Intention (Including Speech Acts)

Authored by: Jesús Navarro

The Routledge Handbook of Pragmatics

Print publication date:  January  2017
Online publication date:  January  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415531412
eBook ISBN: 9781315668925
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter deals with some of the different senses that the term ‘intention’ has in pragmatics, and the way they are related to each other. I shall begin by distinguishing one employment of the term, which belongs to our folk psychological practices of understanding actions in terms of reasons, from a more technical use, related to the aboutness of language. After a brief historical sketch, I describe the intentional approach to pragmatics as an attempt to account for the intentionality of language (its aboutness) in terms of intentional action. I will do so by explaining the basic tenets of two very influential proposals: the Gricean theory of conversation and speech act theory. This chapter finishes with a review of contemporary debates on the foundations of pragmatics where intentions have a predominant role to play.

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