The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language

The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language

Journal of Pragmatics 39 (2007) 2080–2089 www.elsevier.com/locate/pragma Book review The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language Ernest Lepore, Bar...

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Journal of Pragmatics 39 (2007) 2080–2089 www.elsevier.com/locate/pragma

Book review The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language Ernest Lepore, Barry C. Smith, Eds., OUP, Oxford, 2006, xvi + 1083 pp. This is not just a voluminous tome but a splendid reference book which will help students and professional scholars alike find their way into philosophy of language, by choosing between alternative theories. Those who recall Strawson’s reference to the Homeric battles between formal semanticists and proponents of less formal, communication-oriented paradigms will find it somehow surprising that both paradigms are represented in this book—surely an indication that the editors (who are closer to the formal paradigm) are pretty open-minded people. I heavily applaud this book and recognize that it has many merits, among which that of addressing the semantics/pragmatics debate in a number of articles. Surely compiling such a book must have involved enormous sacrifice and the editors must have been aware that, perhaps because of this book, philosophy of language will be on a better footing from now onwards. Nevertheless, I also want to make many critical remarks, hoping that they will contribute directly or indirectly to the debates in question. The book somehow challenges Partee’s remark (personal communication to the editors) that no interesting work can be done in semantics without knowledge of syntax. I think Lepore and Smith show that there is much left for philosophy of language, such as, for example, the connection between philosophy of mind and philosophy of language. I personally find that while the articles in the handbook demonstrate that philosophy of language of a more classical type can still be done, students would have benefited from articles in which philosophy and syntax mix to give interesting accounts of certain philosophical notions. We are happy to read that, according to the editors, ‘‘the philosophy of language now focuses on its primary concern: the nature of natural language and the extraordinary capacity of human beings to express and communicate their thoughts about the world and other subject-matters’’ (p. viii). At least the authors from the outset refuse to embrace the point of view that language is solely an instrument of thought and accept that language is also an instrument of communication. They continue by saying that ‘‘Philosophy of language continues to take seriously the special place language plays in our lives as an object and source of knowledge, as an interface between minds, and as an anchor between experience and reality’’ (p. ix). Well I have no quarrel with this, except that it does not allow (at least by direct logical/semantic implication) that language serves to shape human personality and that education intended as a global speech act turns out to have strong effects on the way a person turns out to be. Does personality develop out of human linguistic interaction? And what are the effects of education and linguistic interaction on personality? Is the person a fixed entity or some kind of variable entity, a social, interactional construction? Can philosophers and philosophers of language address this topic and is not this 0378-2166/$ – see front matter # 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2007.07.015

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topic of great interest to mankind? (This is not to say that the issue whether there is some kind of stable entity called ‘a person’ is not intricate and difficult.) I think that nothing of the sort appears in this book and perhaps it is wise to suggest that the interfaces between philosophy of mind, moral philosophy and philosophy of communication ought to be explored in great detail. The book starts with some history of philosophy of language. The articles by Heck and May on Frege, by Beaney on Wittgenstein, and by Thomas Baldwin on philosophy of language in the twentieth century are very detailed introductions to the topics in question. Especially Baldwin’s article appears to be written in a style that is comprehensible to students and that combines elegance and terseness. Segal’s article, following in Donald Davidson’s footsteps, argues that a theory of meaning should be cast in a theory of truth. Instead of using sentences of the type ‘‘‘S’ means that p’’ in order to express the meaning of a sentence, Segal, following Tarski’s and Davidson’s tradition, tries to handle meaning in terms of truth-conditions; thus, the meaning of a sentence ‘S’ is dealt with by the help of the following schema: ‘S’ is true iff p where ‘S’ would be replaced by an object-language sentence and ‘p’ by a translation of that sentence in the metalanguage. The requirement that p translates S is part of what ensures the material adequacy of the truth definition. The way it works is the following. Suppose that S is true. Since p is a translation of S, it must have the same truth-value as S, and so it must be true too. Conversely if S is false, then p is false. The problems which this theory faces are well-known. I dealt with them in Capone (2007). For example, how do we avoid the proliferation of truth-conditions of the following type? (1)

Snow is white if Snow is white and either snow is black or snow is not black.

