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June 10, 2019: Carlotta Pavese: The Semantics and Pragmatics of Argumentation

Alice meets Humpty Dumpty - The Victorian Web

Seminars of Philosophy of Perception, Mind, and Language


Carlotta Pavese (Cornell University)

The Semantics and Pragmatics of Argumentation


June 10, 2019 h. 12:30-14:30.

Room Enzo Paci, Directorate of the Department of Philosophy, Universita' degli Studi di Milano, Via Festa del Perdono 7.


Arguments have been the object of philosophical interest for a long time. Logicians have studied the formal properties of arguments at least since Aristotle. The study of the structure of arguments by epistemologists (e.g., Pollock (1987); Pollock (1991b), Pollock (1991a); Pollock (2010)) has given rise to formal argumentation theory, that has developed into a branch of computer science in its own right (e.g., Dung (1995), Wan et al. (2009), Prakken (2010)). Comparatively less attention has been paid to arguments and argumentations qua distinctive linguistic constructions with a distinctive semantics and pragmatics. And yet, just like we use language for exchanging information, for raising questions, for issuing orders, for making suppositions and predictions, we also use language to give arguments, as when we argue on behalf of a certain conclusion, when we share our reasonings, or when we sketch logical proofs on the board. Indeed, giving arguments is one among philosophers' favorite speech acts; and it is quite remarkably widespread outside the philosophy classroom. In the talk, by looking at the semantics and pragmatics of arguments, I propose a theory of the speech act of giving an argument. I show that the theory best accounts for the linguistic data, can overcome some prima facie outstanding objections, and comes with the bonus of casting new lights on Lewis Carroll's paradox of the premises.


The Lecture will be held in English.
Participation is strongly recommended to students of the Doctoral School in Philosophy and Human Sciences.

Everyone interested is welcome to attend.

10 June 2019
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