Philosophy Lecture: Hustle: Hidden Agendas in Language

April 28, 3:00 – 5:00, Buchanan A201

Much of the theory of meaning is designed to explain how efficient language is as a means of cooperating. Philosophers and semanticists have focused on explaining data in models in which speaker meaning and semantic content is idealized in various ways. But much communication occurs by what Miranda Fricker and Elizabeth Camp have called “insinuation”. Insinuated content does not meet the idealized model of speaker meaning, and yet it is not semantic content. Strategic and political communication heavily depends upon insinuated content, and the attendant notion of plausible deniability. Can we extend the tools and resources and formal semantics and pragmatics here? How much do these tools depends upon idealizations that exclude strategic speech?

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