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Explorations in Language and Linguistics

For Professor Piotr Stalmaszczyk on the Occasion of His 60th Birthday

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Edited By Łukasz Bogucki and Piotr Cap

This volume is dedicated to Professor Piotr Stalmaszczyk, Head of the Department of English and General Linguistics at the University of Łódź, on the occasion of his 60th birthday. It includes texts written by his students, colleagues and friends, dealing with a variety of urgent, widely discussed topics in the contemporary language studies. Spanning contributions from language history, philosophy, rhetoric and argumentation, methodology, and discourse studies, it provides an authoritative outline of the field and a timely response to the existing challenges, thus making for a concise handbook of modern linguistics. It is recommended to graduate students of philology, as well as researchers working in linguistics and other disciplines within the broad spectrum of humanities and social sciences.

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Representing Utterance Meaning: In Search of a Proposition (Katarzyna M. Jaszczolt)

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Katarzyna M. Jaszczolt

Representing Utterance Meaning: In Search of a Proposition1

Abstract: Following the ‘occasionalist’ approach in contemporary semantics, the chapter argues that it is only a rich, discourse- and intention-driven understanding of meaning that ought to be the object of a theory of meaning. From this standpoint, it is discussed what counts as a proposition, what counts as truth-conditional content, and what role the proposition fulfils in the analysis of meaning of acts of communication.

Keywords: meaning – theory of meaning – utterance meaning – occasionalism – Default Semantics

For Piotr Stalmaszczyk

1 Setting the Scene

Debates concerning the object and scope of a theory of meaning are still in full swing. On the one hand, there is minimal semantics that advocates the revival of the traditional distinction between meaning that results from the analysis of the logical form of the sentence – where ‘results from’ allows only for those contributions from context that are grammar- or lexicon-driven (Borg, e.g. 2004, 2012), while on the other there is occasionalism, according to which meaning is not only substantially context-dependent but it is also dependent on the circumstances in which it is evaluated (see e.g. Travis 2008 on ‘occasion-sensitivity’). The middle ground is occupied by a variety of views that draw on context to various degrees and with different degrees of freedom from syntactic constraints. The end points are not well defined either: one can be even more ‘minimal’ than propositional...

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