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    Relevance theory, pragmatic inference and cognitive architecture

    Yuan, W. and Lin, F. and Cooper, Richard P. (2018) Relevance theory, pragmatic inference and cognitive architecture. Philosophical Psychology 32 (1), pp. 98-122. ISSN 0951-5089.

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    Abstract

    Relevance Theory (RT: Sperber & Wilson, 1986) argues that human language comprehension processes tend to maximize “relevance”, and postulates that there is a relevance-based procedure that a hearer follows when trying to understand an utterance. Despite being highly influential, RT has been criticized for its failure to explain how speaker-related information, either the speaker’s abilities or her/his preferences, is incorporated into the hearer’s inferential, pragmatic process. An alternative proposal is that speaker-related information gains prominence due to representation of the speaker within higher-level goal-directed schemata. Yet the goal-based account is still unable to explain clearly how cross-domain information, for example linguistic meaning and speaker-related knowledge, is integrated within a modular system. On the basis of RT’s cognitive requirements, together with contemporary cognitive theory, we argue that this integration is realized by utilizing working memory and that there exist conversational constraints with which the constructed utterance interpretation should be consistent. We illustrate our arguments with a computational implementation of the proposed processes within a general cognitive architecture.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): pragmatics, relevance theory, relevance-based comprehension procedure, spreading activation, monitoring
    School: School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Cognition, Computation and Modelling, Centre for
    Depositing User: Rick Cooper
    Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2018 10:24
    Last Modified: 13 Feb 2021 10:58
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/21840

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