Advertisement

Pronominals and presuppositions in that-clauses of indirect reports

  • Alessandro Capone
  • Alessandra Falzone
  • Paola Pennisi
Chapter
Part of the Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology book series (PEPRPHPS, volume 19)

Abstract

In this paper, after outlining the general problem of the pragmatics of indirect reports, we dwell on two notoriously thorny problems: a) how do we interpret the pronominals contained in that-clauses of indirect reports; b) how do we interpret the presuppositions of that-clauses of indirect reports? (These two problems appear to us to be connected either through the specific nature of the solutions or through some general format of the problem). Theoretical considerations lead us in the direction of the idea that if two pragmatic principles clash, one should give way, but since we do not know which one has to give way, we should be prepared to accept that the strongest or highest-ranking principle will defeat (in the sense of temporarily suspending) the other (see Huang 2014). Here we encounter a Principle, which Capone (2006) brought our attention to, that is not usually discussed in pragmatic theories, but which seems to play a crucial role, at least sometimes:
  • Do not expect the hearers and the speakers to do what is not possible for them to do.

In this paper, we recognize that the problem of opacity is connected with the problem of voices: who is responsible for a given section of the utterance. Given the presence of polyphony (the presence of two or more voices in the same utterance or section of the utterance (see Macagno and Capone 2016), this problem can be resolved either through contextual clues or through pragmatic principles (see Huang 2014; Douven 2010; Kecskes 2013). We prefer to see the interplay of principles and contextual clues as one in which the interpretation process is pretty orderly, with general principles providing the defaults, while contextual clues occasionally defeat the defaults in certain problematic cases. However, the issue of responsibility, which we try to regiment through the Paraphrasis/Form-style principle, does not only concern the issue of opacity but also the issue of how to find a referent for indexical expressions contained in the that-clause of a report and and how to satisfy the presuppositions of the that-clause. In this case the Paraphrasis/Form-style Principle makes wrong predictions, which have to be rectified thanks to a different principle. The pragmatic theory we apply certainly needs some flexibility (see Huang 2014 on the hierarchy of pragmatic principles), but a flexibility which is not injected into the theory by a mechanical ordering of the rules (that makes pragmatics similar to a generative apparatus), but by explaining why a certain principle takes precedence over another in terms of considerations of rationality (see Capone and Poggi 2016).

