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Logics of Conversation

Cambridge University Press (2003)

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  1. A Suppositional Theory of Conditionals.Sam Carter - 2021 - Mind 130 (520):1059–1086.
    Suppositional theories of conditionals take apparent similarities between supposition and conditionals as a starting point, appealing to features of the former to provide an account of the latter. This paper develops a novel form of suppositional theory, one which characterizes the relationship at the level of semantics rather than at the level of speech acts. In the course of doing so, it considers a range of novel data which shed additional light on how conditionals and supposition interact.
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  • Perspectival Plurality, Relativism, and Multiple Indexing.Dan Zeman - 2018 - In Rob Truswell, Chris Cummins, Caroline Heycock, Brian Rabern & Hannah Rohde (eds.), Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 21. Semantics Archives. pp. 1353-1370.
    In this paper I focus on a recently discussed phenomenon illustrated by sentences containing predicates of taste: the phenomenon of " perspectival plurality " , whereby sentences containing two or more predicates of taste have readings according to which each predicate pertains to a different perspective. This phenomenon has been shown to be problematic for (at least certain versions of) relativism. My main aim is to further the discussion by showing that the phenomenon extends to other perspectival expressions than predicates (...)
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  • Reporting and Interpreting Intentions in Defamation Law.Fabrizio Macagno - 2015 - In Alessandro Capone, Ferenc Kiefer & Franco Lo Piparo (eds.), Indirect Reports and Pragmatics. Cham: Imprint: Springer. pp. 593-619.
    The interpretation and the indirect reporting of a speaker’s communicative intentions lie at the crossroad between pragmatics, argumentation theory, and forensic linguistics. Since the leading case Masson v. New Yorker Magazine, Inc., in the United States the legal problem of determining the truth of a quotation is essentially equated with the correctness of its indirect reporting, i.e. the representation of the speaker’s intentions. For this reason, indirect reports are treated as interpretations of what the speaker intends to communicate. Theoretical considerations, (...)
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  • 'Now' with Subordinate Clauses.Sam Carter & Daniel Altshuler - 2017 - In Sam Carter & Daniel Altshuler (eds.), Proceedings of SALT 27. pp. 340-357.
    We investigate a novel use of the English temporal modifier ‘now’, in which it combines with a subordinate clause. We argue for a univocal treatment of the expression, on which the subordinating use is taken as basic and the non-subordinating uses are derived. We start by surveying central features of the latter uses which have been discussed in previous work, before introducing key observations regarding the subordinating use of ‘now’ and its relation to deictic and anaphoric uses. All of these (...)
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  • Normativity in Language and Law.Alex Silk - 2019 - In Toh Kevin, Plunkett David & Shapiro Scott (eds.), Dimensions of Normativity: New Essays on Metaethics and Jurisprudence. New York: Oxford University Press.
    This chapter develops an account of the meaning and use of various types of legal claims, and uses this account to inform debates about the nature and normativity of law. The account draws on a general framework for implementing a contextualist theory, called 'Discourse Contextualism' (Silk 2016). The aim of Discourse Contextualism is to derive the apparent normativity of claims of law from a particular contextualist interpretation of a standard semantics for modals, along with general principles of interpretation and conversation. (...)
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  • Clause-Type, Force, and Normative Judgment in the Semantics of Imperatives.Nate Charlow - 2018 - In Daniel Fogal, Daniel W. Harris & Matt Moss (eds.), New Work on Speech Acts. Oxford University Press. pp. 67–98.
    I argue that imperatives express contents that are both cognitively and semantically related to, but nevertheless distinct from, modal propositions. Imperatives, on this analysis, semantically encode features of planning that are modally specified. Uttering an imperative amounts to tokening this feature in discourse, and thereby proffering it for adoption by the audience. This analysis deals smoothly with the problems afflicting Portner's Dynamic Pragmatic account and Kaufmann's Modal account. It also suggests an appealing reorientation of clause-type theorizing, in which the cognitive (...)
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  • Implicatures and hierarchies of presumptions.Fabrizio Macagno - 2011 - In Frank Zenker (ed.), Argument Cultures: Proceedings of the 8th International Conference of the Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation (OSSA) (University of Windsor, ON 18-21 May 2011). OSSA. pp. 1-17.
