Friday, May 19, 2006

Fallbacks for semantic theory

It seems like one reason to try to mark off a distinction between pragmatis and semantics is so that one can tell when pragmatics can be used to account for a phenomena and when semantics should be used. A lot of semantic theories (and fragments) seem to treat pragmatics like this buffer that absorbs and accounts for all problems with a semantic theory. It is hard to argue against something if it can always be defended by an appeal to some vague, pseudo-Gricean reasoning. Of course, the distinction between semantics and pragmatics might be theory-relative so that it will be impossible to produce a single, comprehensive distinction.

1 comment:

J. L. Speranza said...

I liked your use of "pseudo-Gricean". Google hits for that expression are _two_ (at least). There's two also for "pseudo-Grice", for what it's worth.

Cheers,

J. L.
The Grice Circle, etc.