Attentional Pragmatics A new pragmatic approach to exhaustivity

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Abstract

The neo-Gricean approach to exhaustivity is based on the idea that exhaustivity arises when relevant propositions are not asserted. This paper presents a new pragmatic approach based on the idea that exhaustivity arises when relevant propositions are not mentioned, or more precisely, when the speaker did not intend to draw attention to them. This seemingly subtle shift from information to attention results in different predictions on a range of challenges for the neo-Gricean approach, some of which have been brought up in support of the grammatical approach to exhaustivity. This paper discusses three such challenges: exhaustivity on the hints of a quizmaster, exhaustivity on questions, and exhaustivity without an opinionatedness assumption. The two pragmatic approaches are compared on these puzzles along with the grammatical approach.


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