Is Semantics Really Psychologically Real?

In J. Larrazabal & L. Zubeldia (eds.), Meaning, Content and Argument. Proceedings of the ILCLI International Workshop on Semantics, Pragmatics, and Rhetoric. University of the Basque Country Press.. pp. 497-514 (2009)
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The starting point for this paper is a critical discussion of claims of psychological reality articulated within Borg’s (forth.) minimal semantics and Carpintero’s (2007) character*-semantics. It has been proposed, for independent reasons, that their respective accounts can accommodate, or at least avoid the challenge from psychological evidence. I outline their respective motivations, suggesting various shortcomings in their efforts of preserving the virtues of an uncontaminated semantics in the face of psychological objection (I-II), and try to make the case that, at least for a theory of utterance comprehension, a truth-conditional pragmatic stance is far preferable. An alternative from a relevance-theoretic perspective is offered in terms of mutual adjustment between truth-conditional content and implicature(s), arguing that many “free” pragmatic processes are needed to uncover the truth-conditional content, which can then warrant the expected implicature(s) (III). I finally illustrate the difficulties their accounts have in predicting the correct order of interpretation in cases of ironic metaphor, i.e. metaphor is computed first, as part of truth-conditional content, while irony is inferentially grounded in metaphorical content (IV).
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