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Title: Conversational implicature : re-assessing the Gricean framework
Author: Kasmirli, Maria
ISNI:       0000 0004 5993 385X
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2016
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Conversational implicature is (roughly) the practice of conveying one thing by saying another. Philosophical and linguistic work on the topic has been dominated by the approach proposed by Paul Grice — the Gricean framework, as I call it — according to which implicatures can be calculated from principles of cooperative behaviour. The framework faces numerous objections and counterexamples, however, and this thesis reassesses it in the light of recent work in the area. Chapters 1 and 2 introduce the topic, provide a detailed exposition of the Gricean framework, and highlight a problem concerning the role of speaker intentions in implicature. Chapter 3 sets out some problems for Grice’s approach and argues that we can address them by reinterpreting his framework as a normative one. It proposes some revisions to the framework to make it more compatible with this reading and shows how the tension in Grice’s view of speaker intentions can be resolved. Chapter 4 then argues that, despite its attractions, the revised theory has a serious flaw, being unable to establish norms of implicature that are speaker-independent. The chapter proposes instead an intention-centred account, which abandons the requirement of calculability and allows a direct role for speaker intentions, while still preserving a normative element. Chapter 5 looks at neo-Gricean theories, which use Gricean principles to explain a range of supposedly context-independent implicatures. It sets out some problems for neo-Griceanism, comparing it with rival approaches and surveying relevant experimental evidence. The chapter concludes that implicature is more context-sensitive than neo-Griceanism allows and that general principles have at best a limited role in its explanation. Chapter 6 draws some conclusions, arguing that implicature is less rational than Grice supposed and more dependent on context and speaker intention. It also offers some speculations about the social role and ethics of implicature.
Supervisor: Saul, Jennifer M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available