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The Said and the Unsaid meets Figuration Steve Barker (Nottingham) A speech-act theoretic treatment of metaphor and irony.

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Presentation on theme: "The Said and the Unsaid meets Figuration Steve Barker (Nottingham) A speech-act theoretic treatment of metaphor and irony."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Said and the Unsaid meets Figuration Steve Barker (Nottingham) A speech-act theoretic treatment of metaphor and irony

2 Key Features 1. Theory of speech-acts (sentential/sub-sentential) structures with antecedent mental states with compositional structure. Theory of interacting language agents. (Pragmatic hardware without semantic software.) 2. No sense/force distinction: Proposition + Force Proto-lllocutionary-act + Dox-grounding. 3. Logical operators are polymorphously perverse. 4. Saying/Indicating: We treat the phenomenon of truth- aptness as something to be explained. (No theoretical privileging of the truth-conditional.) 5. Given speech-structures: Metaphor: truth-apt, but non-literal. Irony/Sarcasm: non-truth-apt. Essentially involves pretense.

3 1. Manifesting  j  i  S  S (Basic sentential speech act)

4  j  i  S  S

5  j  i  S  S (Basic sentential speech act)

6 Z Defence  j  i  S D [  ]  S

7 Z  j  i  R  i  R

8 Z  j  i  R’  j  S

9 Z  j  i  That  j  S

10 Manifest,ation, Defence – Non-said/Said 1.Productions of sentences S, caused by  -states. Manifesting:   S. 2. D [  ] be a disposition to produce sentences/symbols that manifest the  -states in the tree for . U disposed to produce Sentences R such that:  i  R. (Giving reasons) Defence: D [  ]  S.  -states not truth-apt. Truth-aptness comes later: at the level, initially, of sentences, that are defensive.

11 Repertoire  j  i   = {  +  } S = T is F S  i  S

12 Repetoire Dispositions 1. R [X  S] = If U is in a state X, and wants to produce sentence manifesting X, she (might) produce S. 2. Generated by structure of X, and components of S—mental antecedents of predicates referring terms, logical connectives, etc. Clear-headed, sincere indicating (non-saying). (  + R L [  ])  S Clear-headed, sincere asserting (and saying) ( D [  + R L [ D [  S]  S Saying—Literal proto-asserting: ( ….. + R L [ D [  S]  S Saying—Non-Literal proto-asserting: ( ….. + R Non-L [ D [  S]  S

13 U Reception: L-processing H   L-processing S L-Processing Module. Input: word-patterns, cues from physical environment, etc. Output: speech-act antecedents.

14 Meaning Claims and L-Processing 1.  -states, etc, are not meanings. Can’t look in each others heads. Sentences are not (generally) about them. 2. Expressivism about Meaning: When say: U means X, the production of the sentence S = U means X is caused by output of L-processing module. 3. In virtue of what do, U and H means the same by S? Not in virtue of some (supposed) functional similarity between, U’s  and H’s . 4. Better to ask: how does L-processing system functions enabling stable outcomes across speakers.

15 Basic judgement is correctness (not truth)Intersubjective Dimension H judges correct U’s utterance of O is a nerd (produced on the basis of ,  ) iff H believes O is intellectual (  ) and H disapproves of intellectuals (  ). Charles is a nerd Correct!  Mirroring   Two Dimensions: truth/felicity?

16 Said/Indicated (non-said) distinction Take one attitude:  = attitude  = disapproval of intellectuals: Assertion: Intellectuals are undesirable Defending . Acceptance condition: H disposed to defend . Phenomenal level: Purpose of the act is to prime oneself to give reasons for states. Conventional Implicature: X is a nerd. Manifesting . Acceptance condition: Audience has . Phenomenal level: May look to reasons to see if have that state, etc. But purpose of the act is not prime oneself to give reasons for the state. It’s taken for granted.

17 Metaphor Non-Pretence: The road snakes across the mountain. Tippy is Blairing again. Pretence: The road leaps across the mountain. The road is a snake laid out on the ridge. Metaphor Truth-apt whether pretense or not. Its true that the road snakes. If the road snakes, the cars are mites. On a par with: France is hexagonal. The ham sandwich just walked out.

18 Metaphor is Truth-apt: U utters S defending a  -state, but one derived from the  -state associated with ‘literal’ use of S. Based on states corresponding to predicates:  -state derivation:  L ===>  M. Snake-Module (proto-type) ===> S-shaped-pattern-Module. Specific derivation pattern to ‘metaphor’. Pretense Case: The road is a snake: 1. U utters S proto-asserting that …, (  -state (File-X +  L ) 2. Not: D (File-X +  L )  S. 3. D (File-X +  M )  S. Non-Pretence: Because of non-standard syntax, e.g., ‘snake’ (noun) ==> ‘snakes’ (verb) In processing S, can be recognition of ‘literal content’, and

19 Section 5 Irony/Sarcasm Irony is a dramatic act and essentially pretensive. X is such a genius. Speaker is impersonating someone believing that X is a genius so as to lampoon, that stance, etc. Affirmation: dramatic. Even if deadpan, there is an element of the ridiculous. (In that respect distinct from negation or statements of the contrary like: X is the very opposite of a genius. This is merely obvious. Phenomenological Evidence of Non-truth-conditionality: U: X is such a genius. H: True. He is. (Sarcastic response) U: X is the very opposite of genius. H: True, the very opposite. U: X is such a genius. H: True. The very opposite.

20 Language-Agency Analysis: X is such a such genius! 1. Proto-assertion: X is a genius. Communicates: Not manifesting defensive stance. 2. Communicates: Has a disparaging attitude towards someone making such an assertion. 3. Is actually impersonating such an individual. Not defending attitude in 2. Compare: Assertion of: Thinking X is a genius is ridiculous. This defends the attitude merely manifested in sarcasm. Not Merely Conversational Implicature Not merely conversational implicature. Sarcasm is a specific form of verbal play, based in non-verbal. Thus it’s a rhetorical mode. So it goes beyond the mechanisms of Gricean maxims.

21 Referring acts Referring acts can contain metaphoric or ironic elements: The sun is here. The genius is here. As in: The thing that is the sun… The thing that is a genius…. Analysis: 1. Relative clauses are proto-assertions and so can have metaphoric or ironic interpretations. 2. The construction ‘the’ + ‘sun’ involves an implicit speech-act of predication (like a proto-assertion.)

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