Institut Jean Nicod

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Saying and Actic Semantics

Stephen Neale (CUNY), Saying and Actic Semantics, le vendredi 19 octobre de 11h à 13h à l’IJN.

Pavillon-Jardin, salle de réunion au rez-de-chaussée.

Saying and Actic Semantics

Stephen Neale

I am going to (1) motivate what (in "Term Limits Revisited") I called
an act-syntactic (or actic) account of the semantic properties of
expressions that treats acts of speech as compositional in much the
same way that the sentences used to perform them are, (2) defend
Grice’s speaker-based conception of what is said and explain its
empirical significance and theoretical centrality to any plausible
semantic theory (act-syntactic or otherwise), (3) explain why it is
impossible to provide a coherent account of the “determination” of the
content of either what is said or what is implicated without both (a)
cleanly separating constititutive, causal, and epistemic notions of
determination and (b) allowing answers to constititutive, causal, and
epistemic to constrain one another in principled ways, and (4) argue
that, contrary to recent claims, Grice himself had all of this under

In short, I shall be arguing that Grice’s own speaker-based notions of
saying, referring, predicating, and implying are the fundamental
notions of saying, referring and predicating and implying needed to
theorize in any non-question-begging way about meaning and
communication, the only notions capable of bearing the theoretical
load of empirical investigations into (1) the semantics of natural
language, (2) the pragmatics of utterance interpretation, and (3) the
(frequently misunderstood) rôle of an account of (1) in an account of