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1 - Scientific Tractability and Relevance Theory

from Part I - Relevance Theory and Cognitive Communicative Issues

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 July 2019

Kate Scott
Affiliation:
Kingston University, London
Billy Clark
Affiliation:
Northumbria University, Newcastle
Robyn Carston
Affiliation:
University College London
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Summary

Nicholas Allott considers how relevance theory can be seen as responding to doubts about the possibility of any kind of systematic pragmatic theory. He considers three sceptical positions: Fodor’s argument that pragmatic processes are not amenable to scientific study because they are unencapsulated (highly context-sensitive), Chomsky’s claim that human intentional action is a mystery rather than a scientifically tractable problem, and a third view which maintains that intentional communication is too complex for systematic study. Allott argues that work in relevance theory can be seen as successfully challenging these sceptical views and he gives concrete examples of its achievements.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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