European Journal of Analytic Philosophy (Jan 2007)

Heavy Hands, Magic, and Scene-Reading Traps

  • Stephen Neale

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 3, no. 2
pp. 77 – 132


Read online

This is one of a series of articles in which I examine errors that philosophers of language may be led to make if already prone to exaggerating the rôle compositional semantics can play in explaining how we communicate, whether by expressing propositions with our words or by merely implying them. In the present article, I am concerned less with “pragmatic contributions” to the propositions we express—contributions some philosophers seem rather desperate to deny the existence or ubiquity of—than I am with certain types of traps that those who exaggerate the rôle of semantic convention and underestimate the rôle of pragmatic inference are apt to fall into.