
    Within the philosophy of language, contextualists typically hold (and semantic minimalists deny) that pragmatic elements of an utterance can affect its semantic content. This paper concretizes this debate by analogizing both positions to different kinds of time-travel stories: contextualism is akin to Ludovician narratives that deny the possibility of temporal editing (or “the changing of past events”) while semantic minimalism is aligned with stories that allow the past to be literally altered. By focusing particularly on Denis Villeneuve’s 2016 film Arrival, (...)
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  34. What’s Positive and Negative about Generics: A Constrained Indexical Approach.Junhyo Lee & Anthony Nguyen - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (5):1739-1761.
    Nguyen argues that only his radically pragmatic account and Sterken’s indexical account can capture what we call the positive data. We present some new data, which we call the negative data, and argue that no theory of generics on the market is compatible with both the positive data and the negative data. We develop a novel version of the indexical account and show that it captures both the positive data and the negative data. In particular, we argue that there is (...)
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  35. Ignoring Qualifications as a Pragmatic Fallacy: Enrichments and Their Use for Manipulating Commitments.Fabrizio Macagno - 2022 - Langages 1 (13).
    The fallacy of ignoring qualifications, or secundum quid et simpliciter, is a deceptive strategy that is pervasive in argumentative dialogues, discourses, and discussions. It consists in misrepresenting an utterance so that its meaning is broadened, narrowed, or simply modified to pursue different goals, such as drawing a specific conclusion, attacking the interlocutor, or generating humorous reactions. The “secundum quid” was described by Aristotle as an interpretative manipulative strategy, based on the contrast between the “proper” sense of a statement and its (...)
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  36. Saying, commitment, and the lying – misleading distinction.Neri Marsili & Guido Löhr - 2022 - Journal of Philosophy 119 (12):687-698.
    How can we capture the intuitive distinction between lying and misleading? According to a traditional view, the difference boils down to whether the speaker is saying (as opposed to implying) something that they believe to be false. This view is subject to known objections; to overcome them, an alternative view has emerged. For the alternative view, what matters is whether the speaker can consistently deny that they are committed to knowing the relevant proposition. We point out serious flaws for this (...)
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  37. Force, Content, and the Unity of the Proposition.Gabriele Mras & Michael Schmitz (eds.) - 2022 - New York: Routledge.
    This volume advances discussions between critics and defenders of the force-content distinction and opens new ways of thinking about force and speech acts in relation to the unity problem. -/- The force-content dichotomy has shaped the philosophy of language and mind since the time of Frege and Russell. Isn’t it obvious that, for example, the clauses of a conditional are not asserted and must therefore be propositions and propositions the forceless contents of forceful acts? But, others have recently asked in (...)
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  38. Scorekeeping in a chess game.Bryan Pickel & Brian Rabern - 2022 - Semantics and Pragmatics 15 (12).
    There is an important analogy between languages and games. Just as a scoresheet records features of the evolution of a game to determine the effect of a move in that game, a conversational score records features of the evolution of a conversation to determine the effect of the linguistic moves that speakers make. Chess is particularly interesting for the study of conversational dynamics because it has language-like notations, and so serves as a simplified study in how the effect of an (...)
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  39. The Verbal Aspect Integral to the Perfect and Pluperfect Tense-forms in the Pauline Corpus: A Semantic and Pragmatic Analysis.James Sedlacek - 2022 - 2542 Pieterlen, Switzerland: Peter Lang.
    This book argues that the verbal aspect of the Greek Perfect is complex, involving not one but two aspects, where the perfective applies to events and the imperfective applies to states. These two aspects are connected to specific morphemes in the Perfect tense-form. This study analyses Perfect tense-forms in discursive text by focusing on the Pauline Corpus. The method is grounded in grammaticalisation studies and informed by morphology, comparative linguistics, and historical linguistics. The argument is further supported by a corpus-based (...)
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  40. Presuppositional exhaustification.Itai Bassi, Guillermo Del Pinal & Uli Sauerland - 2021 - Semantics and Pragmatics 14:1-42.
    Grammatical theories of Scalar Implicatures make use of an exhaustivity operator exh, which asserts the conjunction of the prejacent with the negation of excludable alternatives. We present a new Grammatical theory of Scalar Implicatures according to which exh is replaced with pex, an operator that contributes its prejacent as asserted content, but the negation of scalar alternatives at a non-at-issue level of meaning. We show that by treating this non-at-issue level as a presupposition, this theory resolves a number of empirical (...)
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  41. 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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  42. Knowledge, Hope, and Fallibilism.Matthew A. Benton - 2021 - Synthese 198:1673-1689.