    Implicatures are described as particular forms reasoning from best explanation, in which the para-digm of possible explanations consists of the possible semantic interpretations of a sentence or a word. The need for explanation will be shown to be triggered by conflicts between presumptions, namely hearer’s dialogical expectations and the presumptive sentence meaning. What counts as the best explanation can be established on the grounds of hierarchies of presumptions, dependent on dialogue types and interlocutors’ culture.
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  • Reasoning With Attitude.Luca Incurvati & Julian J. Schlöder - 2023 - New York: Oxford University Press USA.
  • Inferences and illocutions.David Botting - 2016 - Argument and Computation 6 (3):246-264.
    Volume 6, Issue 3, September 2015, Page 246-264.
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  • Communication and content.Prashant Parikh - 2019 - Berlin, Germany: Language Science Press.
    Communication and content presents a comprehensive and foundational account of meaning based on new versions of situation theory and game theory. The literal and implied meanings of an utterance are derived from first principles assuming little more than the partial rationality of interacting agents. New analyses of a number of diverse phenomena – a wide notion of ambiguity and content encompassing phonetics, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and beyond, vagueness, convention and conventional meaning, indeterminacy, universality, the role of truth in communication, semantic (...)
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  • Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 21.Rob Truswell, Chris Cummins, Caroline Heycock, Brian Rabern & Hannah Rohde (eds.) - 2018 - Semantics Archives.
    The present volume contains a collection of papers presented at the 21st annual meeting “Sinn und Bedeutung” of the Gesellschaft fur Semantik, which was held at the University of Edinburgh on September 4th–6th, 2016. The Sinn und Bedeutung conferences are one of the leading international venues for research in formal semantics.
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  • Emojis as Pictures.Emar Maier - 2023 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 10.
    I argue that emojis are essentially little pictures, rather than words, gestures, expressives, or diagrams. ???? means that the world looks like that, from some viewpoint. I flesh out a pictorial semantics in terms of geometric projection with abstraction and stylization. Since such a semantics delivers only very minimal contents I add an account of pragmatic enrichment, driven by coherence and nonliteral interpretation. The apparent semantic distinction between emojis depicting entities (like ????) and those depicting facial expressions (like ????) I (...)
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  • It’s all about logics?! Analyzing the rhetorical structure of multimodal filmic text.Janina Wildfeuer - 2018 - Semiotica 2018 (220):95-121.
    Name der Zeitschrift: Semiotica Jahrgang: 2018 Heft: 220 Seiten: 95-121.
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  • Profiles of Dialogue for Relevance.Douglas Walton & Fabrizio Macagno - 2016 - Informal Logic 36 (4):523-562.
    This paper uses argument diagrams, argumentation schemes, and some tools from formal argumentation systems developed in artificial intelligence to build a graph-theoretic model of relevance shown to be applicable as a practical method for helping a third party judge issues of relevance or irrelevance of an argument in real examples. Examples used to illustrate how the method works are drawn from disputes about relevance in natural language discourse, including a criminal trial and a parliamentary debate.
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  • Deceiving without answering.Peter van Elswyk - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 177 (5):1157-1173.
    Lying is standardly distinguished from misleading according to how a disbelieved proposition is conveyed. To lie, a speaker uses a sentence to say a proposition she does not believe. A speaker merely misleads by using a sentence to somehow convey but not say a disbelieved proposition. Front-and-center to the lying/misleading distinction is a conception of what-is-said by a sentence in a context. Stokke (2016, 2018) has recently argued that the standard account of lying/misleading is explanatorily inadequate unless paired with a (...)
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  • Inessential features, ineliminable features, and modal logics for model theoretic syntax.Hans-Jörg Tiede - 2008 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 17 (2):217-227.
    While monadic second-order logic (MSO) has played a prominent role in model theoretic syntax, modal logics have been used in this context since its inception. When comparing propositional dynamic logic (PDL) to MSO over trees, Kracht (1997) noted that there are tree languages that can be defined in MSO that can only be defined in PDL by adding new features whose distribution is predictable. He named such features “inessential features”. We show that Kracht’s observation can be extended to other modal (...)
