On Encoded Lexical Meaning: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives
The past few years have seen quite a bit of speculation over relevance theorists’ commitment to Fodorian semantics as a means to account for the notion of encoded lexical meaning that they put forth in their framework. In this paper, I take on the issue, arguing that this view of lexical semantics compromises Relevance Theory’s aim of psychological plausibility, since it effectively binds it with the ‘literal first’ hypothesis that has been deemed unrealistic from a psycholinguistic viewpoint. After discussing the incompatibility of Fodor’s philosophical account with the perspective that relevance theorists adopt, I briefly suggest ways in which further behavioural research on the semantics/pragmatics distinction could help advance more cognitively-oriented accounts of encoded lexical meaning.
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