The pragmatic circle
Classical Gricean pragmatics is usually conceived as dealing with far-side pragmatics, aimed at computing implicatures. It involves reasoning about why what was said, was said. Near-side pragmatics, on the other hand, is pragmatics in the service of determining, together with the semantical properties of the words used, what was said. But this raises the specter of ‘the pragmatic circle.’ If Gricean pragmatics seeks explanations for why someone said what they did, how can there be Gricean pragmatics on the near-side? Gricean reasoning seems to require what is said to get started. But then if Gricean reasoning is needed to get to what is said, we have a circle.
KeywordsNear-side pragmatics Far-side pragmatics Reflexive content Locutionary content Critical referentialism
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