Context as Other Minds: The Pragmatics of Sociality, by Talmy Givon

By Talmy Givon

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From the strain of binding opposites comes harmony. , 46: 31) The beginning is the end. , 70: 45) The epistemological intent of the dialectician’s unity-in-opposition thesis is even clearer in: 5 6 Context as Other Minds Without injustices, the name of justice would mean what?. , 60: 39) The dependence of truth on the speaker’s perspective, a leitmotif of modern pragmatics, is well articulated in the anonymous manuscript Divided Logic, attributed to the Protagoran tradition: If we [all] sat in a row and said ‘I am an initiate’, we would all say the same thing, but only I speak the truth, since I really am one.

Similar claims are made by Short (1981) and Shapiro (1983). While Peirce’s general pragmatics program may have indeed had such an impact, it remains unclear whether the ‘interpretant’ itself ever transcended Aristotle’s ‘affectations of the soul’. g. g. Carnap) alike to involve no framing mind. 3 above). The same distinction is echoed in the work of more recent formal pragmatists, such as Gazdar (1979): Pragmatics has as its topic those aspects of the meaning of utterances which cannot be accounted for by straightforward reference to the truth conditions of the sentence uttered.

For instance, if ten is many and two is few, six is the intermediate, taken in terms of the object [. ] But the intermediate relative to us is not to be taken so; if ten pounds is too much for a particular person to eat and two too little, it does not follow that the trainer will order six pounds. , 1941: 957–8; italics added) Aristotle is once again confronted with the graded continuum, thus implicitly perhaps also with the problem of context, especially in making the intermediate ‘relative to us’ a contingent notion.

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