Pragmatic Reasoning through Semantic Inference
Leon Bergen, Noah Goodman
October 2015

A number of recent proposals have used techniques from game theory to formalize Gricean pragmatic reasoning (Franke, 2011; Frank & Goodman, 2012; Goodman & Stuhlmüller, 2013; Jäger, 2013). We discuss two phenomena which pose a challenge to game-theoretic accounts of pragmatics: M-implicatures (Horn, 1984) and embedded implicatures which violate Hurford's constraint (Hurford, 1974; Chierchia, Fox, & Spector, 2012). Standard game-theoretic models cannot derive these implicatures, because of basic limitations in their architecture. In order to explain these phenomena, we propose a realignment of the division between semantic content and pragmatic content. Under this proposal, the semantic content of an utterance is not fixed independent of pragmatic inference; rather, pragmatic inference partially determines an utterance’s semantic content. This technique, called lexical uncertainty, derives both M-implicatures and the relevant embedded implicatures, and preserves the derivations of more standard implicatures.
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Reference: lingbuzz/002110
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Submitted
keywords: pragmatics, game theory, hurford's constraint, embedded implicatures, manner implicatures, division of pragmatic labor, bayesian modeling, semantics
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