A Reply to “I Hope You Will Let Flynn Go”
Capone and Bucca offer a socio-pragmatic analysis of President Trump’s utterance, ‘I hope you will let Flynn go’ to show that Trump illicitly tried to persuade Comey to drop the investigation of Flynn. I do not dispute that claim. Instead, I offer an overview of their argument—with one potential point of disagreement. Capone and Bucca assume, As pragmatic investigators typically do, that speakers have determinate intentions and reason in complex ways about how to realize those intentions. I suggest that speakers may not have determinate intentions and may not engage in the complex types of reasoning pragmatics typically attributes to them. I do not suggest that this point undercuts Capone and Bucca’s claims; rather, it suggests that their emphasis on a normative component in pragmatic analysis is correct, and suggests that a focus on the normative component supports their claims.