Presumably, according to Segal, Davidson resolves this problem by (D): (D)

A sentence S of a language L means that p iff a theorem of a maximally simple, lawlike truth-theory for L says that S is true iff p.

This problem was addressed in greater detail in Capone (2007). Segal, in the last section of his article, entitled ‘Context and the limits of formality’ examines a type of objection to the formal theories of meaning, according to which meaning is reducible to truth-conditions. According to radical contextualists such as Travis, truth-conditional approaches face severe problems due to a number of expressions, among which are colour words. Segal considers a story by Travis (personal communication). If one utters (2) (2)

That is a red one

in a context where the demonstrative picks a water-melon, presumably one wants to choose a melon that is red inside (not outside). (2) in this context is true if the watermelon in question is red inside. However, suppose an artist is looking for a melon with a green peel outside and his colourblind friend says (2). In this context, (2) is false. Travis believes that the utterances have got different truth conditions even though they are utterances of what appears a single sentence.

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Segal replies in the following way: This proposal leads to some counterintuitive consequences, since it makes it very easy for something to be red. Suppose, for example, that there is a species of brown mushroom with two similar-looking subspecies. One subspecies has characteristic tiny red dots on the underside of its cap and the other has corresponding yellow ones. As a result, people classify them as ‘‘red’’ and ‘‘yellow’’. Suppose that the artist is assembling a scene for a still life that he wants to paint. I offer to go home and fetch a mushroom that I think will fit in nicely. It is one of the brown ones with tiny red dots. The artist asks me what colour it is and I say ‘‘It’s red’’. On the suggested account, my utterance is strictly and literally true. But that doesn’t seem right. When I bring the mushroom, the artist might well exclaim: ‘‘It’s brown, not red’’ (p. 209–210). Well, I think this is a humorous story showing that there is something wrong about the proposals of Radical Contextualists. Especially colour words, contrary to what the radical contextualists’s stories lead us to expect, are subject to tight rules. One of them, as pointed out by Segal, who however does not quite finish his story, is that if I describe an object by applying a colour to it, then the colour applies to most of the object’s surface and not to tiny parts of it. Thus, it is not reasonable to say that a car is white just because a few tiny details of it are white. When we say that a car is white we mean that it is preponderantly white. The article by Segal on semantics is coupled with a good and instructive overview of semantic theories by another eminent philosopher of language, Jeffrey King. Assuming that truth-conditional semantics is feasible, following Segal, I think we should worry about the fact that many speech acts (other than assertions) are not things about which we would (spontaneously) say that they are true or false. A speech act like a directive makes things happen and does not obviously report the way things are. Boisvert and Ludwig in their article in the Handbook acknowledge that non-assertive speech acts are, prima facie, not truth-evaluable. Yet, they believe that a truth-conditional approach to natural language semantics can be rescued by positing that speech acts (of all types) have got fulfilment conditions. On p. 877 they provide some basic fulfilment conditions: For all atomic w, for any u(w), w is fulfilled (u) iff If w is a declarative, then w is true (u); If w is an imperative, then w is obeyed (u); If w is an interrogative, then w is answered (u). Consider an utterance of (3) (3)

Put on your hat.

