The Act of Meaning

In G. Cosenza (ed.), Paul Grice's Heritage. pp. 9--33 (2001)
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Speaker’s meaning is the act at the core of meaning shift, where meaning can be the very act or its output. What are its conditions, which intentions direct it? What’s its mechanics? I will give a first answer to the first question. Then, I will discuss the mechanics of speaker’s meaning, as well as meaningful links different from speaker’s meaning. This will bring me to surmise a second answer to the first question. Along the way, I will compare the act of meaning with other acts. In closing, I will try a limited elucidation of the notion of intention, which I use throughout. On these issues there is the conspicuous tradition of studies, originating from the late Paul Grice, to confront us with. Rather naturally, I will move from it. But I am interested in the notion of speaker’s meaning and its place in an analysis of meaning, and not in that tradition as such. The notion of speaker’s meaning, I think, is relevant even for those who do not subscribe to a Gricean approach to meaning, as I don’t.
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