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  • Book review: Klaus von Heusinger, Malte Zimmermann and Edgar Onea, Questions in Discourse: Vol. 1: Semantics Malte Zimmermann, Klaus von Heusinger and Edgar Onea, Questions in Discourse: Vol. 2: Pragmatics. [REVIEW]Chengjiao Sun - 2020 - Discourse Studies 22 (3):390-392.
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  • Pointing things out: in defense of attention and coherence.Una Stojnić, Matthew Stone & Ernie Lepore - 2020 - Linguistics and Philosophy 43 (2):139-148.
    Nowak and Michaelson have done us the service of presenting direct and clear worries about our account of demonstratives. In response, we use the opportunity to engage briefly with their remarks as a useful way to clarify our view.
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  • Meaning and Demonstration.Matthew Stone & Una Stojnic - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (1):69-97.
    In demonstration, speakers use real-world activity both for its practical effects and to help make their points. The demonstrations of origami mathematics, for example, reconfigure pieces of paper by folding, while simultaneously allowing their author to signal geometric inferences. Demonstration challenges us to explain how practical actions can get such precise significance and how this meaning compares with that of other representations. In this paper, we propose an explanation inspired by David Lewis’s characterizations of coordination and scorekeeping in conversation. In (...)
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  • Intention, interpretation and the computational structure of language.Matthew Stone - 2004 - Cognitive Science 28 (5):781-809.
    I show how a conversational process that takes simple, intuitively meaningful steps may be understood as a sophisticated computation that derives the richly detailed, complex representations implicit in our knowledge of language. To develop the account, I argue that natural language is structured in a way that lets us formalize grammatical knowledge precisely in terms of rich primitives of interpretation. Primitives of interpretation can be correctly viewed intentionally, as explanations of our choices of linguistic actions; the model therefore fits our (...)
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  • Deixis (even without pointing).Una Stojnic, Matthew Stone & Ernie Lepore - 2013 - Philosophical Perspectives 27 (1):502-525.
  • Discourse and logical form: pronouns, attention and coherence.Una Stojnić, Matthew Stone & Ernie Lepore - 2017 - Linguistics and Philosophy 40 (5):519-547.
    Traditionally, pronouns are treated as ambiguous between bound and demonstrative uses. Bound uses are non-referential and function as bound variables, and demonstrative uses are referential and take as a semantic value their referent, an object picked out jointly by linguistic meaning and a further cue—an accompanying demonstration, an appropriate and adequately transparent speaker’s intention, or both. In this paper, we challenge tradition and argue that both demonstrative and bound pronouns are dependent on, and co-vary with, antecedent expressions. Moreover, the semantic (...)
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  • And Lead Us (Not) into Persuasion…? Persuasive Technology and the Ethics of Communication.Andreas Spahn - 2012 - Science and Engineering Ethics 18 (4):633-650.
    The paper develops ethical guidelines for the development and usage of persuasive technologies (PT) that can be derived from applying discourse ethics to this type of technologies. The application of discourse ethics is of particular interest for PT, since ‘persuasion’ refers to an act of communication that might be interpreted as holding the middle between ‘manipulation’ and ‘convincing’. One can distinguish two elements of discourse ethics that prove fruitful when applied to PT: the analysis of the inherent normativity of acts (...)
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  • Local pragmatics in a Gricean framework.Mandy Simons - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (5):466-492.
    The pragmatic framework developed by H.P. Grice in “Logic and Conversation” explains how a speaker can mean something more than, or different from, the conventional meaning of the sentence she utters. But it has been argued that the framework cannot give a similar explanation for cases where these pragmatic effects impact the understood content of an embedded clause, such as the antecedent of a conditional, a clausal disjunct, or the clausal complement of a verb. In this paper, I show that (...)
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  • Local pragmatics and structured contents.Mandy Simons - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 168 (1):21-33.
    There is a long-standing and rarely contested view that Gricean conversational reasoning—the kind of reasoning that supports the identification of conversational implicatures—cannot produce pragmatically generated modification of the contents of embedded clauses. The goal of this paper is to argue against this view: to argue that embedded pragmatic effects can be seen as continuous with ordinary, utterance-level, conversational implicature. I will further suggest, though, that embedded pragmatic effects do force on us a particular conception of semantics. Specifically, I will argue (...)
