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Pragmatics Everywhere!

Kenneth Taylor

Tuesday, March 20, 2007, 01:00pm - 02:00pm

Stanford University, Department of Philosophy

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In this paper, I argue that there is no pragmatics/semantics interface. In particular, there is no one place where the work of semantics ends and that of pragmatics begins. Pragmatics and semantics are everywhere intertwined because pragmatics happens everywhere. The lexicon itself directly licenses pragmatic intrusion from the very start of the journey from sentence meaning to narrowly semantic utterance content. Even beforethat journey is completed pragmatics can generate what I call one and half stage pragmatic externalities. Nor is pragmatics done when the journey from sentence meaning to utterance content is complete. Then pragmatics begins again to generate pragmatic externalities of a dizzying variety. Nonetheless, I shall argue that despite the fact that the semantic and the pragmatic are everywhere enmeshed, there is a distinction in both conceptand principle to be had between the semantic and the pragmatic.

Kenneth Taylor