Philosophical Studies

, Volume 168, Issue 1, pp 59–100 | Cite as

Pragmatic enrichment as coherence raising

  • Peter Pagin


This paper concerns the phenomenon of pragmatic enrichment, and has a proposal for predicting the occurrence of such enrichments. The idea is that an enrichment of an expressed content c occurs as a means of strengthening the coherence between c and a salient given content c’ of the context, whether c’ is given in discourse, as sentence parts, or through perception. After enrichment, a stronger coherence relation is instantiated than before enrichment. An idea of a strength scale of types of coherence relations is proposed and applied.


Coherence Coherence strength Pragmatic enrichment Coherence relations Relevance theory Neo-Gricean theory Generalized conversational implicatures Robyn Carston Fracois Recanati Kent Bach Jeremy Hobbs Andrew Kehler Modulations 



Earlier versions of this work have been presented at a conference on Peter Strawson’s work at the Academy of Science in Prague in April 2009, a conference on systematic pragmatics at Stockholm University in May 2009, at the Euro-XPrag conference in Leuven in June 2010, at the Content, Context and Conversation Lichtenberg-Kolleg Workshop at the Georg-August Universität Göttingen in June 2011, and at the Language and Linguistics workshop at the Inter-University Center of Dubrovnik in September 2011. I am grateful for comments from the audiences on those occasions, especially Nicholas Asher, Christian Beyer, Stephen Butterfill, Herman Cappelen, Robyn Carston, Mari Duží, Bart Geurts, Kathrin Glüer, Julie Hunter, Jeff King, Luisa Martí, Petr Kotatko, Stephen Neale, Ira Noveck, Stefano Predelli, Francois Recanati, Petra Schumacher, Mandy Simons, Barry Smith, Paul Snowdon, Dag Westerståhl, and Deirdre Wilson. As always, I owe much to Kathrin Glüer’s inputs in discussions over the years of working on this theme. I am also extremely indebted to comments from two anonymous referees. Their remarks led to improvements not only of the presentation and the discussion, but also of the theory itself. This work has been made possible by a Grant from the Tercentenary Foundation of the Swedish National Bank, project Interpretational Complexity, as well as by support from the ESF Eurocores project CCCOM, Communication in Context, led by Professor Åsa Wikforss.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.StockholmSweden

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