Pragmatics, Truth and Underspecification

Towards an Atlas of Meaning


The concept of meaning, since Frege initiated the linguistic turn in 1884, has been the subject of numerous theories, hypotheses, methodologies and distinctions. One distinction of considerable strategic value relates to the location of meaning: some aspects of meaning can be found in language and are modelled with semantic values of various kinds; some aspects of meaning can be found in communicative processes and are modelled with pragmatic inferences of one sort or another. One hypothesis of great heuristic utility concerns the relationship that is assumed between the semantic and the pragmatic. This collection of especially commissioned papers examines current thinking on the plausible nature of the semantic, the possible character of the pragmatic and the mechanics of their intersection.
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Biographical Note

Ken Turner is Principal Lecturer in Linguistics and the Philosophy of Language at the University of Brighton. He is the editor of The Semantics/Pragmatics Interface from Different Points of View (CRiSPI 1) and Making Semantics Pragmatic (CRiSPI 24) as well as co-editor, with Klaus von Heusinger, of Where Semantics Meets Pragmatics (CRiSPI 16) and co-editor, with Marina Sbisà, of Pragmatics of Speech Actions (HoP2).

Laurence Horn is Emeritus Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy at Yale. He is the author or (co-)editor of six books and over 100 articles on pragmatic theory, negation, lexical semantics, and linguistic variation, including A Natural History of Negation (1989/2001).

Contributors are: Barbara Abbott, David Braun, Ronnie Cann, Chris Collins, Laurence Horn, Ruth Kempson, Philipp Koralus, Michiel Leezenberg, Ernie Lepore, Salvador Mascarenhas, Paul Postal, Una Stojnić, Matthew Stone, Jerrold Sadock, Ken Turner, Lauren van Alsenoy, Johan van der Auwera and Jack Woods.

Table of contents

An Underspecified PrefaceKen Turner and Larry Horn

Part 1 On the Landscape of Negation

1 An (Abridged) Atlas of Negation: Polar Landscape in an Era of Climate ChangeLarry Horn 2 Dispelling the Cloud of Unknowing: More on the Syntactic Nature of Neg RaisingChris Collins and Paul Postal 3 Presuppositions, Negation, and ExistenceBarbara Abbott 4 More Ado about nothing: On the Typology of Negative IndefinitesJohan van der Auwera and Lauren van Alsenoy

Part 2 On Sense-Generality and the Semantics/Pragmatics Landscape

5 Distinguishing Ambiguity from UnderspecificityUna Stojnic, Matthew Stone and Ernie Lepore 6 Metaphor, Minimalism, and Semantic Generality: Seeing Things in ContextMichiel Leezenberg 7 A Radically Pragmatic Account of Number Words and the Reversibility of ScalesJerrold Sadock 8 Utterances and Expressions in Semantics and LogicDavid Braun

Part 3 On Grammar, Inference, and Truth

9 Grammar as Procedures: Language, Interaction, and the Predictive TurnRuth Kempson and Ronnie Cann 10 Illusory Inferences in a Question-Based Theory of ReasoningPhilipp Koralus and Salvador Mascarenhas 11 A Commitment-Theoretic Account of Moore’s ParadoxJack Woods 12 Remarks on Davidson’s Polymorphous Concept of Truth and Its Role in a Theory of MeaningKen Turner Index


All professional linguists, philosophers and psychologists and all advanced research students who are interested in theoretical and descriptive studies in semantics, pragmatics and their interface.