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Pragmatics, Modularity and Mind-reading (To appear in Mind and Language)

Sperber, Dan and Wilson, Deirdre (2001) Pragmatics, Modularity and Mind-reading (To appear in Mind and Language). [Preprint]

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Abstract

The central problem for pragmatics is that sentence meaning vastly underdetermines speaker’s meaning. The goal of pragmatics is to explain how the gap between sentence meaning and speaker’s meaning is bridged. This paper defends the broadly Gricean view that pragmatic interpretation is ultimately an exercise in mind-reading, involving the inferential attribution of intentions. We argue, however, that the interpretation process does not simply consist in applying general mind-reading abilities to a particular (communicative) domain. Rather, it involves a dedicated comprehension module, with its own special principles and mechanisms. We show how such a metacommunicative module might have evolved, and what principles and mechanisms it might contain.

Item Type:Preprint
Keywords:cognition an communication, theory of mind, mind-reading, mindreading, modularity, evolutionary psychology, evolution of language, linguistics, philosophy of language, pragmatics, psychology, relevance, relevance theory
Subjects:Psychology > Evolutionary Psychology
Linguistics > Pragmatics
Philosophy > Philosophy of Language
ID Code:2032
Deposited By:Sperber, Dan
Deposited On:13 Jan 2002
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54

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