    Hope, in its propositional construction "I hope that p," is compatible with a stated chance for the speaker that not-p. On fallibilist construals of knowledge, knowledge is compatible with a chance of being wrong, such that one can know that p even though there is an epistemic chance for one that not-p. But self-ascriptions of propositional hope that p seem to be incompatible, in some sense, with self-ascriptions of knowing whether p. Data from conjoining hope self-ascription with outright assertions, with (...)
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  43. The Pragmatics of All-Purpose Pejoratives.Víctor Carranza-Pinedo - 2021 - Proceedings of the 2021 Workshop on Context.
    This paper argues that all-purpose pejoratives such as ‘jerk’ or ‘bastard’ are just plain vanilla descriptions of personality traits that are generally seen as impairing for the self and for interpersonal relationships across different contexts. Thus, all-purpose pejoratives derogate their referents through generalized conversational implicatures: it is common knowledge that those who use these terms accept certain kind of (negative) evaluations and that uses of those terms express such evaluations. One of the main advantages of this approach is that it (...)
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  44. Oddness, modularity, and exhaustification.Guillermo Del Pinal - 2021 - Natural Language Semantics 29 (1):115-158.
    According to the `grammatical account', scalar implicatures are triggered by a covert exhaustification operator present in logical form. This account covers considerable empirical ground, but there is a peculiar pattern that resists treatment given its usual implementation. The pattern centers on odd assertions like #"Most lions are mammals" and #"Some Italians come from a beautiful country", which seem to trigger implicatures in contexts where the enriched readings conflict with information in the common ground. Magri (2009, 2011) argues that, to account (...)
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  45. Slur Reclamation – Polysemy, Echo, or Both?Zuzanna Jusińska - 2021 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 28 (3):689–707.
    This paper concerns the topic of slur reclamation. I start with presenting two seemingly opposing accounts of slur reclamation, Jeshion’s (2020) Polysemy view and Bianchi’s (2014) Echoic view. Then, using the data provided by linguists, I discuss the histories of the reclamation of the slur ‘queer’ and of the n-word, which bring me to presenting a view of reclamation that combines the Polysemy view and Echoic view. The Combined view of slur reclamation proposed in this paper postulates meaning change while (...)
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  46. How to have a metalinguistic dispute.Poppy Mankowitz - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):5603-5622.
    There has been recent interest in the idea that speakers who appear to be having a verbal dispute may in fact be engaged in a metalinguistic negotiation: they are communicating information about how they believe an expression should be used. For example, individuals involved in a dispute about whether a racehorse is an athlete might be communicating their diverging views about how ‘athlete’ should be used. While many have argued that metalinguistic negotiation is a pervasive feature of philosophical and everyday (...)
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  47. Pejoratives & Oughts.Teresa Marques - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (3):1109-1125.
    Chris Hom argued that slurs and pejoratives semantically express complex negative prescriptive properties, which are determined in virtue of standing in external causal relations to social ideologies and practices. He called this view Combinatorial Externalism. Additionally, he argued that Combinatorial Externalism entailed that slurs and pejoratives have null extensions. In this paper, I raise an objection that has not been raised in the literature so far. I argue that semantic theories like Hom’s are forced to choose between two alternatives: either (...)
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  48. Lies, Common Ground and Performative Utterances.Neri Marsili - 2021 - Erkenntnis 88 (2):567-578.
    In a recent book (_Lying and insincerity_, Oxford University Press, 2018), Andreas Stokke argues that one lies iff one says something one believes to be false, thereby proposing that it becomes common ground. This paper shows that Stokke’s proposal is unable to draw the right distinctions about insincere performative utterances. The objection also has repercussions on theories of assertion, because it poses a novel challenge to any attempt to define assertion as a proposal to update the common ground.
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  49. Assertion: a (partly) social speech act.Neri Marsili & Mitchell Green - 2021 - Journal of Pragmatics 181 (August 2021):17-28.
    In a series of articles (Pagin, 2004, 2009), Peter Pagin has argued that assertion is not a social speech act, introducing a method (which we baptize ‘the P-test’) designed to refute any account that defines assertion in terms of its social effects. This paper contends that Pagin's method fails to rebut the thesis that assertion is social. We show that the P-test is both unreliable (because it overgenerates counterexamples) and counterproductive (because it ultimately provides evidence in favor of some social (...)
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  50. Formal properties of "now" revisited.Una Stojnic & Daniel Altshuler - 2021 - Semantics and Pragmatics 14.
    The traditional view is that 'now’ is a pure indexical, denoting the utterance time. Yet, despite its initial appeal, the view has faced criticism. A range of data reveal 'now’ allows for discourse-bound (i.e., anaphoric) uses, and can occur felicitously with the past tense. The reaction to this has typically been to treat ‘now’ as akin to a true demonstrative, selecting the prominent time supplied by the non-linguistic context or prior discourse. We argue this is doubly mistaken. The first mistake (...)
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