Can Uses of Language in Thought Provide Linguistic Evidence?

In Erich Rast & Luiz Carlos Baptista (eds.), Meaning and Context. Peter Lang. pp. 269-291 (2010)
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In this article I focus on the argument that Jeff Speaks develops in Speaks (2008). There, Speaks distinguishes between uses of language in conversation and uses of language in thought. Speaks’s argument is that a phenomenon that appears both when using language in communication and when using language in thought cannot be explained in Gricean conversational terms. A Gricean account of implicature involves having very complicated beliefs about the audience, which turn out to be extremely bizarre if the speaker is her own and only audience. Therefore, it is extremely implausible that we implicate anything when using language in thought. So, an episode of using language in thought needs to be explained in some other way. This article is an attempt to clarify the notion of a use of language in thought, and ultimately to argue that there are no uses of language that satisfy all the conditions that are needed for Speaks’s argument to work.
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