Let ‘core (w)’ be a function that takes an imperative or an interrogative to its declarative core (my interpretation is that the declarative core is what is obtained by transforming (3) into ‘X puts on his hat’ (where X is whoever happens to be the addressee of the speech act)). Obedience conditions for imperatives are as follows: For any imperative w, for any u (w), w is obeyed (u) iff A(u) (the audience of u) makes it the case that Core (w) is true (u) with the intention of fulfilling u. Well, a natural objection to this approach is that an assertion is not fulfilled when it is true, but when the hearer comes to believe the asserted proposition. This would be required to make

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fulfilment conditions of assertions and other speech acts symmetric, as we would not want to say that the speech act X (e.g. an assertion of ‘Mary is at home’) is fulfilled if Mary is at home, because the assertion is justified even on mere grounds that ‘Mary is at home’ (regardless of whether it turns out to be the case that it is true that Mary is at home). The assertion is fulfilled if knowledge or a belief is transmitted. The truth of ‘p’ is not sufficient on its own to justify the assertibility of ‘p’. Another problem I find in this approach is that the fulfilment of a speech act is said to depend on whether the audience will do something to comply with it. Now, suppose my boss tells me to tell John to go and buy some stamps. I tell John (4) (4)

Go and buy some stamps.

I gave him an order and the order is fulfilled even in the absence of an appropriate response. I do not really care whether John goes and buys some stamps (for the boss). All I care of is that I complied with my order by giving John an order. Provided that he shows understanding of the speech act, that is enough for me. Well, I think Boisvert and Ludwig can now reply that, in fact, this is not my order, but my boss’s order. It was him, not me, who gave the order. I simply acted as a messenger. Well, this may well be, but the authors need to take this complication into account. Now, I think that a better way of dealing with these problems is to ask: what must be true for (4) to be felicitously uttered. And the answer is that the speaker (or someone whom he represents) wants John to go and buy some stamps. Yet, it does not make sense to say that (4) is true if the speaker wants John to go and buy some stamps, since we simply tend not to accept that (4) is something that can be said to be true or false. While the theory about fulfilment conditions is certainly a step in the right directions, I think that a more detailed theory is needed. That semantics needs to be complemented by pragmatics is an idea which has been around (in philosophy of language and linguistics) for a long time. Grice has certainly spurred a lot of theorising about the pragmatics of language (without calling himself this discipline ‘pragmatics’) and although some eminent linguist likes to remind us that those ideas were not completely original and that, in fact, Mill long before also proposed similar ideas, I think that for the right reasons most reasonable philosophers attribute the importance of having founded a new branch of philosophy/linguistics to Paul Grice. Grice, however, never explicitly talked of pragmatic intrusion, of pragmatics being indispensable to making a proposition truth-evaluable. Instead, Relevance theorists such as Sperber and Wilson and Carston have proposed that semantics is largely underdetermined and that pragmatics is essential to providing full propositions on the basis of semantic templates provided by semantics. This, in essence, Carston and Powell’s contribution to the handbook. Carston and Powell outline Relevance theory on p. 342: For Sperber & Wilson, relevance is, roughly speaking, a trade-off between cognitive effects and processing effort: the greater the ratio of effects to efforts the greater the relevance of an input. (. . .). Quite generally, an utterance comes with the presumption of its optimal relevance; that is, there is an implicit guarantee that the utterance is the most relevant one the speaker could have produced, given her abilities and preferences, and that it is at least relevant to be worth processing (p. 342). Carston and Powell give us some examples of how Relevance Theory can deal with lexical pragmatics. Consider (5)

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Holland is flat.

Strictly speaking, the departure from flatness is greater in the case of a whole country than in the case of one’s back-garden. Thus, the interpretation process at work in (5) is a case of pragmatic broadening. Consider now an example such as (6): 6

I have eaten.

