Implicatures as Forms of Argument

In Alessandro Capone (ed.), Perspectives on Pragmatics and Philosophy. Berlin, Germany: pp. 203-224 (2013)
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In this paper, we use concepts, structure and tools from argumentation theory to show how conversational implicatures are triggered by conflicts of presumptions. Presumptive implicatures are shown to be based on defeasible forms of inference used in conditions of lack of knowledge, including analogical reasoning, inference to the best explanation, practical reasoning, appeal to pity, and argument from cause. Such inferences are modelled as communicative strategies to knowledge gaps that shift the burden of providing the missing contrary evidence to the other party in a dialogue. Through a series of illustrative examples, we show how such principles of inference are based on common knowledge about the ordinary course of events shared by participants in a structured dialogue setting in which they take turns putting forward and responding to speech acts.

Author Profiles

Fabrizio Macagno
Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa
Douglas Walton
Last affiliation: University of Windsor


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