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Pragmatics in Peter John Olivi’s Account of Signification of Common Names

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The aim of this paper is to present a reconstruction of Olivi’s account of signification of common names and to highlight certain intrusion of pragmatics into this account. The paper deals with the question of how certain facts, other than original imposition, may be relevant to determine the semantical content of an utterance, and not with the question of how we perform actions by means of utterances. The intrusion of pragmatics into Olivi’s semantics we intend to point out may seem minimal today, but was of a certain importance at his time. Even if the conventional codes still play a role in his explanation of how words acquire a semantical content, both the intention of the speaker and the communication context in which this intention is being effectuated are essential features of the actual signification of names.

Affiliations: 1: University of Copenhagen


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