Sentences, Assertion, and the Semantics–Pragmatics Boundary
This chapter focuses on the speech act of assertion. In the first section, it considers whether what makes something an assertion is a matter of semantics — where, in this context, ‘semantic’ is used in the sense of being a matter of linguistic convention. In the second section, it considers the determinants of asserted content, and whether they are semantic (in a different, specialized sense, to be explained). Specifically, it asks, given that an action is an assertion, whether its specific content can be fixed solely on the basis of its form/content together with certain antecedently settled referents for context sensitive items. The answer is that whether we have an assertion at all, and if so what its content is, has rather more to do with pragmatics than has often been assumed.
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