The future of the semantics/pragmatics interface(s)

Ken Turner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


This paper argues that it is time to consider a paradigm change in semantics and pragmatics. The present paradigm prioritises a distinction between truth conditional meaning and non-truth conditional meaning. This distinction has merit for many parts of a natural language. But a truth conditional bias in semantics does not help, and has not helped for several thousand years, in the analysis of indicative conditional sentences. Indicative conditionals do not have truth conditions: they are not a part of fact-stating discourse. The new paradigm recognises and exploits this intuition. The new paradigm, for conditionals, replaces truth conditions with subjective conditional probabilities and recognises that we must acknowledge that “different parts of our language have meaning in different ways” (Kneale, 1949: 89). This acknowledgement has implications both for current conceptions of the semantics-pragmatics interface and for a theory of the interface between truth conditional and probabilistic semantics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnglistentag 2003 München
EditorsChristoph Bode, Sebastian Domsch, Hans Sauer
Place of PublicationTrier, Germany
PublisherInstitut für Auslandsbeziehungen (IFA Publications; Adam Mickiewicza University)
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)388476702X
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Publication series

NameWissenschaftlicher Verlag


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