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A plea for pragmatics

Synthese 170 (1):155 - 167 (2009)

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  1. Information Centrism and the Nature of Contexts.Torfinn Thomesen Huvenes & Andreas Stokke - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (2):301-314.
    Information Centrism is the view that contexts consist of information that can be characterized in terms of the propositional attitudes of the conversational participants. Furthermore, it claims that this notion of context is the only one needed for linguistic theorizing about context-sensitive languages. We argue that Information Centrism is false, since it cannot account correctly for facts about truth and reference in certain cases involving indexicals and demonstratives. Consequently, contexts cannot be construed simply as collections of shared information.
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  • Heidegger's Logico-Semantic Strikeback.Alberto Voltolini - 2015 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 22:19-38.
    In (1959), Carnap famously attacked Heidegger for having constructed an insane metaphysics based on a misconception of both the logical form and the semantics of ordinary language. In what follows, it will be argued that, once one appropriately (i.e., in a Russellian fashion) reads Heidegger’s famous sentence that should paradigmatically exemplify such a misconception, i.e., “the nothing nothings”, there is nothing either logically or semantically wrong with it. The real controversy as to how that sentence has to be evaluated—not as (...)
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  • Context Dependence.Kent Bach - 2012 - In Manuel García-Carpintero & Max Kölbel (eds.), The Continuum Companion to the Philosophy of Language. Continuum International.
    All sorts of things are context-dependent in one way or another. What it is appropriate to wear, to give, or to reveal depends on the context. Whether or not it is all right to lie, harm, or even kill depends on the context. If you google the phrase ‘depends on the context’, you’ll get several hundred million results. This chapter aims to narrow that down. In this context the topic is context dependence in language and its use. It is commonly (...)
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  • Why Bare Demonstratives Need Not Semantically Refer.J. P. Smit - 2012 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 42 (1):43-66.
    I-theories of bare demonstratives take the semantic referent of a demonstrative to be determined by an inner state of the utterer. E-theories take the referent to be determined by factors external to the utterer. I argue that, on the Standard view of communication, neither of these theories can be right. Firstly, both are committed to the existence of conventions with superfluous content. Secondly, any claim to the effect that a speaker employs the conventions associated with these theories cannot have any (...)
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  • Communication and Indexical Reference.Jonas Åkerman - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 149 (3):355 - 366.
    In the debate over what determines the reference of an indexical expression on a given occasion of use, we can distinguish between two generic positions. According to the first, the reference is determined by internal factors, such as the speaker’s intentions. According to the second, the reference is determined by external factors, like conventions or what a competent and attentive audience would take the reference to be. It has recently been argued that the first position is untenable, since there are (...)
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  • The Communication Desideratum and Theories of Indexical Reference.Jonas Åkerman - 2015 - Mind and Language 30 (4):474–499.
    According to the communication desideratum (CD), a notion of semantic content must be adequately related to communication. In the recent debate on indexical reference, (CD) has been invoked in arguments against the view that intentions determine the semantic content of indexicals and demonstratives (intentionalism). In this paper, I argue that the interpretations of (CD) that these arguments rely on are questionable, and suggest an alternative interpretation, which is compatible with (strong) intentionalism. Moreover, I suggest an approach that combines elements of (...)
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  • Wittgenstein and Situation Comedy.Laurence Goldstein - 2009 - Philosophia 37 (4):605-627.
    Wittgenstein discusses speakers exploiting context to inject meaning into the sentences that they use. One facet of situation comedy is context-injected ambiguity, where scriptwriters artfully construct situations such that, because of conflicting contextual clues, a character, though uttering a sentence that contains neither ambiguous words nor amphibolous contruction may plausibly be interpreted in at least two distinct ways. This highlights an important distinction between the (concise) sentence that a speaker uses and what the speaker means, the disclosure of which may (...)
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  • Metasemantics, Intentions and Circularity.Lukas Lewerentz & Benjamin Marschall - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1667-1679.