Keywords

Indirect reports presuppositions pronominals context 

References

  1. Atlas, Jay, Levinson, S. 1981. It-clefts, informativeness and logical form: radical pragmatics. In P. Cole (Ed.), Radical pragmatics. New York: Academic Press. 1–62.Google Scholar
  2. Capone, Alessandro. 2000. Dilemmas and excogitations. An essay on modality, clitics and discourse. Messina, Armando Siciliano.Google Scholar
  3. Capone, Alessandro. 2006. On Grice’s circle (a theory-internal problem in linguistic theories of the Gricean type). Journal of Pragmatics 38 (2006) 645–669.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Capone, Alessandro. 2010. On the social practice of indirect reports (further advances in the theory of pragmemes). Journal of Pragmatics 42, 377–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Capone Alessandro. Forthcoming. The pragmatics of indirect reports. Dordrecht, Speringer.Google Scholar
  6. Capone, Alessandro. 2012. Indirect reports as language games. Pragmatics and Cognition 20/3, 593–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Capone, Alessandro, Poggi, Francesca. 2016. Pragmatics and law. Vol. 1. Dordrecht, Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carston, Robyn. 2002. Thoughts and utterances. The pragmatics of explicit communication. Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Corazza, Eros. 2004. Reflecting the mind. Oxford, OUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cummings, Louise. 2014. Can there ever be a theory of utterance interpretation? Reti, Saperi, Linguaggi 2, 199–222.Google Scholar
  11. Davidson, Donald. 1968. On saying that. Synthese 19, 130–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Davis, Wayne. 2013. Indexicals and de se attitudes. In Feit, Neil, Capone, Alessandro, eds. Attitudes De Se: Linguistics, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Stanford, CSLI publications, 29–58.Google Scholar
  13. Davis, Wayne. 2016a. Pronouns and neo-Gricean pragmatics. In A. Capone, J.L. Mey, Interdisciplinary studies in pragmatics, culture and society. Dordrecht, Springer, 137–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Davis, Wayne. 2016b. A theory of saying reports. In A. Capone, F. Kiefer, F. Lo Piparo, eds, Indirect reports and pragmatics. Dordrecht, Springer, 291–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Devitt, Michael. 1996. Coming to our senses. Cambridge, CUP.Google Scholar
  16. Douven, Igor. The epistemology of de se beliefs. In Feit, Neil, Capone, Alessandro, eds. Attitudes De Se: Linguistics, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Stanford, CSLI publications, 273–290.Google Scholar
  17. Douven, Igor. 2010. The pragmatics of belief. Journal of Pragmatics 42, 35–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Elbourne, Paul. 2008. The argument from binding. Philosophical perspectives 22, 89–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Chierchia, Gennaro, McConnell-Ginet, Sally. 1990. Meaning and grammar. Cambridge Ma, MIT Press.Google Scholar
  20. Kroch, Anthony (1972). “Lexical and inferred meanings for some time adverbs.” Quarterly Progress Report of the Research Laboratory of Electronics 104, Massachusetts, MIT.Google Scholar
  21. Grice, H.P. 1989. Studies in the way of words. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Hall, Alison. 2014. ‘Free’ enrichment and the nature of pragmatic constraints. International Review of Pragmatics 6/1, 1–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Haugh, Michael. 2014. Im/politeness implicatures. Berlin/New York, Mouton De Gruyter.Google Scholar
  24. Heim, Irene. 1983. On the Projection Problem for Presuppositions,” in M. Barlow, D. Flickinger, and N. Wiegand (eds.), Proceedings of WCCFL 2, Stanford Univ., 1983,114–125, 1983. Reprinted in S. Davis (ed.), Pragmatics, Oxford Univ.Press, Oxford, 397–405, 1990.Google Scholar
  25. Higginbotham, James. 2003. Remembering, Imagining, and the First Person. In Alex Barber (ed.), Epistemology of Language. Clarendon Press. 496–535.Google Scholar
  26. Huang, Yan. 1994. The syntax and pragmatics of anaphora. A study with special reference to Chinese. Cambridge, CUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Huang, Yan. 2000. Anaphora. A cross-linguistic study. Oxford, OUP.Google Scholar
  28. Huang, Yan. 2014. Pragmatics. Oxford, OUP.Google Scholar
  29. Kecskes, Istvan. 2013. Intercultural Pragmatics. Oxford, OUP.Google Scholar
  30. Jaszczolt, K. 1999. Discourse, beliefs and intentions. Semantic Defaults and Propositional Attitude Ascription. Oxford, Elsevier.Google Scholar
  31. Jaszczolt, K. 2005. Default semantics. Foundations of a Compositional Theory of Acts of Communication. Oxford, OUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jaszczolt, K. 2013. Contextualism and Minimalism on De Se belief ascription. In Feit, Neil, Capone, Alessandro, eds. Attitudes De Se: Linguistics, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Stanford, CSLI publications, 69–103.Google Scholar
  33. Jaszczolt, K. 2016. Meaning in linguistic interaction. Semantics, Metasemantics, Philosophy of Language. Oxford, OUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Leonardi, Paolo. 2013. Language adds to context. In A. Capone, F. Lo PIparo, M. Carapezza, eds. Perspectives on pragmatics and philosophy. Dordrecht, Springer, 277–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Levinson, S. 1983. Pragmatics. Cambridge, CUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Levinson, Stephen C. 1991. Pragmatic reduction of the binding conditions revisited. Journal of Linguistics 27, 107–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Levinson, Stephen C. 2000. Presumptive meanings. The theory of generalized conversational implicature. Cambridge Mass, MIT Press.Google Scholar
  38. Macagno, Fabrizio, Capone, Alessandro. 2016. Uncommon ground. Intercultural Pragmatics 2016.Google Scholar
  39. Mey, Jacob L. 2001. Pragmatics. Oxford, Blackwell-Wiley.Google Scholar
  40. Norrick, Neal. 2016. Indirect reports, quotation and narrative. In A. Capone, F. Kiefer, F. Lo Piparo, eds. Indirect reports and pragmatics. Dordrecht, Springer, 93–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Soames, Scott. 1982. How Presuppositions Are Inherited: A Solution to the Projection Problem. Linguistic Inquiry 13/3, 483–545.Google Scholar
  42. Sperber, Dan, Deirdre, Wilson. 1986. Relevance. Communication and cognition. (with postface, 1995). Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  43. Recanati, F. 2004. Literal meanings. Cambridge, CUP.Google Scholar
  44. Richard, Mark. 2013. Context and the attitudes. Oxford, OUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Stalnaker, Robert. 1999. Context and content. Oxford, OUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Stalnaker, Robert. 2002. Common ground. Linguistics and Philosophy 25, 701–721.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Stanley, Jason. 2007. Language in context. Oxford, OUP.Google Scholar
  48. Van der Sandt, Robert. 1992. Presupposition projection as anaphora resolution. Journal of Semantics 9/4, 333–377.Google Scholar
  49. Vološinov, V.N. 1971. Reported speech. In L. Matejka, K. Pomorsko (Eds.), Readings in Russian poetics. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press, 149–175.Google Scholar
  50. Wettstein, Howard. 2016. Speaking for another. In A. Capone, F. Kiefer, F. Lo Piparo, eds. Indirect reports and pragmatics. Dordrecht, Springer, 405–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandro Capone
    • 1
  • Alessandra Falzone
    • 1
  • Paola Pennisi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Cognitive ScienceUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly
  2. 2.Researcher in Philosophy of Language, Department of Cognitive ScienceUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly

Personalised recommendations