Exhaustiveness, normativity, and communicative responsibilities

In Piotr Stalmaszczyk & Martin Hinton (ed.), Philosophical Approaches to Language and Communication Vol. 2. Berlin, Németország: pp. 291-312 (2022)
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In this paper we analyze and discuss Jennifer Saul’s account of the famous Gricean notions of ‘what is said’ and ‘what is implicated’ and the alleged conflict between them and the so- called Speaker- Meaning Exhaustiveness Thesis (SMET), which is standardly attributed to Grice in the literature. SMET declares that speaker- meaning divides exhaustively into what is said and what is (conventionally or nonconventionally) implicated by the speaker. After a detailed interpretation of Saul’s position, we argue that her analysis partly misconstrues the relation between Grice’s theory of speaker- meaning and his normative account of conversational implicature. First of all, because SMET is not a genuine part of the Gricean theory of language and meaning – Grice was never committed to it. Secondly, Saul’s interpretation of the Gricean account of conversational implicature does not reflect accurately his original ideas. Although we agree with Saul that conversational implicature has an essential normative aspect, her account cannot capture well the real nature of this normativity, since it does not identify its source and does not delineate its scope. Finally, we present an alternative, speaker- oriented normative interpretation of Grice’s account of conversational implicatures, and argue that it fits better with the Gricean picture of communication and handles better the various problematic cases of conversational implicature than Saul’s mainly audience- oriented interpretation.
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Archival date: 2022-05-27
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