Pragmatics provides the explication of the time of the utterance (I have eaten at t), without positing variables or unarticulated constituents. On p. 349 Carston and Powell completely reject the idea of having unarticulated constituents at logical form. The article by Carston and Powell has got a section on reference which deals with the attributive/referential distinction. I quite agree with the claim that the interpretation of definite descriptions is largely a pragmatic process but I find the attempt to provide a semantics for such expressions too vague. The authors say: All these expressions, on this view, are marked as individual concept communicators by virtue of their linguistically encoded meaning. That is to say, they are marked as contributing to a hearer’s mental representation a concept which, roughly speaking, is taken to be satisfied by a unique individual (p. 347). What is not satisfactory, in my opinion, is the fact that the ‘attributive reading’ is not properly characterised from a formal point of view. Surely there is a deep difference between the meaning Whoever is President must go to Rome now and The president (Bush) must go to Rome now. The attributive reading need not involve existential quantification in the admittedly rare case when it has no existential presupposition. In fact, I can say ‘‘The president of USA must go to Rome’’ without having in mind a particular president and without accepting that the USA has got a President (suppose that both the president and the vice-president suddenly die and elections are to be held; alternatively, suppose the sentence is uttered by a committee who creates a new constitution for a country in which monarchy has just been abolished). In my modest opinion, even if relevance theorists are right to say that pragmatics applies in the case of referential/ attributive interpretations of definite descriptions, a lot more has to be said to make this issue less mysterious than it is. Contributions by relevance theorists in this area are particularly weak. I have got two more points to make. A reference to Blakemore’s notion of the procedural/ conceptual distinction would have been useful for students. In fact, the chapter does not have a reference to Blakemore. Another point which needs to be taken into account (as noted by Von Heusinger and Turner (2006) and Saul (2002)) is that the notion of what is said is becoming too divergent from Paul Grice’s view of meaning, which is defined essentially in terms of a speaker’s communicative intention. I suppose that what is put in question is the fact that relevance theory is a theory of meaning in the sense of Gricean’s term ‘meaning’. It is rather a theory of interpretation in which what is said is computed ‘automatically’ without explicit reasoning of the Gricean type. I must say that I checked the work by relevance theorists many times and I found out that the expression ‘the speaker’s intentions’ appears innumerable times. I assume that what gets interpreted, by means of the relevance theory machinery, is the speakers’ intentions. The fact that interpretation is carried out non-consciously is not a serious objection to Relevance’s theory’s being a theory about the speaker’s intentions. In fact, the Principle of Relevance is obeyed (consciously nor not) both by the speaker and by the hearer and it is this mutual acceptance that brings it about that interpretations are in line with the speaker’s intentions.

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The authors also try to address the question of modularity, but I think that Sperber and Wilson (2002) is more explanatory on this topic (being more specific in character). The relevance theory approach to the semantics/pragmatics debate is defended by Stainton who writes that ‘‘semantics in this tradition can be nothing more than rules for mapping one mental representation to another, by well-defined tractable procedures. The science of language is thus restricted to describing the sub-personal, unconscious, automatic, cognitively impenetrable rules of the language faculty (. . .). Put in this way, it can seem that semantics becomes extremely ‘thin’’’ (p. 935). Stainton is sceptical that there can be a science of word-world relations that pairs ‘‘public words and sentences’’ with worldly objects, sets, and proto-thoughts (p. 920). While relevance theorists deny that ‘literal meanings’ have an important role to play in the assignment of truth-conditions to utterances of sentences, Emma Borg in her paper in the handbook defends the view that literal meanings are the point of departure in a successful theory of meaning and that the existence of them fits in with a modular conception of the mind. Modularity claims that the mind is composed of a number of discrete or encapsulated modules, each dedicated to some aspect of human intelligence. According to Borg (p. 362), there is some evidence that grasp of literal, semantic content for sentences is the kind of ability which deserves a modular explanation, as literal linguistic comprehension displays the characteristic of a module, as shown by certain mental pathologies such as cases of schizophrenia where an agent may retain semantic abilities despite the loss of other cognitive skills. A balanced view of the semantics/pragmatics debate is that advocated by Szabo´ on pp. 375–376: An utterance is an action involving the articulation of a linguistic expression by an intentional agent, the speaker, directed at an intentional agent, the addressee. The interpretation of the utterance is a cognitive process whereby the addressee ascertains what the speaker meant in making the utterance. In paradigm cases, interpretation begins with the recognition of a certain acoustic event and ends with knowledge about what the speaker meant in bringing that event about. In between the beginning and the end, the addressee relies on her ability to understand linguistic expressions (her knowledge of their linguistic meanings) and on her ability to track what is manifest in the situation (her knowledge of the context of utterance). When she does the former, she is engaged in semantic interpretation, when she does the latter, she is engaged in pragmatic interpretation. Szabo´ criticises Grice on p. 376 for not paying sufficient attention to the distinction between illocutionary and perlocutionary effects in his definition of meaning. He proposes that just illocutionary acts should be ‘‘the endpoint of utterance interpretation’’. Well, I think that here the problem is that perlocutionary acts may be among the intended conversational implicatures and while I would agree with him that the illocutionary point should be part of what is said, it is dubious that the term meaning, generic as it is, could not encompass both illocutionary and perlocutionary effects. Unlike Borg, who places excessive weight on literal content, Szabo´ answers negatively the question whether interpretation always has to involve a semantic component and whether we have to know what words, phrases and clauses were uttered and what the speaker meant in uttering them. Szabo´ believes it is doubtful that there can be interpretation without a pragmatic component. In support of his view, he considers the example of the maths teacher who says (assertively) 4853 + 694 = 5547 (p. 379). The fact that the teacher said just this and not something else (beyond the asserted content) depends on knowledge of the context. In fact, the same sentence, in the mouth of an enraged customer in a restaurant might be interpreted as a complaint about the faulty addition on his bill (it is surprising that Szabo´ does not consider the

