Advertisement

Philosophical Studies

, Volume 174, Issue 6, pp 1617–1627 | Cite as

Pragmatic force in semantic context

  • Elisabeth CampEmail author
Article
  • 488 Downloads

Abstract

Stalnaker’s Context deploys the core machinery of common ground, possible worlds, and epistemic accessibility to mount a powerful case for the ‘autonomy of pragmatics’: the utility of theorizing about discourse function independently of specific linguistic mechanisms. Illocutionary force lies at the peripherybetween pragmatics—as the rational, non-conventional dynamics of context change—and semantics—as a conventional compositional mechanism for determining truth-conditional contents—in an interesting way. I argue that the conventionalization of illocutionary force, most notably in assertion, has important crosscontextual consequences that are not fully captured by a specification of dynamic effects on common ground. More generally, I suggest that Stalnaker’s purely informational, propositional analysis of both semantic content and dynamic effects distorts our understanding of the function of language, especially of the real-world commitments and consequences engendered by robustly ‘expressive’ language like slurs, honorifics, and thick terms.

Semantics Pragmatics Illocutionary force Expressivism Truth-conditional content 

References

  1. Asher, N., & Lascarides, A. (2003). Logics of conversation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bach, K. (1999). The myth of conventional implicature. Linguistics and Philosophy, 22, 367–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bollinger, D. (1972). Accent is predictable (if you’re a mind reader). Language, 48, 633–644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brandom, R. (1983). Asserting. Noûs, 17, 637–650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Camp, E. (2013). Slurring perspectives. Analytic Philosophy, 54(3), 330–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Camp, E. (2016). Conventions’ revenge: Davidson, derangement, and dormativity. Inquiry, 59(1), 113–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Camp, E. (forthcoming a). Insinuation, indirection, and the conversational record. In D. Harris & M. Moss (Eds.), New work in speech acts. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Camp, E. (forthcoming b). Expressivism. In T. McPherson & D. Plunkett (Eds.), Routledge handbook of metaethics. New York: Routledge Press.Google Scholar
  9. Camp, E. (forthcoming c). Slurs as dual-act expressions. In D. Sosa (Ed.), Bad words. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Clark, H. (2005). Coordinating with each other in a material world. Discourse Studies, 7(4/5), 507–525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Davidson, D. (1979). Moods and performances. In A. Margalit (Ed.), Meaning and use (pp. 9–20). Dordrecht: D. Reidel.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fraser, B. (1999). What are discourse markers? Journal of Pragmatics, 31, 931–952.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gibbard, A. (1992). Thick concepts and warrant for feelings. Proceedings of The Aristotelian Society Supplementary, 66, 267–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gibbard, A. (2003). Thinking how to live. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Hornsby, J. (1995). Disempowered speech. Philosophical Topics, 23(2), 127–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jeshion, R. (forthcoming). Slurs, dehumanization, and the expression of contempt. In D. Sosa (Ed.), Bad words. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Langton, R. (1993). Speech acts and unspeakable acts. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 22(4), 293–330.Google Scholar
  18. Lewis, D. (1970). General semantics. Synthese, 22(1/2), 18–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lewis, D. (1979). A problem about permission. In E. Saarinen, et al. (Eds.), Essays in Honour of Jaakko Hintikka (pp. 163–175). Dordrecht: Reidel.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lewis, D. (1980). Index, context, and content. In S. Kanger & S. Öhman (Eds.), Philosophy and grammar (pp. 79–100). Dordrecht: Reidel.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Maitra, I. (2009). Silencing speech. Canadian Journal Of Philosophy, 39(2), 309–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. McCready, E. (2008). What man does. Linguistics and Philosophy, 31(6), 671–724CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Peirce, C. (1934). Belief and judgment. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Pinker, S., Nowak, M., & Lee, J. (2008). The logic of indirect speech. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(3), 833–838.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Potts, C. (2007). The expressive dimension. Theoretical Linguistics, 33(2), 165–197.Google Scholar
  26. Roberts, C. (1996). Information structure: Towards an integrated formal theory of pragmatics. In J.-H. Yoon & A. Kathol (Eds.), OSU Working Papers in Linguistics (Vol. 49). Papers in Semantics, Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University Department of Linguistics.Google Scholar
  27. Schroeder, M. (2008). Being for: Evaluating the semantic program of expressivism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Siegel, M. (2002). Like: The discourse particle and semantics. Journal of Semantics, 19, 35–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Steedman, M. (1991). Structure and intonation. Language, 67(2), 260–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

Personalised recommendations