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Bezuidenhout, Anne, , . Truth-Conditional Pragmatics
2002, Philosophical Perspectives 16:105-134.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Thomas Hodgson

Abstract: The mainstream view in philosophy of language is that sentence meaning determines truth-conditions. A corollary is that the truth or falsity of an utterance depends only on what words mean and how the world is arranged. Although several prominent philosophers (Searle, Travis, Recanati, Moravcsik) have challenged this view, it has proven hard to dislodge. The alternative view holds that meaning underdetermines truth-conditions. What is expressed by the utterance of a sentence in a context goes beyond what is encoded in the sentence itself. Truth-conditional content depends on an indefinite number of unstated background assumptions, not all of which can be made explicit. A change in background assumptions can change truth-conditions, even bracketing disambiguation and reference assignment. That is, even after disambiguating any ambiguous words in a sentence and assigning semantic values to any indexical expressions in the sentence, truth-conditions may vary with variations in the background.

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Borg, Emma, , . Minimalism versus Contextualism in Semantics
2007, In Gerhard Preyer & Georg Peter (eds.), Context-Sensitivity and Semantic Minimalism: New Essays on Semantics and Pragmatics. Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Thomas Hodgson

Abstract: In *Insensitive Semantics*, Herman Cappelen and Ernie Lepore argue for a minimalist approach to semantics and against the currently more popular contextualist stance. I agree with this overall outlook, but will suggest in this chapter that their way of framing the debate between these two semantic programmes actually serves to obscure some key issues. Specifically, I will argue that the version of radical contextualism they give is not radical enough, while their version of semantic minimalism is not minimal enough.

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Borg, Emma, , . On three theories of implicature: default theory, relevance and minimalism
2009, The International Review of Pragmatics, 1 (1): 63-83.
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Added by: Jamie Collin, Contributed by:

Abstract: Grice’s distinction between what is said by a sentence and what is implicated by an utterance of it is both extremely familiar and almost universally accepted. However, in recent literature, the precise account he offered of implicature recovery has been questioned and alternative accounts have emerged. In this paper, I examine three such alternative accounts. My main aim is to show that the two most popular accounts in the current literature (the default inference view and the relevance theoretic approach) still face signifi cant problems. I will then conclude by suggesting that an alternative account, emerging from semantic minimalism, is best placed to accommodate Grice’s distinction.

Comment: This would be useful in a course on the philosophy of language, particularly with regard to pragmatics and implicature. The paper is particularly useful for teaching, as it provides a clear overview of three influential and important theories of implicature; so serves as a good survey text, as well as an original piece of argumentation.

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Carston, Robyn, , . Linguistic communication and the semantics/pragmatics distinction
2008, Synthese 165 (3):321-345.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Thomas Hodgson

Abstract: Most people working on linguistic meaning or communication assume that semantics and pragmatics are distinct domains, yet there is still little consensus on how the distinction is to be drawn. The position defended in this paper is that the semantics/pragmatics distinction holds between encoded linguistic meaning and speaker meaning. Two other ‘minimalist’ positions on semantics are explored and found wanting: Kent Bach’s view that there is a narrow semantic notion of context which is responsible for providing semantic values for a small number of indexicals, and Herman Cappelen and Ernie Lepore’s view that semantics includes the provision of values for all indexicals, even though these depend on the speaker’s communicative intentions. Finally, some implications are considered for the favoured semantics/pragmatics distinction of the fact that there are linguistic elements which do not contribute to truth-conditional content but rather provide guidance on pragmatic inference

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Hall, Alison, , . Free enrichment or hidden indexicals?
2008, Mind and Language 23 (4):426-456.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Thomas Hodgson

Abstract: A current debate in semantics and pragmatics is whether all contextual effects on truth-conditional content can be traced to logical form, or ‘unarticulated constituents’ can be supplied by the pragmatic process of free enrichment. In this paper, I defend the latter position. The main objection to this view is that free enrichment appears to overgenerate, not predicting where context cannot affect truth conditions, so that a systematic account is unlikely (Stanley, 2002a). I first examine the semantic alternative proposed by Stanley and others, which assumes extensive hidden structure acting as a linguistic trigger for pragmatic processes, so that all truth-conditional effects of context turn out to be instances of saturation. I show that there are cases of optional pragmatic contributions to the proposition expressed that cannot plausibly be accounted for in this way, and that advocates of this approach will therefore also have to appeal to free enrichment. The final section starts to address the question of how free enrichment is constrained: I argue that it involves only local development or adjustment of parts of logical form, any global developments being excluded by the requirement for the proposition expressed to provide an inferential warrant for the intended implications of the utterance.

