Explanatory roles for minimal content

Noûs 53 (3):513-539 (2019)
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Abstract

A standard objection to so-called ‘minimal semantics’ (Borg 2004, 2012, Cappelen and Lepore 2005) is that minimal contents are explanatorily redundant as they play no role in an adequate account of linguistic communication (those making this objection include Levinson 2000, Carston 2002, Recanati 2004). This paper argues that this standard objection is mistaken. Furthermore, I argue that seeing why the objection is mistaken sheds light both on how we should draw the classic Gricean distinction between saying and implicating, and how we should think about the key philosophical notion of assertion. Specifically, it reveals that these ideas are best understood primarily in socio-linguistic terms (resting on the degree of liability a speaker is held to have for linguistically conveyed content).

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Emma Borg
University of Reading

Citations of this work

Group Assertions and Group Lies.Neri Marsili - 2023 - Topoi 42 (2):369-384.
The dynamics of loose talk.Sam Carter - 2019 - Noûs 55 (1):171-198.
Sneaky Assertions.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2018 - Philosophical Perspectives 32 (1):188-218.

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References found in this work

Minimal semantics.Emma Borg - 2004 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Relevance.D. Sperber & Deirdre Wilson - 1986 - Communication and Cognition: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly Journal 2.

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