First published Tue Nov 28, 2006
When a diplomat says yes, he means ‘perhaps’;
When he says perhaps, he means ‘no’;
When he says no, he is not a diplomat.
When a lady says no, she means ‘perhaps’;
When she says perhaps, she means ‘yes’;
When she says yes, she is not a lady.
Voltaire (Quoted, in Spanish, in Escandell 1993.)
These lines — also attributed to H. L. Mencken and Carl Jung — although perhaps politically incorrect, are surely correct in reminding us that more is involved in what one communicates than what one literally says; more is involved in what one means than the standard, conventional meaning of the words one uses. The words ‘yes,’ ‘perhaps,’ and ‘no’ each has a perfectly identifiable meaning, known by every speaker of English (including not very competent ones). However, as those lines illustrate, it is possible for different speakers in different circumstances to mean different things using those words. How is this possible? What's the relationship among the meaning of words, what speakers mean when uttering those words, the particular circumstances of their utterance, their intentions, their actions, and what they manage to communicate? These are some of the questions that pragmatics tries to answer; the sort of questions that, roughly speaking, serve to characterize the field of pragmatics. ________________________________________
Pragmatics deals with utterances, by which we will mean specific events, the intentional acts of speakers at times and places, typically involving language. Logic and semantics traditionally deal with properties of types of expressions, and not with properties that differ from token to token, or use to use, or, as we shall say, from utterance to utterance, and vary with the particular properties that differentiate them. Pragmatics is sometimes characterized as dealing with the effects of context. This is equivalent to saying it deals with utterances, if one collectively refers to all the facts that can vary from utterance to utterance as ‘context.’ One must be careful, however, for the term is often used with more limited meanings. Different theorists have focused on different properties of utterances. To discuss them it will be helpful to make a distinction between ‘near-side pragmatics’ and ‘far-side pragmatics.’ The picture is this. The utterances philosophers usually take as paradigmatic are assertive uses of declarative sentences, where the speaker says something. Near-side pragmatics is concerned with the nature of certain facts that are relevant to determining what is said. Far-side pragmatics is focused on what happens beyond saying: what speech acts are performed in or by saying what is said, or what implicatures (see below for an explanation of this term) are generated by saying what is said. Near-side pragmatics includes, but is not limited to resolution of ambiguity and vagueness, the reference of proper names, indexicals and demonstratives, and anaphors, and at least some issues involving presupposition. In all of these cases facts about the utterance, beyond the expressions used and their meanings, are needed. We can divide these facts into several categories. For indexicals such as ‘I,’ ‘now,’ and ‘here’ basic facts about the utterance are required: the agent, and when and where it occurred. For other indexicals and demonstratives, speaker intentions are also relevant. While it seems the referent of ‘you’ must be a person addressed by the speaker, which of several possible addressees is referred to seems up to the speaker's intentions. Within syntactic and semantic constraints, anaphoric relations seem largely a matter of speaker's intent. Speaker's intentions and the way the speaker is connected to the wider world by causal/historical ‘chains of reference’ are relevant to the reference of proper names. Far-side pragmatics deals with what we do with language, beyond what we (literally) say. This is the conception...
Bibliography: • Asher, Nicholas and Alex Lascarides, 1998, "The semantics and pragmatics of presupposition." Journal of Semantics, 15, 239-299.
• Bach, Kent, 1987, "On Communicative Intentions: A Reply to Recanati," Mind and Language 2: 141-154.
• Bach, Kent, 1999b, "The myth of conventional implicature." Linguistics and Philosophy 22: 262-83.
• (Against Grice 's category of conventional implicatures.)
• Bach, Kent, 2001, "Semantically speaking." In I
• Bach, Kent, 2004, "Pragmatics and the Philosophy of Language." In Horn and Ward (eds.) 2004, pp. 463-87.
• Bach, Kent and Robert M. Harnish, 1979, Linguistic Communication and Speech Acts. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. (Influential effort to integrate speech act theory and the Gricean theory of conversational implicatures).
• Bach, Kent and Robert M. Harnish, 1992, "How performatives really work: A reply to Searle." Linguistics and Philosophy 15: 93-110.
• Bar-Hillel, Yehoshua, 1954, "Indexical Expressions." Mind 63: 359-79. Reprinted in Kasher 1998, vol. 1, pp. 23-40.