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  • Markers of Topical Discourse in Child‐Directed Speech.Hannah Rohde & Michael C. Frank - 2014 - Cognitive Science 38 (8):1634-1661.
    Although the language we encounter is typically embedded in rich discourse contexts, many existing models of processing focus largely on phenomena that occur sentence-internally. Similarly, most work on children's language learning does not consider how information can accumulate as a discourse progresses. Research in pragmatics, however, points to ways in which each subsequent utterance provides new opportunities for listeners to infer speaker meaning. Such inferences allow the listener to build up a representation of the speakers' intended topic and more generally (...)
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  • Anticipatory looks reveal expectations about discourse relations.Hannah Rohde & William S. Horton - 2014 - Cognition 133 (3):667-691.
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  • Disambiguation in conversation: the case of disambiguating parentheticals.Stefano Predelli - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13569-13582.
    This essay presents an analysis of the conversational role of disambiguation, with special attention to disambiguating parentheticals such as 'bats, the furry animals, are not easy to find'. The essay proposes an enriched representation of conversational states as pairs of an interpretation function and standard common belief, it represents disambiguations within the ensuing framework, and, on the basis of these conceptual tools, it proposes a systematic picture of the updates achieved by disambiguating parentheticas.
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  • Argumentative Ordering of Utterances for Language Generation in Multi-party Human–Computer Dialogue.Vladimir Popescu & Jean Caelen - 2009 - Argumentation 23 (2):205-237.
    In trying to control various aspects concerning utterance production in multi-party human–computer dialogue, argumentative considerations play an important part, particularly in choosing appropriate lexical units so that we fine-tune the degree of persuasion that each utterance has. A preliminary step in this endeavor is the ability to place an ordering relation between semantic forms (that are due to be realized as utterances, by the machine), concerning their persuasion strength, with respect to certain (explicit or implicit) conclusions. Thus, in this article, (...)
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  • The Dynamics of Argumentative Discourse.Carlotta Pavese & Alexander W. Kocurek - 2022 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 51 (2):413-456.
    Arguments have always played a central role within logic and philosophy. But little attention has been paid to arguments as a distinctive kind of discourse, with its own semantics and pragmatics. The goal of this essay is to study the mechanisms by means of which we make arguments in discourse, starting from the semantics of argument connectives such as `therefore'. While some proposals have been made in the literature, they fail to account for the distinctive anaphoric behavior of `therefore', as (...)
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  • Lewis Carroll’s regress and the presuppositional structure of arguments.Carlotta Pavese - 2021 - Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (1):1-38.
    This essay argues that the main lesson of Lewis Carroll's Regress is that arguments are constitutively presuppositional.
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  • Super Linguistics: an introduction.Pritty Patel-Grosz, Salvador Mascarenhas, Emmanuel Chemla & Philippe Schlenker - 2023 - Linguistics and Philosophy Super Linguistics Special Issue.
    We argue that formal linguistic theory, properly extended, can provide a unifying framework for diverse phenomena beyond traditional linguistic objects. We display applications to pictorial meanings, visual narratives, music, dance, animal communication, and, more abstractly, to logical and non-logical concepts in the ‘language of thought’ and reasoning. In many of these cases, a careful analysis reveals that classic linguistic notions are pervasive across these domains, such as for instance the constituency (or grouping) core principle of syntax, the use of logical (...)
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  • Pragmatic enrichment as coherence raising.Peter Pagin - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 168 (1):59-100.
    This paper concerns the phenomenon of pragmatic enrichment, and has a proposal for predicting the occurrence of such enrichments. The idea is that an enrichment of an expressed content c occurs as a means of strengthening the coherence between c and a salient given content c’ of the context, whether c’ is given in discourse, as sentence parts, or through perception. After enrichment, a stronger coherence relation is instantiated than before enrichment. An idea of a strength scale of types of (...)
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  • Evidentiality, modality and probability.Norry Ogata & Elin McCready - 2007 - Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (2):147-206.
