Literal Meaning

Literal Meaning

3.75 (20 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Expected delivery to the United States in 8-13 business days.

Not ordering to the United States? Click here.


According to the dominant position among philosophers of language today, we can legitimately ascribe determinate contents (such as truth-conditions) to natural language sentences, independently of what the speaker actually means. This view contrasts with that held by ordinary language philosophers fifty years ago: according to them, speech acts, not sentences, are the primary bearers of content. Francois Recanati argues for the relevance of this controversy to the current debate about semantics and pragmatics. Is 'what is said' (as opposed to merely implied) determined by linguistic conventions, or is it an aspect of 'speaker's meaning'? Do we need pragmatics to fix truth-conditions? What is 'literal meaning'? To what extent is semantic composition a creative process? How pervasive is context-sensitivity? Recanati provides an original and insightful defence of 'contextualism', and offers an informed survey of the spectrum of positions held by linguists and philosophers working at the semantics/pragmatics interface.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 188 pages
  • 164 x 227 x 12mm | 310g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 10 Line drawings, unspecified
  • 0521537363
  • 9780521537360
  • 1,991,327

Table of contents

List of figures; Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. Two approaches to 'what is said'; 2. Primary pragmatic processes; 3. Relevance-theoretic objections; 4. The syncretic view; 5. Nonliteral uses; 6. From literalism to contextualism; 7. Indexicalism and the finding fallacy; 8. Circumstances of evaluation; 9. Contextualism: How far can we go?; 10. Conclusion.
show more

About Francois Recanati

Francois Recanati is a Research Director at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS, Paris). He has published many papers and several books on the philosophy of language and mind, including Meaning and Force (Cambridge, 1988), Direct Reference (1993), and Oratio Obliqua, Oratio Recta (2000). He is also co-founder and past President of the European Society for Analytic Philosophy.
show more

Rating details

20 ratings
3.75 out of 5 stars
5 20% (4)
4 45% (9)
3 25% (5)
2 10% (2)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X