Single Idea 13448

[catalogued under 19. Language / F. Communication / 5. Pragmatics / a. Contextual meaning]

Full Idea

We generally take an assertion's domain of discourse to be implicitly restricted by context. [Note: the standard approach is that this restriction is a semantic phenomenon, but Kent Bach (2000) argues that it is a pragmatic phenomenon]

Gist of Idea

The domain of an assertion is restricted by context, either semantically or pragmatically


Rayo,A/Uzquiasno,G (Introduction to 'Absolute Generality' [2006], 1.1)

Book Reference

'Absolute Generality', ed/tr. Rayo,A/Uzquiano,G [OUP 2006], p.1

A Reaction

I think Kent Bach is very very right about this. Follow any conversation, and ask what the domain is at any moment. The reference of a word like 'they' can drift across things, with no semantics to guide us, but only clues from context and common sense.