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semantic effect of intonation as expressing an element of doubt). On pp. 382–383 the author presents further examples on the issue of the semantics/pragmatics debate and discusses whether one should posit hidden variables at the level of logical form. On p. 384 the author makes some interesting remarks about the properties of context (addressing the issue whether the context of utterance should contain what the speaker meant). The handbook contains an interesting article by Bach on ‘What does it take to refer?’. This chapter starts with a quotation from Strawson (1950) which reads as follows: ‘‘Referring is not something an expression does; it is something that someone can use an expression to do’’ (p. 516). Bach proposes that (a) in using a certain expression to refer to someone, you’re trying to get them, via the fact that you are using that expression, to think of it as what you intend them to think of; (b) even though definite descriptions are not referring expressions, often the only way to refer to something is by using a definite description; (c) descriptive reference is not genuine reference; (d) a given singular term seems to mean the same thing whether it is used referentially or not, and an adequate semantic theory should explain this; (e) the speaker’s referential intention determines speaker reference but not semantic reference. I find that Bach, as always, produces very interesting and robust considerations. This article can be considered the starting point for further work on reference. Chapter 40 of the handbook consists of Cappelen and Lepore’s views on shared content. Presumably many of these materials are taken from Cappelen and Lepore (2005). The authors are aware that their ideas are unusual in philosophy of language (as they explicitly say in Cappelen and Lepore, 2005). The basic claim of the book is that even if the same sentence, uttered in contexts C0 and C00 by distinct speakers expresses different assertions, at a level of generality it is possible to report that the same thing was said. The authors attach special importance to disquotational indirect reports, as they serve to prove that in reporting what another person said we abstract away from many details of the original context of utterance and merely confine ourselves to reporting the essential structure of the original thought. This is not surprising, is it? If we want to report what Mary said when he uttered (7) (7)

John brought spoons, forks, and knives with him

we can abstract away from the many details present in (7) and just say (8) (8)

Mary said that John brought his cutlery with him.

If we can do this with explicit elements of the semantics of the sentence, why cannot we do this with those features of the context which result in pragmatic increments given the uttered sentence? We can leave away the pragmatic increments and focus on the basic structure of what is said. This is reasonable because what is said can be more or less fine-grained. I have a doubt, though, about the applicability of this sort of usage of the grand angle. The authors seem to say that disquotational indirect reports prove that by two utterances of the same sentence the same thing is said. To be more precise two utterances of the same sentence share the same semantic content. So, suppose one utters (9) (9)

Serena is really smart

in a context in which Serena plays tennis and then suppose one utters (9) in a context in which Serena acts as a shop manager, despite the subtle differences between what is said (due to

