Schemata and associative processes in pragmatics

Journal of Pragmatics 43 (8):2148-2159 (2011)
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The notion of schema has been given a major role by Recanati within his conception of primary pragmatic processes, conceived as a type of associative process. I intend to show that Recanati’s considerations on schemata may challenge the relevance theorist’s argument against associative explanations in pragmatics, and support an argument in favor of associative (versus inferential) explanations. More generally, associative relations can be shown to be schematic, that is, they have enough structure to license inferential effects without any appeal to genuine inferential processes. Associative processes are thus able to explain a number of pragmatic and linguistic phenomena which have instead been thought to require specialized inferential processes.

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Marco Mazzone
University of Catania


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