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Marti, Luisa, , . Unarticulated constituents revisited
2006, Linguistics and Philosophy 29 (2):135 – 166.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Thomas Hodgson

Abstract: An important debate in the current literature is whether ‘all truth-conditional effects of extra-linguistic context can be traced to [a variable at; LM] logical form’ (Stanley, ‘Context and Logical Form’, Linguistics and Philosophy, 23 (2000) 391). That is, according to Stanley, the only truth-conditional effects that extra-linguistic context has are localizable in (potentially silent) variable-denoting pronouns or pronoun-like items, which are represented in the syntax/at logical form (pure indexicals like I or today are put aside in this discussion). According to Recanati (‘Unarticulated Constituents’, Linguistics and Philosophy, 25 (2002) 299), extra-linguistic context can have additional truth-conditional effects, in the form of optional pragmatic processes like ‘free enrichment’. This paper shows that Recanati’s position is not warranted, since there is an alternative line of analysis that obviates the need to assume free enrichment. In the alternative analysis, we need Stanley’s variables, but we need to give them the freedom to be or not to be generated in the syntax/present at logical form, a kind of optionality that has nothing to do with the pragmatics-related optionality of free enrichment.

Comment: Probably won’t make sense without looking at Recanati and Perry’s work
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Russell, Gillian, , Fara, Delia Graff. Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Language
2013, Routledge.
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Added by: Berta Grimau, Contributed by:

Abstract: Philosophy of language is the branch of philosophy that examines the nature of meaning, the relationship of language to reality, and the ways in which we use, learn, and understand language. This companion provides a comprehensive and up-to-date survey of the field, charting its key ideas and movements, and addressing contemporary research and enduring questions in the philosophy of language. Unique to this companion is clear coverage of research from the related disciplines of formal logic and linguistics, and discussion of the applications in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and philosophy of mind. The book is divided into seven sections: Core Topics; Foundations of Semantics; Parts of Speech; Methodology; Logic for Philosophers of Language; Philosophy of Language for the Rest of Philosophy; and Historical Perspectives.

Comment: The first part of this book (‘Core Topics’) can be used as background reading for a general course in philosophy of language. The rest of the book includes more specialised articles, which can be used as background reading for specialized courses. Chapter 6, ‘Philosophy of Language for the Rest of Philosophy’, could be the core reading for a final section in a philosophy of language course focusing on the applicability of the philosophy of language for other areas of philosophy.

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Saul, Jennifer M., , . Politically Significant Terms and Philosophy of Language
2012, In Sharon Crasnow & Anita Superson (eds.), Out from the Shadows: Analytical Feminist Contributions to Traditional Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Thomas Hodgson

Abstract: Philosophers of language have tended to focus on examples that are not politically significant in any way. We spend a lot of time analyzing natural kind terms: We think hard about ‘water’ and ‘pain’ and ‘arthritis.’ But we don’t think much about the far more politically significant kind terms (natural or social – it’s a matter for dispute) like ‘race,’ ‘sex,’ ‘gender,’ ‘woman,’ ‘man,’ ‘gay,’ and ‘straight.’ In this essay, I will try to show, using the example of ‘woman,’ that it’s worth thinking about terms like these, for at least three reasons: (1) There are some interesting puzzles. (2) Politically significant terms matter to people’s lives – and it’s worth spending at least some of our energy thinking about things that matter in this way. (3) Most importantly, interesting methodological issues emerge at the intersection of philosophy of language and politics.

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