The pragmatics of emotion, argument and conflict

Timothy Wharton, Louis de Saussure

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


    This chapter synthesizes an account of emotions and emotion-reading that fitswith work on emotions in cognitive science (Cosmides and Tooby 2000; Deonna and Teroni 2012) and cognitive models of pragmatics (Blakemore 2002; Carston 2001; Sperber and Wilson [1986] 1995, 2015; Wilson 2015). From cognitive science, we adopt two ideas: firstly, that an emotion is a kind of superordinate cognitive mechanism, the function of which is to mobilize cognitive processes responsible for perception and attention, physiological changes, etc.; secondly, that emotions are viewed as attitudes bearing on evaluations. Our account builds on these observations using relevance-theoretic pragmatics. The kind of information conveyed during emotional communication puts the user into a state in which emotional procedures are highly activated, and are therefore much more likely to be recognized and selected by an audience (Wharton 2009, 2015). Central to this thinking is the idea that the notion of cognitive effect needs to be complemented by a new notion of affecive effect, typically activated by emotion-reading procedures. Our account can be extended to all emotional states, but we concentrate here on positive and negative states, with particular attention paid to their role in argumentation, epistemic attitudes and poetic artefacts(
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHandbook on Language and Emotion
    PublisherMouton de Gruyter
    Number of pages16
    Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2022

    Publication series

    NameHandbooks of Linguistics and Communication Science
    Publisherde Gruyter Mouton


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