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pragmatic increments), the shared content is that Serena is really smart. Both utterances of (9) in different contexts can be reported by (10) (10) John said that Serena is really smart. Cappelen and Lepore assume that the disquotational indirect report (10) proves that the two utterances said the same thing and that there is a shared content. Well, I think that Cappelen and Lepore must at least be right in saying that there is a shared content in the sense that the words ‘really smart’ were used. But I am not sure that this is the kind of shared content that points to an insensitive semantics that is not just conceptual but also truth-conditional. In other words, disquotational indirect reports which the authors make lavish use of in defence of their theory are vulnerable to attacks from Contextualists on the grounds that they are also highly contextsensitive. Presumably, (10) amounts to (11) (11) John said something that involved the words ‘Serena is really smart’. I do not think that this is what the authors want (to say). Presumably what they want is an intuition that distinct utterances of (9), despite their subtle differences, convey the thought (give us the knowledge) that Serena has some kind of superior (non-average) intelligence. In other words, given (10) it must be possible to know what the world is like. I think the authors cannot be contradicted on this. Hearing (10), even if I miss some of the details of the original utterances reported, I have a grasp of what the world must be like. In particular I know what to expect about Serena. I know that she is not stupid, that she is rapid at making calculations, that she can engage in complex reasoning, etc. Is not this valuable information? Presumably it is. Well, this is not to say that all the examples the contextualists resort to are tractable in this way. I am not completely sure, for example, that Cappelen and Lepore can deal with quantification with the same confidence and success. If I know that every bottle is empty, I am not sure that I know a great deal about the world, even if I can imagine what the world must be like if this claim is true relative to an absolute domain (every bottle in the world). The authors present interesting arguments against content similarity (presumably a view of relevance theorists) on pp. 1035–1036. The arguments the authors present in defence of shared semantic content are very interesting. For example, on coordinated action they say: Often, people in different contexts are asked to do the same thing e.g. pay taxes. They receive the same instructions, are bound by the same rules, the same laws and conventions. For such instructions to function, we must assume a wide range of utterances express the same content (p. 1032). About collective deliberation, they say: When people over a period of time, across a variety of contexts, try to find out whether something is so, they typically assume content stability across contexts. Consider a CIA task force concerned with weather Igor knows that Jane is a spy. They are unsure whether or not he does. Investigators, over a period of time, in different contexts study this question. If what they are trying to determine, i.e. whether Igor knows that Jane is a spy, changes across contexts, contingent, for example, on their evidence, what is contextually salient, the conversational context, etc., collective deliberation across contexts would make no sense (p. 1032).

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Well, contextualists might say that surely this is a case in which the CIA has got protocols for important decisions that settle contextual parameters. Yet, I think that I agree with the intuition that, for knowledge attributions at least, we know what the world must be like if the sentence (12)

