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Philosophy of Language: Diversity of Interpretation and Communicative Success

PHI 534/LIN 534

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We can share thoughts through language. But how do we do so effortlessly? Language is riddled with context-sensitivity. Further, what we communicate often goes beyond what's literally said. We can implicate, insinuate or hint, and speak figuratively, e.g. through irony, humor, or metaphor. We can communicate with others whether their interests and goals align with our own or not. We can successfully use words even when ignorant of what they denote. With such diversity, how is communicative success possible? We will focus on this and related questions through the lens of recent literature in philosophy, linguistics, and cognitive science.
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Section S01