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The contextualist approach to utterance interpretation posits processes of “free” pragmatic enrichment that supply unarticulated constituents of the explicit content of utterances. While this proposal is faithful to our intuitions about the truth conditions of utterances, and accommodates the optionality of these pragmatic effects, there remains a doubt about whether contextualism can account in any principled way for what pragmatically derived material enters into explicit content, and what does not. This gap in the theory leads to objections that the putative process of pragmatic enrichment would massively overgenerate interpretations of utterances, having no way to exclude from explicit content elements of meaning that are truth-conditionally irrelevant. Here I discuss how a derivational account can sort explicit content from implicatures, where the former is a result of “developing” the linguistically-encoded form, while implicatures are entirely inferred, from fully propositional premises. Using the idea that enrichment is constrained to the minimum necessary to inferentially warrant the implications of the utterance, I show how the derivational account can address existing examples of alleged overgeneration, and that these rest on a failure to properly appreciate that the occurrence of such “free” pragmatic processes depends on the details of the particular context in which the utterance was tokened. I conclude with a discussion of what kind of systematicity should be expected from an account of processes whose outcome is inevitably context-specific.

In: International Review of Pragmatics
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The debate between advocates of free pragmatic enrichment and those who maintain that any pragmatic contribution to explicature is mediated by a covert linguistic indexical took a new turn with the claim that these covert elements may be optional (Martí, 2006). This prompted the conclusion (Recanati, 2010b) that there is no longer any issue of substance between the two positions, as both involve optional elements of utterance meaning, albeit registered at different representational levels (conceptual or linguistic). We maintain, on the contrary, that the issue remains substantive and we make the case that, for a theory of the processes involved in utterance comprehension, the free pragmatic enrichment account is indispensable. We further argue that the criticism of free enrichment that motivates at least some indexicalist accounts rests on a mistaken assumption that it is the semantic component of the grammar (linguistic competence) that is responsible for delivering truth-conditional content (explicature).

In: International Review of Pragmatics


Contemporary biomedical research heavily relies on secondary use of personal health data that were obtained in a different clinical or research setting. Under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), data controllers processing personal data must comply with the principle of purpose limitation, which restricts further processing of personal data beyond the purpose for which the data were initially collected. However, “further processing” is not explicitly defined, resulting in considerable interpretive ambiguities as to whether “secondary use” of data by researchers constitutes “further processing” under the GDPR. This ambiguity is problematic as it exposes researchers to potential non-compliance risks. In this article, we analyse the term “further processing” within the meaning of the GDPR, elucidate important aspects in which it differs from “secondary use”, and discuss the implications for data controllers’ GDPR compliance obligations. Subsequently, we contextualise this analysis within a broader discussion of regulating scientific research under the GDPR.

Open Access
In: European Journal of Health Law