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ArtikelVariadic function and pragmatics-rich representations of belief reports  
Oleh: Jaszczolt, Katarzyna M.
Jenis: Article from Journal - ilmiah internasional
Dalam koleksi: Journal of Pragmatics: An Interdiciplinary Journal of Language Studies vol. 39 no. 5 (May 2007), page 934-959.
Topik: Propositional attitude reports; Variadic function; Compositionality; Semantics/pragmatics interface; Hidden-indexical theory; Default Semantics
Fulltext: Jaszczolt_Katarzyna_M.pdf (253.96KB)
Isi artikelTruth-conditional pragmatics (TCP, Recanati, 2002, 2003, 2004) advocates so-called ‘top-down’ pragmatic processes that contribute to the truth-conditionally evaluable representation of meaning while not being grammatically controlled. In this paper I propose an analysis of meaning of utterances expressing propositional attitude reports, starting with the assumptions of TCP and in particular employing the device of a variadic function (Recanati, 2002, 2005a). Propositional attitude reports are notorious for the problem with accounting for their meaning in that, being a sub-species of intensional contexts, they are sensitive to the substitution of coreferential expressions. Such a substitution may change the meaning of the construction. Following my analysis proposed in Jaszczolt (2005a), I employ Recanati’s concept of variadic adicity to the description of the attitudinal predicate. In particular, I look at expressions of the form ‘A believes that B ws’ and suggest that in order to account for the contribution of the description of B to the meaning of the report, one has to postulate an argument slot for the belief predicate that is filled in by the relevant aspects of the mode of presentation of B when appropriate, and left unfilled in other cases. In effect, this amounts to the variable adicity of the belief operator, varying between two and three arguments: the holder of the belief, the proposition, and on some occasions the mode of presentation under which the proposition is believed. I also comment on the compatibility of the hidden-indexical theory of belief reports with the device of variadic function: by putting the two together we obtain a much more successful account of these problematic constructions. Next, I address the pertinent issue of the division of labour between semantics and pragmatics, discussing it in the example of the possibility of a formal account within the overall confines of TCP. I make use of Recanati’s pragmatics-rich notion of compositionality (Recanati, 2004:132) and suggest that compositionality is to be sought on the level of representations of utterance meaning that combines information about meaning coming from different sources, such as the lexicon, sentence structure, subdoxastic enrichment, and conscious pragmatic inference. In the following section, I demonstrate how these insights can be put together in the framework of Default Semantics (Jaszczolt, 2005a) that rests on this assumption of such higher-level compositionality. I conclude with a brief discussion of the impact of this analysis on the minimalism/contextualism/meaning eliminativism debate in post-Gricean pragmatics.
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