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Knowledge in Parliamentary Debates

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Parliamentary debates, like all discourse, presuppose vase amounts of knowledge of their participants. MPs need to know about parliamentary procedures, about parties and other MPs, the political system, current social events, and of course the details of ongoing business and the current context of parliamentary interaction, among many other types of knowledge. Within the framework of a new, multidisciplinary epistemology, this paper first explores the many dimensions of knowledge, both in terms of mental representations as well as socially shared Common Ground. Then it examines how these kinds of discourse influence discourse production and comprehension, in general, and of parliamentary debates in particular. The chapter concludes with an “epistemic” analysis of the speech by Tony Blair held in the British House of Commons on the occasion of the September 11 attacks in the USA.
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Keywords: Knowledge; September 11; Tony Blair; common ground; epistemology; parliamentary discourse; political discourse

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Amsterdam/Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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