The role of Gricean determinacy and the strength condition in the relevance theory for interpreting implicatures

Miquel Company


The notion of implicature has been a matter of discussion since Grice put it forward. He proposed a schema to explain how implicatures are generated and inferred, but the key condition it contains has been surprisingly overlooked. Davis detected it and named it determinacy, though for him this requirement raises several problems that make the whole Gricean theory of implicature untenable. I claim that, although the determinacy condition is flawed, it still captures a crucial mechanism of how implicatures are interpreted. I attempt to recover this requirement under the relevance theory approach and show that, unlike the determinacy condition, the strength condition does not face the problems Davis formulates.

Keywords: implicature, determinacy, strength, Cooperative Principle, principle of relevance, Gricean theory, relevance theory.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License [Updated on September 23, 2016].

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