Thoughts and Utterances : The Pragmatics of Explicit Communication, Paperback

Thoughts and Utterances : The Pragmatics of Explicit Communication Paperback


Thoughts and Utterances is the first sustained investigation of two distinctions that are fundamental to all theories of utterance understanding: the semantics/pragmatics distinction and the distinction between what is explicitly and what is implicitly communicated.The central claim of this book is that the linguistically encoded meaning of an utterance underdetermines the propositions explicitly communicated by the utterance.

The arguments and analyses are developed within the relevance-theoretic framework of Dan Sperber and Deirdre Wilson, so the approach is resolutely cognitive, focussing on the representational levels and mental processes involved in utterance interpretation.

However, extensive comparison is made throughout with other pragmatic frameworks, including those of Paul Grice, Francois Recanati and Kent Bach, which are more philosophically based, and that of Stephen Levinson, which has a more linguistic and computational orientation.

Finally, this volume assesses and attempts to reconcile the different perspectives of theories of human semantic competence and accounts of the pragmatic processes involved in communication and interpretation.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 432 pages, 0
  • Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Philosophy of language
  • ISBN: 9780631214885



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