Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

I consider a problem from pragmatics for the radical interpretation project, relying on the principle of charity. If a speaker X in a context c manifests the attitude of holding a sentence s true, this might be because of believing, not the content of s in c, but what results from a pragmatic enrichment of that content. In this case,  the connection between the holding-true attitude and the meaning of s might be too loose for charity to confirm the correct interpretation hypothesis. To solve this problem, I apply the coherence raising account of pragmatic enrichment developed in Pagin 2014. The result is that in upward entailing linguistic contexts, the enriched content entails the prior content, and so charity prevails: the speaker also believes the prior content. In downward entailing contexts this would not hold, but I argue that enrichments tend not to occur in downward entailing contexts.

H. Paul Grice and Donald Davidson shared the view that we should separate semantics from pragmatics. To this end, Grice (1975) developed the theory of implicatures. The main tenet was that we can separate what is said from what is implicated (Grice 1975: 25), which together make up of what is communicated. Semantics deals with the relation between a sentence and what is said by means of uttering that sentence, and the theory of implicatures, a part of pragmatics, deals with the relation between what is said and what is implicated by means of saying what is said. This relieves semantics from dealing directly with what is communicated in all cases, which avoids many complications.


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