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New Work on Speech Acts$
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Daniel Fogal, Daniel W. Harris, and Matt Moss

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198738831

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198738831.001.0001

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Dynamic Pragmatics, Static Semantics

Dynamic Pragmatics, Static Semantics

(p.384) 14 Dynamic Pragmatics, Static Semantics
New Work on Speech Acts

Robert Stalnaker

Oxford University Press

Semantic-pragmatic theorizing took a dynamic turn in the 1970s, but at the time the dynamics remained in the pragmatics and retained a more or less traditional static conception of compositional semantics. Later dynamic semantics built rules for context change into the semantics. This essay argues that the phenomena that motivated the dynamic turn are best explained at the pragmatic level, retaining a notion of propositonal content, and a distinction between content and force. It is argued that while a partial notion of propositional content can be recovered from a dynamic conception of semantic value as context-change potential, some information that plays an important role in the broader explanation of discourse is lost. It is then argued that it is important to retain a notion of speech act force, separated from content.

Keywords:   dynamic semantics, pragmatics, discourse context, speech act, propositional content

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