Viewing Experimental Pragmatics from a Cognitive Science perspective
Lecturers: Ira Noveck, CNRS Institut des Sciences Cognitives – Marc Jeannerod in Lyon / Diana Mazzarella, University of Neuchâtel
For many scholars, resolving pragmatic aspects of a sentence is a reducible part of a linguistic system that can be determined by, say, features of context. For others, pragmatics is not a matter of figuring out a few missing details, but in determining the speaker’s intention. It is this latter view, especially, that takes one beyond linguistics and into the cognitive sciences more generally. This view also justifies presenting experimental pragmatics as a cognitive science that adopts approaches from its more fundamental forebears.
The course will review how debates between two philosophical schools of thought helped define pragmatics and how Paul Grice aimed to bridge the two. It will present a brief history of experimental psychology in order to appreciate the way in which the field inherited its approach, i.e. to test what had largely been armchair theories. It will show how insights from neuroscience and neuropsychology have led to specific predictions about pragmatic processing. Overall, it will present both historical and current issues of experimental pragmatics while underlining its interactions with other cognitive sciences.