    We show in this paper that some expressions indicating source of evidence are part of propositional content and are best analyzed as special kind of epistemic modal. Our evidence comes from the Japanese evidential system. We consider six evidentials in Japanese, showing that they can be embedded in conditionals and under modals and that their properties with respect to modal subordination are similar to those of ordinary modals. We show that these facts are difficult for existing theories of evidentials, which (...)
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  • A squib on anaphora and coindexing.Reinhard Muskens - 2011 - Linguistics and Philosophy 34 (1):85-89.
    There are two kinds of semantic theories of anaphora. Some, such as Heim’s File Change Semantics, Groenendijk and Stokhof’s Dynamic Predicate Logic, or Muskens’ Compositional DRT (CDRT), seem to require full coindexing of anaphora and their antecedents prior to interpretation. Others, such as Kamp’s Discourse Representation Theory (DRT), do not require this coindexing and seem to have an important advantage here. In this squib I will sketch a procedure that the first group of theories may help themselves to so that (...)
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  • What man does.Eric McCready - 2008 - Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (6):671-724.
    This paper considers the meaning and use of the English particle man . It is shown that the particle does quite different things when it appears in sentence-initial and sentence-final position; the first use involves expression of an emotional attitude as well as, on a particular intonation, intensification; this use is analyzed using a semantics for degree predicates along with a separate dimension for the expressive aspect. Further restrictions on modification with the sentence-initial particle involving monotonicity and evidence are introduced (...)
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  • What man does.Elin McCready - 2009 - Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (6):671-724.
    This paper considers the meaning and use of the English particle man. It is shown that the particle does quite different things when it appears in sentence-initial and sentence-final position; the first use involves expression of an emotional attitude as well as, on a particular intonation, intensification; this use is analyzed using a semantics for degree predicates along with a separate dimension for the expressive aspect. Further restrictions on modification with the sentence-initial particle involving monotonicity and evidence are introduced and (...)
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  • Evidentiality, modality and probability.Eric McCready & Norry Ogata - 2007 - Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (2):147 - 206.
    We show in this paper that some expressions indicating source of evidence are part of propositional content and are best analyzed as special kind of epistemic modal. Our evidence comes from the Japanese evidential system. We consider six evidentials in Japanese, showing that they can be embedded in conditionals and under modals and that their properties with respect to modal subordination are similar to those of ordinary modals. We show that these facts are difficult for existing theories of evidentials, which (...)
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  • Emotive equilibria.Eric McCready - 2012 - Linguistics and Philosophy 35 (3):243-283.
    Natural language contains many expressions with underspecified emotive content. This paper proposes a way to resolve such underspecification. Nonmonotonic inference over a knowledge base is used to derive an expected interpretation for emotive expressions in a particular context. This ‘normal’ meaning is then taken to influence the hearer’s expectations about probable interpretations, and, because of these probable interpretations, the decisions of the speaker about when use of underspecified emotive terms is appropriate.
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  • Emotive equilibria.Elin McCready - 2012 - Linguistics and Philosophy 35 (3):243-283.
    Natural language contains many expressions with underspecified emotive content. This paper proposes a way to resolve such underspecification. Nonmonotonic inference over a knowledge base is used to derive an expected interpretation for emotive expressions in a particular context. This ‘normal’ meaning is then taken to influence the hearer’s expectations about probable interpretations, and, because of these probable interpretations, the decisions of the speaker about when use of underspecified emotive terms is appropriate.
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  • Rhetorical Structure Theory: looking back and moving ahead.William C. Mann & Maite Taboada - 2006 - Discourse Studies 8 (3):423-459.
    Rhetorical Structure Theory has enjoyed continuous attention since its origins in the 1980s. It has been applied, compared to other approaches, and also criticized in a number of areas in discourse analysis, theoretical linguistics, psycholinguistics, and computational linguistics. In this article, we review some of the discussions about the theory itself, especially addressing issues of the reliability of analyses and psychological validity, together with a discussion of the nature of text relations. We also propose areas for further research. A follow-up (...)
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  • Applications of Rhetorical Structure Theory.William C. Mann & Maite Taboada - 2006 - Discourse Studies 8 (4):567-588.
