Chapter

Semantics/Pragmatics: (Purposes and Cross-Purposes)<sup>*</sup>

Ruth Garret Millikan

in Language: A Biological Model

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9780199284764
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603167 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199284768.003.0010
 						Semantics/Pragmatics: (Purposes and Cross-Purposes)*

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A new analysis of convention and of linguistic function yields a robust description, in naturalistic terms, of the distinction between semantics and pragmatics. For a number of different but instructive reasons, this distinction is intrinsically blurry, depending on statistics over individual psychological processing techniques. Implications for the theory of language interpretation are discussed, with the conclusion drawn that there are many ways of grasping the content that the specific speaker intends to convey without employing a theory of mind. A coordinate claim is that during normal conversation, it is not language that is most directly perceived by the hearer but rather the world that is most directly perceived through language.

Keywords: semantics-pragmatics distinction; language learning; language understanding; Gricean implicatures; language conventions

Chapter.  13488 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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