Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

A cognitive-scientific approach to the pragmatic interpretive ability is presented, according to which it is seen as a specific cognitive system dedicated to the interpretation of ostensive stimuli, that is, verbal utterances and other overtly communicative acts. This approach calls for a dual construal of semantics. The semantics which interfaces with the pragmatic interpretive system is not a matter of truth-conditional content, but of whatever components of meaning (lexical and syntactic) are encoded by the language system (independent of any particular use of the system by speakers in specific contexts). This linguistically provided meaning functions as evidence that guides and constrains the addressee’s pragmatic inferential processes whose goal is the recovery of the speaker’s intended meaning. Speakers communicate thoughts (explicatures and implicatures)—that is, fully propositional (truth-evaluable) entities—and it is these that are the proper domain of a truth-conditional (referential) semantics.

Keywords: pragmatics module, ostensive stimuli, communicative development, evolution of pragmatics, theory of mind, encoded meaning, linguistic semantics, explicature, truth-conditional semantics

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.