UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 15 (2003)

Truth-conditional content and conversational implicature


According to some pragmatists, certain conversational implicatures of an uttered sentence may be composed into the truth-conditional content of more complex constructions (e.g. conditionals or comparatives) in which that sentence is embedded. I present two arguments against this view, the one based on the intuitive (in)validity of arguments couched in natural language, the other on the (in)cohence of conversational exchanges; the view in question makes some wrong predictions in both cases. My positive position is that processes of pragmatic enrichment of linguistically encoded meaning (as distinct from conversational

implicatures) affect the truth-conditional content of utterances of not only the complex constructions but also of the simpler embedded sentences.

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