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Research in Clinical Pragmatics: The Essence of a New Philosophy, the State of the Art and Future Research

  • Paola PennisiEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology book series (PEPRPHPS, volume 20)

Abstract

A relatively new discipline is being born. Clinical pragmatics is a new research field mainly dedicated to investigate cognitive underpinnings of pragmatics, using as a starting point of investigations the alterations showed by patients in which pragmatics is, in such a way, altered.

Is this field of research promising? If so, for what specifically? How could this discipline be developed in the future for better results?

In order to answer this question, in this study, I review the state of the art of clinical pragmatics through Louise Cummings’s Research in Clinical Pragmatics, that collects the best recent developments of the discipline taken on from the world’s most expert researchers in the field. I analysed in detail and analytically discussed and organized all the essays considered. Finally I discussed challenges for methodology and I suggested some guidelines for future researches in this field.

My review shows that today we dispose a lot of scientific data in clinical pragmatics, but we need to collect other data and above all to theoretically reflect specifically on the following topics: the typical development of Theory of Mind (ToM), social knowledge, executive functions, the relation between executive functions and ToM, reference, presupposition, conversational implicatures, the method to measure pragmatics skills, aetiology of pragmatic behaviours, cognitive profile of patients with pragmatic alterations, developmental aspects of pragmatics, longitudinal development of pragmatics in typical and a-typical subjects, efficacy of interventions, evaluation of impact of pragmatic disorders in patients’ life, patients’ pragmatic strengths, the impact of transcultural differences in pragmatic skills, philosophical investigations on the possibility to translate classical pragmatic concepts into quantitative measurement, pragmatic performances of bilingual subjects.

Clinical pragmatics is a research area which is booming. It is a territory which is still little explored where the interdisciplinary meeting (typical of cognitive sciences approach) between pragmatics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, neuroscience and linguistics promises the processing of prolific philosophical theories and a deeper understanding of some of the most widespread diseases in the world, such as autism or Parkinson’s. In this direction Research in Clinical Pragmatics is a good example of how to prolifically investigate in clinical pragmatics.

List of Abbreviations

AD

Alzheimer’s Dementia

ADHD

Attention Hyperactivity Disorder

ASD

Autism Spectrum Disorders

CP

Cerebral Palsy

HL

Hearing Loss

ID

Intellectual Disability

non-AD

non-Alzheimer’s Dementias

PD

Parkinson’s Disease without Dementia

PLI

Pragmatic language impairment

RHD

Right-Hemisphere Damage

TBI

Traumatic Brain Injury

ToM

Theory of Mind

VI

Visual Impairment

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Linguistic Centre of Messina University (CLAM)MessinaItaly

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