Institut Jean Nicod

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Jonathan Cohen (University of California, San Diego)

Vendredi 25 mars de 11h30 à 13h. Institut Jean Nicod, Pavillon Jardin, ENS, 29, rue d'Ulm 75005 Paris.

Jonathan Cohen
Professor, Department of philosophy at the University of California, San Diego.

Title: "Conversational eliciture" - Jonathan Cohen and Andrew Kehler.

Abstract: The sentence "The boss fired the employee who is always late" invites the defeasible inference that the speaker is attempting to convey that the lateness caused the firing (cf. "The boss fired the employee who is from Philadelphia", which does not invite an analogous inference). We argue that, unlike more familiar processes for conveying extrasemantic content, such inferences do not arise in an attempt to rescue utterances from any kind of linguistic or communicative failure, such as from a violation of communicative norms based on principles of rationality/cooperativity, or the need to complete/expand a proposition so as to appropriately fix truth-conditional content. Rather, we argue that they arise from more basic, general cognitive strategies for building mental models of the world. Attention to such cases suggests that the forms of extrasemantic enrichment that have attracted the most theoretical attention to date (e.g., conversational implicature, impliciture) are in fact special cases of a more general, and more varied, phenomenon.