Chapter

Minimal Semantics and Psychological Evidence

Emma Borg

in Pursuing Meaning

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199588374
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741487 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588374.003.0002
Minimal Semantics and Psychological Evidence

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This chapter explores the objection that minimal propositions are explanatorily inert. The objection has its clearest statement in the work of François Recanati and his requirement that semantic content satisfy his ‘Availability Principle’ (which requires semantic content to be intuitively available to interlocutors). The parallels between this objection and an extant worry for Grice's approach to meaning are explored, and a minimalist response to the problem is given. The chapter concludes by surveying the main points of contention between minimalism and its opponents, suggesting that objections to minimalism on the basis of claims about intuitive speech act content in fact fail to engage with minimalism as it is usually propounded.

Keywords: Grice; semantics; psychological content; speech acts; Recanati; truth-conditional pragmatics

Chapter.  9298 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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