• Beaver, David, 2002, "Presupposition in DRT." In David Beaver, Luis Casillas, Brady Clark, and Stefan Kaufmann, editors, The Construction of Meaning. Stanford: CSLI Publications, 2002.
• Blackburn, Simon, 1984, Spreading the word: groundings in the philosophy of language. New York: Oxford University Press.
• Blakemore, Diane, 1992, Understanding Utterances. Oxford: Blackwell. (Introduction to Relevance Theory.)
• Burton-Roberts, Noel, 1989a, "On Horn 's dilemma: Presupposition and negation." Journal of Linguistics 25, 95-125
• Burton-Roberts, Noel, 1989b, The limits to debate: A revised theory of semantic presupposition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
• Burton-Roberts, Noel, 1999, "Presupposition-cancellation and metalinguistic negation: a reply to Carston." Journal of Linguistics 35, 347-64.
• Cappelen, Herman & Ernest Lepore, 2005, Insensitive Semantics. A Defence of Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism. Oxford: Blackwell.
• Carnap, Rudolf, 1942, Introduction to Semantics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
• Carston, Robyn, 1998, "Negation, ‘presupposition’ and the semantics-pragmatics distinction." Journal of Linguistics 34, 309-50.
• Carston, Robyn, 1999, "The semantics/pragmatics distinction: A view from Relevance Theory." In Ken Turner (ed.), The Semantics/Pragmatics Interface from Different Points of View, 1999, 85-125.
• Carston, Robyn, 1999a, "Negation, ‘presupposition’ and metarepresentation: a reply to Noel Burton-Roberts." Journal of Linguistics 35, 365-89.
• Chapman, Siobhan, 2005, Paul Grice, philosopher and linguist. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan. (Intellectual biography of Paul Grice.)
• Clark, Herbert H., 2003
• Davies, Martin, 1995, "Philosophy of Language." In N. Bunnin eta E. Tsui-James (eds.) The Blackwell Companion to Philosophy, Oxford: Blackwell, 90-139.
• Davis, Steven, 1991, Pragmatics. A reader. (Comprehensive collection of fundamental papers in pragmatics.) Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• Donnellan, Keith, 1966, "Reference and Definite Descriptions." Philosophical Review 75: 281-304. Reprinted in A. P. Martinich (ed.), The Philosophy of Language. 2nd edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, pp. 235-247.
• Escandell, Victoria, 1993, Introducción a la pragmática. Barcelona: Anthropos. (Updated edition 1996, in Barcelona: Ariel.) (Introduction to Pragmatics in Spanish.)
• Fotion, Nick, 1995, "Pragmatics." In T
• Gazdar, Gerald, 1979, Pragmatics: Implicature, Presupposition, and Logical Form. New York: Academic Press.
• Green, Georgia, 1989. Pragmatics and Natural Language Understanding. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum.
• Grice, H. Paul, 1957, "Meaning," Philosophical Review 66: 377-88. Reprinted in H. P. Grice, 1989, pp. 213-23. (Grice 's seminal paper on M-intentions.)
• Grice, H
• Grice, H. Paul, 1967b, "Further notes on logic and conversation." In P. Cole (ed.) 1978 Syntax and Semantics 9: Pragmatics, New York: Academic Press. Reprinted in Grice, 1989: 41-57.
• Grice, H. Paul, 1968, "Utterer 's Meaning, Sentence-Meaning, and Word-Meaning." Foundations of Language 4: 225-242. Reprinted in H. P. Grice, 1989, pp. 117-137.
• Grice, H. Paul, 1969, "Utterer 's Meaning and Intentions," Philosophical Review 78: 147-177. Reprinted in H. P. Grice, 1989, pp. 86-116.
• Grice, H. Paul, 1981, "Presupposition and Conversational Implicature." In P. Cole (ed.), Radical Pragmatics, New York: Academic Press, 1981, pp. 183-97. Reprinted in H. P. Grice, 1989, pp. 269-82.
• Grice, H. Paul, 1982, "Meaning Revisited." In N. V. Smith (ed.), Mutual Knowledge, London: Academic Press, pp. 223-243. Reprinted in H. P. Grice, 1989, pp. 283-303.
• Heim, Irene, 1992, "Presupposition projection and the semantics of attitude verbs." Journal of Semantics 9: 183-221.
