Speaking, Inferring, Arguing. On the Argumentative Character of Speech


argumentative value
inferential meaning
normativity of speech


DOI: http://doi.org/10.26333/sts.xxxiv2.04

Within the Gricean framework in pragmatics, communication is understood as an inferential activity. Other approaches to the study of linguistic communication have contended that language is argumentative in some essential sense. My aim is to study the question of whether and how the practices of inferring and arguing can be taken to contribute to meaning in linguistic communication. I shall suggest a two-fold hypothesis. First, what makes of communication an inferential activity is given with its calculability, i.e. with the possibility to rationally recover the assigned meaning by means of an explicit inference. Secondly, the normative positions that we recognize and assign each other with our speech acts comprise obligations and rights of a dialectical character; but this fact does not entail nor presuppose an argumentative nature in language or speech. Both inferring and arguing are needed, however, in the activity of justifying and assessing our speech acts.



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