Here is a picture of the relationship between natural-language semantics and pragmatics that many theorists would accept: semantics seeks to reverse-engineer the database of word meanings and composition rules by means of which we encode and decode the meanings of sentences. This is going pretty well, because our encoding-decoding algorithms are sufficiently discrete and well behaved that they can be treated as an autonomous grammar in this way. But this approach doesn’t work in pragmatics, which is fueled not by a proprietary database of rules but by a mess of domain-general reasoning that resists computational tractability. Recent debates about the semantics-pragmatics boundary have tended to be about which parts of language-use can be treated as part of the grammatical algorithm and which must be consigned to the much blacker box of pragmatic inference.

In Context and Coherence, Una Stojnić argues that far more of our explanation of language-use should...

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