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Confusion of TonguesA Theory of Normative Language$
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Stephen Finlay

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199347490

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199347490.001.0001

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Pragmatics and Practicality

Pragmatics and Practicality

(p.116) 5 Pragmatics and Practicality
Confusion of Tongues

Stephen Finlay

Oxford University Press

This chapter first introduces a distinction between semantics and pragmatics, and proposes that the basic principle of pragmatics is instrumental, in the place of Grice’s principle of cooperation. A first metaethical challenge to the end-relational theory is then examined, from the practicality or illocutionary force of normative language. Strong versions of motivational internalism are rejected in favor of weaker principles, which end-relational language accommodates as a feature of the pragmatics of leaving the relevant end implicit in the context, indicating it is saliently desired by speaker or audience. Finally, this pragmatic account is argued to be superior to expressivism.

Keywords:   semantics, pragmatics, Grice, cooperation, motivational internalism, context, expressivism, illocutionary force

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