Truth-Conditional Pragmatics

Truth-Conditional Pragmatics

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Francois Recanati argues against the traditional understanding of the semantics/pragmatics divide and puts forward a radical alternative. Through half a dozen case studies, he shows that what an utterance says cannot be neatly separated from what the speaker means. In particular, the speaker's meaning endows words with senses that are tailored to the situation of utterance and depart from the conventional meanings carried by the words in isolation. This phenomenon of 'pragmatic modulation' must be taken into account in theorizing about semantic content, for it interacts with the grammar-driven process of semantic composition. Because of that interaction, Recanati argues, the content of a sentence always depends upon the context in which it is used. This claim defines Contextualism, a view which has attracted considerable attention in recent years, and of which Recanati is one of the main proponents.

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