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The Inquisitive Turn. A New Perspective on Semantics, Logic, and Pragmatics

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Title The Inquisitive Turn. A New Perspective on Semantics, Logic, and Pragmatics
Period 02 / 2010 - 01 / 2014
Status Current
URL http://www.illc.uva.nl/inquisitive-semantics
Research number OND1339452
Data Supplier NWO

Abstract

Mission Statement Inquisitive Semantics. Traditionally, the meaning of a sentence is identified with its informative content. In inquisitive semantics, a sentence is not only associated with the information it provides, but also with the issues it raises. The notion of meaning embodied by inquisitive semantics directly reflects that the primary use of language is communication: the exchange of information in a cooperative dynamic process of raising and resolving issues. Inquisitive Logic. The way in which inquisitive semantics enriches the notion of meaning will change our perspective on logic. In the logic that comes with the semantics, the central notion is the notion of compliance. Compliance is concerned with what the utterance of a sentence contributes to a conversation, how it is related to what was said before. Just as the standard logical notion of entailment rules the validity of argumentation, the logical notion of compliance rules the coherence of dialogue. Inquisitive Pragmatics. The way in which inquisitive semantics enriches the notion of meaning will also change our perspective on pragmatics. The main objective of Gricean pragmatics is to explain aspects of interpretation which are not directly dictated by semantic content, in terms of general features of rational human behavior. Since inquisitive semantics changes the notion of semantic content, pragmatics will change with it. Implicatures will not only arise from the informative content of a sentence, but also from its inquisitive content.

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