• Horn, Laurence R., 1984, "Toward a new taxonomy of pragmatic inference: Q-based and R-based implicature." In D. Schiffrin (ed.) Meaning, Form and Use in Context (GURT '84), Washington: Georgetown University Press, 1984, pp. 11-42.
• Horn, Laurence R., 1989, A Natural History of Negation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
• Horn, Laurence R., 1995, "Presupposition and implicature." In Shalom Lappin, editor, The Handbook of Contemporary Semantic Theory, Oxford: Blackwell, 299-319.
• Horn, Laurence R., 2004, "Implicature." In Horn and Ward (eds.) 2004, pp. 3-28.
• Kaplan, David, 1989, "Demonstratives," in Almog, Joseph, John Perry and Howard Wettstein, eds., Themes From Kaplan. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.
• Karttunen, Lauri, 1973, "Presuppositions and compound sentences." Linguistic Inquiry 4: 169-93.
• Karttunen, Lauri, 1974, "Presupposition and linguistic context." Theoretical Linguistics 1: 3-44.
• Karttunen, Lauri and Stanley Peters, 1979, "Conventional Implicature." In C. K. Oh and D. Dinnen (eds.), Syntax and Semantics 11: Presupposition. New York: Academic Press.
• Kempson, Ruth M., 1988, "Grammar and Conversational Principles." In F. Newmeyer (ed.) Linguistics: The Cambridge Survey, Vol. II. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 139-163.
• Korta, Kepa and John Perry, 2006, "Three demonstrations and a funeral," Mind and Language 21/2: 166-186.
• Lepore, Ernest and Robert van Gulick (eds.), 1991, John Searle and his critics. Oxford: Blackwell.
• Levinson, Stephen, 1983, Pragmatics. New York: Cambridge University Press. (One of the first systematic introductions to pragmatics.)
• Levinson, Stephen, 2000
• Lycan, William, 1995, "Philosophy of Language." In R. Audi (ed.), The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 586-589.
• Neale, Stephen, 1992, "Paul Grice and the Philosophy of Language," Linguistics and Philosophy 15: 509-559. (Thorough review of Grice 's Studies in the way of words).
• Neale, Stephen, 2004, "This, that, and the other," In M. Reimer and A. Bezuidenhout (eds.) Descriptions and Beyond, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 68-182.
• Perry, John, 1986, "Thought without representation." Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary volume 60: 137-51. Reprinted in Perry 2000, pp. 171-188.
• Perry, John, 2000, The Problem of the Essential Indexical and Other Essays. (Expanded edition.) Stanford: CSLI Publications.
• Perry, John, 2001, Reference and Reflexivity. Stanford: CSLI Publications. (Translated into Spanish by Kepa Korta and Rodrigo Agerri, Referencialismo Crítico, Stanford: CSLI Publications, 2006).
• Perry, John, 2003, "Unarticulated Constituents Revisited." Talk at SPR-03. Donostia, November 2003.
• Recanati, François, 1986, "On Defining Communicative Intentions," Mind and Language 1: 213-242.
• Recanati, François, 1989, "The Pragmatics of What is Said." Mind and Language 4: 295-329.
• Recanati, François, 2002, "Unarticulated Constituents." Linguistics and Philosophy 25: 299-345.
• Recanati, François, 2004, Literal meaning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Recanati 's defence of a contextualist view on meaning.)
• Reichenbach, Hans, 1947, Elements of Symbolic Logic
• Reimer, Marga and Anne Bezuidenhout, A., 2004, Descriptions and beyond. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Collection of papers on the semantics and pragmatics of descriptions and other singular terms.)
• Schiffer, Stephen, 1972, Meaning
• Searle, John, 1965, "What is a speech act?" In M. Black (ed.), Philosophy in America. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
• Soames, Scott, 1989, "Presupposition." In D. Gabbay and F. Guenthner (eds.) Handbook of Philosophical Logic, vol IV: Topics in the philosophy of language. Dordrecht: Kluwer, pp. 553-616.
• Sperber, Dan and Deirdre Wilson, 2002, "Pragmatics, modularity and mindreading." Mind and Language 17: 3-23.
• Stalnaker, Robert, 1999, Context and Content. Oxford: Oxford University press.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document