Is Metalinguistic Usage a Conversational Implicature?

Topoi 42 (4):1027-1038 (2023)
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I argue against the view that metalinguistic usage is a form of conversational implicature. That view, suggested by Thomasson (Anal Philos 57(4):1-28, 2016) and Belleri (Philos Stud 174(9):2211–2226, 2017), has been most recently fleshed out by Mankowitz (Synthese 199:5603–5622, 2021). I provide two types of criticism to the implicature view. From an empirical point of view, metalinguistic usage differs in key respects from standard cases of conversational implicature. From a conceptual standpoint, I argue that the calculation algorithm provided by the implicature view makes undesirable predictions. Although my main objective is negative, I end the paper by sketching an alternative neo-Stalnakerian view of metalinguistic usage, that can be gathered from work by Barker (Linguist Philos 25(1):1–36, 2002; Inquiry 56(2–3):240–257, 2013) and others.



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Andres Ruiz
Ohio University

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Conceptual Ethics I.Alexis Burgess & David Plunkett - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (12):1091-1101.
Which Concepts Should We Use?: Metalinguistic Negotiations and The Methodology of Philosophy.David Plunkett - 2015 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (7-8):828-874.
Disagreements about taste.Timothy Sundell - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (2):267-288.
Metalinguistic Negotiation and Speaker Error.David Plunkett & Tim Sundell - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (1-2):142-167.

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