Crítica, Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía, Volume 38, number 112, abril 2006
Recanati on the Semantics/Pragmatics Distinction
[Recanati sobre la distinción entre semántica y pragmática]
Manuel García-Carpintero
Departament de Lògica, Història i Filosofia de la Ciència
Universitat de Barcelona

Abstract: One of the hottest philosophical debates in recent years concerns the nature of the semantics/pragmatics divide. Some writers have expressed the reserve that this might be merely terminological, but in my view it ultimately concerns a substantive issue with empirical implications: the scope and limits of a serious scientific undertaking, formal semantics. In this critical note I discuss two arguments by Recanati: his main methodological argument —viz. that the contents posited by what he calls ‘literalists’ (which are, on my own view, the very same ones that theoreticians in the formal semantics tradition seek to characterize) play no relevant role in communication—, and some phenomenological considerations regarding the “Availability Principle” that he appeals to in order to buttress that main argument.
Keywords: semantics/pragmatics, truth-conditional content, literal meaning, communication

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