Igor knows that Jane is a spy

is true. It must be minimally true that Igor has some (reliable) justification for believing the true proposition that Jane is a spy. The handbook ends with an important article by Donald Davidson entitled ‘‘The perils and pleasures of interpretation’’. The article is very deep and impressive. Davidson tackles the problem of other minds. He believes that attributing a thought to an agent amounts to making connections between that thought and many other thoughts. Davidson claims that beliefs are interconnected and that, for example, by attributing the thought that there is a spider in the corner to Carlos, one also typically attributes other thoughts to him: that what he sees is a living animal, that it has many legs, that it must eat to continue living, etc. Conceptual complexity of this kind is what an animal like a parrot that is able to name a (limited) number of objects lacks. A parrot can be conditioned to name a number of objects but there is no proof that it has got conceptual complexity. Propositional thought requires a network of thoughts in order to identify one. It is this network of thoughts which the parrot lacks. Davidson is interested in the issue of other minds and its connection with natural language semantics. We can know what another person thinks through what he says. Obviously, interpretation is largely dependent on literal truth-conditions, but we must be prepared to take into account his communicative intentions, as signalled by context (‘the speaker’s background knowledge’). Here Davidson provides a list of various departures from literal truth-conditions, such as pragmatic increments, in addition to linguistic errors. Davidson reflects on the differences between ordinary speakers and a copy of Donald Davidson made in an artificial way. He calls this copy ‘Swampman’. A crucial difference between Swampman and Donald Davidson is that Swampman cannot mean what Davidson does by the word ‘house’ because it was not learned in a context that would give it the right meaning (notice that for Davidson the notion of meaning is bound with the notion of ‘radical interpretation’). For Davidson conceptualization plays an important role in language. Conceptualization is what distinguishes rational animals from simple animals. Simple animals like an octopus can distinguish objects but are not capable of representing themselves as having concepts. Similarly, they do not have the notion of error. For Davidson, the notion of error is grounded in a social element—and in this he follows Wittgenstein accepting that ‘‘the norm implied by a rule or concept is established by a social practice, a rule; one is wrong in a particular case if one fails to follow the practice’’ (p. 1065). The handbook contains many interesting articles, such as the one on propositional content by Schiffer, one on opacity by Richard, an article by Wilson on rule-following, meaning and normativity; an article by Macbride on predicate reference; an article by Ludlow on tense; an article by Barry Schein on plurals; an article by Glanzberg on quantifiers; an article by Dorothy Edgington on connectives and pragmatics; an article on language as internal by Bezuidenhout; an article on idiolects by James Higginbotham (who surprisingly addresses issues such as social variability in order to defend his idiolectal view of language); Barry Smith offers us an article on what one knows when one knows a language (a defence of Chomskian ideas); etc.

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The book contains so many materials and a short review cannot do justice to it. However, I think I gave you an idea of the sort of issues the book addresses. There is no doubt that readers will enjoy and benefit from most of the articles in this book—and they have a wide choice. Students are encouraged to start with the chapters that are closer to their interests. Then they will realize that the topics are all connected and they will jump from one article to another. This is the kind of volume which can be read a thousand times! You will never be tired of it. I think the authors were tired when they finished it (it must have been a nightmare for them to put all the articles together and to ask so many different scholars to contribute!). Now they should be very proud of it, as they deserve lavish praise and applause. References Capone, Alessandro, 2007. Review of Lepore, Ludwig (2005). Donald Davidson: Meaning, truth, language and reality. Journal of Pragmatics 39, 1039–1046. Cappelen, Herman, Lepore, Ernest, 2005. Insensitive Semantics. Blackwell, Oxford. Saul, Jennifer, 2002. What is said and psychological reality: Grice’s project and Relevance Theorists’ criticism. Linguistics & Philosophy 25, 347–372. Sperber, Dan, Wilson, Deirdre, 2002. Pragmatics, modularity and mind-reading. Mind and Language 17, 3–23. Strawson, P.F., 1950. On referring. Mind 59, 320–344. Von Heusinger, Klaus, Turner, Ken (Eds.), 2006. Where Semantics Meets Pragmatics. Elsevier, Oxford.

Further reading Blakemore, Diane, 2000. Indicators and procedures: nevertheless and but. Journal of Linguistics 36, 463–486. Dr. Alessandro Capone obtained his doctorate at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Dr. Yan Huang. He has written three books entitled ‘‘Dilemmas and excogitations: an essay on modality, clitics and discourse’’ (Messina, Armando Siciliano, 2000), ‘‘Modal adverbs and discourse’’ (Pisa, ETS, 2001), ‘‘Tra semantica e pragmatica’’ (Bologna, Clueb, 2003), and various articles, among which ‘‘On Grice’s circle (further considerations on the semantics/pragmatics debate)’’ (Journal of Pragmatics, 2006), ‘‘Pragmemes’’ (Journal of Pragmatics, 2005), ‘‘Belief reports and pragmatic intrusion: the case of null appositives’’ (Journal of Pragmatics, submitted).

Alessandro Capone Cultore della materia: Glottologia e linguistica, University of Messina, Italy E-mail address: [email protected]