Pragmatic Particularism

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 105 (1):62-78 (2021)
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For the Intentionalist, utterance content is wholly determined by a speaker’s meaning-intentions; the sentence uttered serves merely to facilitate the audience’s recovering these intentions. We argue that Intentionalists ought to be Particularists, holding that the only “principles” of meaning recovery needed are those governing inferences to the best explanation; “principles” that are both defeasible and, in a sense to be elaborated, variable. We discuss some ways in which some theorists have erred in trying to tame the “wild west” of pragmatics and context-sensitivity -- including recent work that makes essential appeal to the information structure of a discourse -- and in so doing, offer a general recipe for defending the Particularist picture of utterance content and its recovery that we favor.

Author Profiles

Ray Buchanan
University of Texas at Austin
Henry Ian Schiller
University of Sheffield


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