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Non-propositional meanings and commitment attribution : More arguments in favor of a cognitive approach

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Abstract

In this paper, I elaborate on the cognitive pragmatic approaches of commitment attribution. I argue that non-propositional meanings (Sperber and Wilson 2015) play a role in the reconstruction of arguments (see Oswald 2016) and I underline that this constitutes a further argument in favor of a cognitive approach to the study of commitment attribution. I focus on an authentic example of a straw man fallacy consisting in (a) an implicit misattribution of commitments to the speaker with the form “Excuse me for having done p” and (b) a refutation of the attributed position by means of non-propositional effects (in this case, the refutation is implicitly conveyed through an ironical utterance). I conclude that non-propositional effects can serve as a criterion to distinguish a mere false attribution of commitments from a full-fledged straw man fallacy.

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Keywords: cognitive pragmatics; commitment attribution; non-propositional meanings; reconstruction of arguments; straw man fallacy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 4, 2020

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