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Elements of Hermeneutic Pragmatics

Agency and Interpretation

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Tahir Wood

Can linguistic pragmatics be developed without the need to formulate rules, criteria or maxims? The author argues that rules as they have been conceived of within pragmatics, particularly speech act theory, are limiting and out of step with the linguistic science of recent decades.
Using a hermeneutic approach to pragmatics, this book seeks to bring pragmatics closer to the cognitive paradigm that has transformed the other branches of the linguistic and communication sciences, with the help of developments in certain neighbouring disciplines such as philosophy, sociology and narratology. The elements that are opened up to pragmatics in this approach include some new conceptions of intentionality, intertextuality, communicative action and literary authorship, as well as the subjectivity of interpretation, which by its very nature ceaselessly transforms all forms of communication in its historical spiral.
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Chapter 10: Summary of Implications and Testable Hypotheses

Extract

CHAPTER 10

Summary of Implications and Testable Hypotheses

Looking ahead

The claims made in the various parts of this book are of varying statuses. Some of them have been critical while others have been speculative in such a way as to generate hypotheses for further research. The idea of this closing chapter is to separate out some of the more important claims and to consider how far they have been justified so far and how they may be investigated further. While the nature of further research cannot be anticipated here – it may cross all sorts of disciplinary boundaries – it does seem important to identify those claims that are regarded as being in need of further research. I do not include amongst these the arguments of the first three chapters concerning the critique of speech act theory. What I have done there is to argue, on the basis of established principles of linguistic science, for the untenability of certain forms of pragmatic studies deriving from philosophy, in particular speech act theory. It is rather the positive claims made in the subsequent chapters that need to be itemized here for potential future research.

Purposiveness

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