    According to intentionalism, a demonstrative d refers to an object o only if the speaker intends d to refer to o. Intentionalism is a popular view in metasemantics, but Gauker has recently argued that it is circular. We defend intentionalism against this objection, by showing that Gauker’s argument rests on a misconstrual of the aim of metasemantics. We then introduce two related, but distinct circularity objections: the worry that intentionalism is uninformative, and the problem of intentional bootstrapping, according to which (...)
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  • Indexicals and the Metaphysics of Semantic Tokens: When Shapes and Sounds Become Utterances.Cathal O'Madagain - 2014 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (1):71-79.
    To avoid difficulties facing intention-based accounts of indexicals, Cohen () recently defends a conventionalist account that focuses on the context of tokening. On this view, a token of ‘here’ or ‘now’ refers to the place or time at which it tokens. However, although promising, such an account faces a serious problem: in many speech acts, multiple apparent tokens are produced. If I call Alaska from Paris and say ‘I'm here now’, an apparent token of my utterance will be produced in (...)
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  • Toward a Sharp Semantics/Pragmatics Distinction.Megan Henricks Stotts - forthcoming - Synthese.
    The semantics/pragmatics distinction was once considered central to the philosophy of language, but recently the distinction’s viability and importance have been challenged. In opposition to the growing movement away from the distinction, I argue that we really do need it, and that we can draw the distinction sharply if we draw it in terms of the distinction between non-mental and mental phenomena. On my view, semantic facts arise from context-independent meaning, compositional rules, and non-mental elements of context, whereas pragmatic facts (...)
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  • Ways of Using Words: On Semantic Intentions.Emanuel Viebahn - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Intentionalism is the view that demonstratives, gradable adjectives, quantifiers, modals and other context‐sensitive expressions are intention‐sensitive: their semantic value on a given use is fixed by speaker intentions. The first aim of this paper is to defend Intentionalism against three recent objections, according to which speakers at least sometimes do not have suitable intentions when using supposedly intention‐sensitive expressions. Its second aim is to thereby shed light on the so far little‐explored question of which kinds of intentions can be semantically (...)
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  • Indexicals and Reference‐Shifting: Towards a Pragmatic Approach.Jonas Åkerman - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (1):117-152.
    I propose a pragmatic approach to the kind of reference-shifting occurring in indexicals as used in e.g. written notes and answering machine messages. I proceed in two steps. First, I prepare the ground by showing that the arguments against such a pragmatic approach raised in the recent literature fail. Second, I take a first few steps towards implementing this approach, by sketching a pragmatic theory of reference-shifting, and showing how it can handle cases of the relevant kind. While the immediate (...)
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  • Testimony and the Epistemic Uncertainty of Interpretation.Andrew Peet - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (2):395-416.
    In the epistemology of testimony it is often assumed that audiences are able to reliably recover asserted contents. In the philosophy of language this claim is contentious. This paper outlines one problem concerning the recovery of asserted contents, and argues that it prevents audiences from gaining testimonial knowledge in a range of cases. The recovery problem, in essence, is simply that due to the collective epistemic limitations of the speaker and audience speakers will, in certain cases, be insensitive to the (...)
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  • Character, Impropriety, and Success: A Unified Account of Indexicals.Allyson Mount - 2015 - Mind and Language 30 (1):1-21.
    Core indexicals like ‘I’, ‘here’, and ‘now’ sometimes appear to refer to an object, place, or time other than the speaker, location, or time of utterance. This presents well-known problems for Kaplan's view, which treats reference shifting as a violation of the character rules that give the meaning of indexicals. I propose a view according to which indexical reference is essentially a matter of the mutually-accepted perspective of interlocutors. It follows that contexts need not be ‘proper’ in Kaplan's sense, and (...)
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  • I Am Still Not Here Now.Stefano Predelli - 2011 - Erkenntnis 74 (3):289-303.
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