    Rhetorical Structure Theory is a theory of text organization that has led to areas of application beyond discourse analysis and text generation, its original goals. In this article, we review the most important applications in several areas: discourse analysis, theoretical linguistics, psycholinguistics, and computational linguistics. We also provide a list of resources useful for work within the RST framework. The present article is a complement to our review of the theoretical aspects of the theory.
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  • Unreliability and Point of View in Filmic Narration.Emar Maier - 2022 - Epistemology and Philosophy of Science 59 (2):23-37.
    Novels like Fight Club or American Psycho are said to be instances of unreliable narration: the first person narrator presents an evidently distorted picture of the fictional world. The film adaptations of these novels are likewise said to involve unreliable narration. I resist this extension of the term ‘unreliable narration’ to film. My argument for this rests on the observation that unreliable narration requires a personal narrator while film typically involves an impersonal narrator. The kind of ambiguous story-telling that we (...)
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  • Reconstructing Metaphorical Meaning.Fabrizio Macagno & Benedetta Zavatta - 2014 - Argumentation 28 (4):453-488.
    Metaphorical meaning can be analyzed as triggered by an apparent communicative breach, an incongruity that leads to a default of the presumptive interpretation of a vehicle. This breach can be solved through contextual renegotiations of meaning guided by the communicative intention, or rather the presumed purpose of the metaphorical utterance. This paper addresses the problem of analyzing the complex process of reasoning underlying the reconstruction of metaphorical meaning. This process will be described as a type of abductive argument, aimed at (...)
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  • Presumptive Reasoning in Interpretation. Implicatures and Conflicts of Presumptions.Fabrizio Macagno - 2012 - Argumentation 26 (2):233-265.
    This paper shows how reasoning from best explanation combines with linguistic and factual presumptions during the process of retrieving a speaker’s intention. It is shown how differences between presumptions need to be used to pick the best explanation of a pragmatic manifestation of a dialogical intention. It is shown why we cannot simply jump to an interpretative conclusion based on what we presume to be the most common purpose of a speech act, and why, in cases of indirect speech acts, (...)
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  • Classifying the patterns of natural arguments.Fabrizio Macagno & Douglas Walton - 2015 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 48 (1): 26-53.
    The representation and classification of the structure of natural arguments has been one of the most important aspects of Aristotelian and medieval dialectical and rhetorical theories. This traditional approach is represented nowadays in models of argumentation schemes. The purpose of this article is to show how arguments are characterized by a complex combination of two levels of abstraction, namely, semantic relations and types of reasoning, and to provide an effective and comprehensive classification system for this matrix of semantic and quasilogical (...)
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  • Discourse dynamics, pragmatics, and indefinites.Karen S. Lewis - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (2):313-342.
    Discourse dynamics, pragmatics, and indefinites Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-30 DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9882-y Authors Karen S. Lewis, Department of Philosophy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
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  • Semantics, Coherence, and Intentions: Reply to Carston, Collins and Hawthorne.Ernie Lepore & Matthew Stone - 2016 - Mind and Language 31 (5):646-654.
  • Figures of dialogue: a view from Ludics.Alain Lecomte & Myriam Quatrini - 2011 - Synthese 183 (S1):59-85.
    In this paper, we study dialogue as a game, but not only in the sense in which there would exist winning strategies and a priori rules. Dialogue is not governed by game rules like for chess or other games, since even if we start from a priori rules, it is always possible to play with them, provided that some invariant properties are preserved. An important discovery of Ludics is that such properties may be expressed in geometrical terms. The main feature (...)
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  • Abductive understanding of dialogues about joint activities.Pat Langley, Ben Meadows, Alfredo Gabaldon & Richard Heald - 2014 - Interaction Studies 15 (3):426-454.
    This paper examines the task of understanding dialogues in terms of the mental states of the participating agents. We present a motivating example that clarifies the challenges this problem involves and then outline a theory of dialogue interpretation based on abductive inference of these unobserved beliefs and goals, incremental construction of explanations, and reliance on domain-independent knowledge. After this, we describe UMBRA, an implementation of the theory that embodies these assumptions. We report experiments with the system that demonstrate its ability (...)
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