Interpretation and Understanding

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John Benjamins Publishing, Jan 1, 2003 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 714 pages
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Our species has been hunting for meaning ever since we departed from our cousins in the evolutionary tree. We developed sophisticated forms of communication. Yet, as much as they can convey meaning and foster understanding, they can also hide meaning and prevent comprehension. Indeed, we can never be sure that a "yes" conveys assent or that a smile reveals pleasure. In order to ascertain what communicative behavior "means", we have to go through an elaborate cognitive process of interpretation. This book deals with how we achieve the daily miracle of understanding each other. Based on the author's contributions to pragmatics, the book articulates his perspective using the insights of linguistics, the philosophy of language and rhetoric, and confronting alternatives to it. Theory formation is shaped by application to fields of human activity - such as legal practice, artificial intelligence, psychoanalysis, the media, literature, aesthetics, ethics and politics - where interpretation and understanding are paramount. Using an accessible language, this is a book addressed to specialists as well as to anyone interested in interpreting understanding and understanding the potentialities and limits of interpretation.
 

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Contents

CHAPTER i
3
CHAPTER 2
31
Strategies of understanding
52
CHAPTER 4
82
CHAPTER 5
101
CHAPTER 6
115
CHAPTER 12
145
Commitment and involvement
149
CHAPTER 17
380
CHAPTER 18
402
Pragmatics in the digital age
437
CHAPTER 20
457
CHAPTER 21
477
CHAPTER 22
497
The pragmatic structure of conversation
521
CHAPTER 25
537

CHAPTER 8
169
Models of interpretation
194
CHAPTER 10
213
CHAPTER
244
Three remarks on pragmatics and literature
273
Understanding misunderstanding
293
CHAPTER 15
314
CHAPTER 16
362
Does pragmatics need semantics?
562
CHAPTER 27
594
CHAPTER 29
623
CHAPTER 30
641
Sources and acknowledgments
660
Subject Index
695
Name Index
709
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