Context by Robert Stalnaker

By Robert Stalnaker

Robert Stalnaker explores the idea of the context during which speech happens, its function within the interpretation of what's stated, and within the rationalization of the dynamics of discourse. He distinguishes diverse notions of context, however the major concentration is at the inspiration of context as universal floor, the place the typical floor is an evolving physique of heritage info that's presumed to be shared by way of the members in a talk. the typical floor is the data that's presupposed via audio system and addressees, and a important obstacle of this booklet is with the proposal of presupposition, and with the interplay of compositional constitution with discourse dynamics within the rationalization of presuppositional phenomena. Presupposed info contains heritage info either concerning the subject material of a discourse and in regards to the evolving discourse itself, and concerning the attitudes of the individuals within the discourse, together with who and the place they're, and what they agree and disagree approximately. Stalnaker offers a fashion of representing self-locating details that is helping to provide an explanation for the way it will be shared and communicated, and the way it evolves over the years. He discusses the semantic and pragmatics of conditionals and epistemic modals, and their position in representing contract, confrontation, and the negotiation approximately how a context may still evolve. The booklet concludes with a dialogue of the kinfolk among contextualism and semantic relativism.

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Context

Robert Stalnaker explores the proposal of the context within which speech happens, its function within the interpretation of what's stated, and within the clarification of the dynamics of discourse. He distinguishes assorted notions of context, however the major concentration is at the proposal of context as universal flooring, the place the typical floor is an evolving physique of history info that's presumed to be shared by way of the contributors in a talk.

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If communication is to be successful, the contextual information on which the content of a speech act depends must be information that is available to the addressee. When I said to O’Leary, “You are a fool”, the content of my speech act depended on the fact that O’Leary was my addressee, a fact that (like all facts) is determined by the K-context in which I am speaking. But if O’Leary does not realize that I am talking to him, then communication will not be successful. The truth of my statement depends on a different fact—that O’Leary is a fool—but successful communication does not require that fact to be available (in fact the utterance will have a point only if the information communicated is not available, prior to the speech act).

Complications will also arise when we modify the Lewis semantics so that the output of the process is a proposition (the assertoric content) rather than just a truth-value. 16 Some of 16 See the Appendix, section 2, for more discussion of this issue. THREE NOTIONS OF CONTEXT  these complications are illustrated by puzzles about the sentence modifier, “actually”. A related place where a tension between the two conceptions of context arises is in the semantics and pragmatics of the modifier “actually”, which is one of the words that, along with “now”, motivated Kaplan’s move to two-dimensional semantics.

Then there would have been someone who doesn’t actually exist. ) Then she would have been actual, though in fact she is not. ) Then someone would have been actual who actually isn’t actual. )20 The subjunctive/indicative contrast plays an essential role in determining when the “actually” gets a rigidifying interpretation. For example, compare 20 Lewis 1986, 94. ” The variation, unlike the original, is a contradiction. The uses of “actually” in Williamson’s (2i) seems to be a nonrigidifying use, and so the triviality of the natural language (2i) does not pose an immediate problem for the possible-worlds analysis of indicative conditionals.

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