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Philosophical Papers Volume I$
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David Lewis

Print publication date: 1983

Print ISBN-13: 9780195032048

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195032047.001.0001

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Scorekeeping in a Language Game

Scorekeeping in a Language Game

Chapter:
(p.233) Thirteen Scorekeeping in a Language Game
Source:
Philosophical Papers Volume I
Author(s):

David Lewis

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195032047.003.0013

Sparked by the work of Robert Stalnaker, this paper integrates some of Lewis's views in formal semantics and formal pragmatics. Drawing an analogy with the practice of scorekeeping in baseball, Lewis proposes the notion of a “conversational score” that varies depending on the semantic vicissitudes arising from the contexts in which context‐sensitive terms (e.g. “flat”) are used. In such cases, Lewis argues, certain “rules of accommodation” inform the practice of natural discourse. Lewis demonstrates this phenomenon at work in a number of examples, including presupposition, permissibility, definite descriptions, reference, vagueness, modality, performatives, and making plans.

Keywords:   contextualism, definite descriptions, language game, modality, performatives, permissibility, pragmatics, presupposition, reference, semantics, Robert Stalnaker, Peter Unger, vagueness

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