UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 12 (2000)

Explicature and semantics


According to the relevance-theoretic account, identifying what is communicated explicitly by an utterance (its explicature) involves several pragmatic processes: disambiguation, saturation of indexical elements, the recovery of unarticulated constituents and ad hoc concept construction, both of the latter being free from any linguistic indication. This is at odds with a current philosophical position according to which contextual contributions to the proposition expressed are confined to the processes of disambiguation and saturation; this view necessitates positing a number of hidden (unarticulated) indexicals in the logical form of linguistic expressions. The arguments for the two positions are assessed.

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