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Original scientific paper

Pragmatics and Epistemic Vigilance: The Deployment of Sophisticated Interpretative Strategies

Diana Mazzarella ; Laboratoire sur le Langage, le Cerveau et la Cognition (L2C2), CNRS-Université de Lyon, France / University College London, United Kingdom

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page 183-200

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Sperber (1994) suggests that competent hearers can deploy sophisticated interpretative strategies in order to cope with deliberate deception or to avoid misunderstandings due to speaker’s incompetence. This paper investigates the cognitive underpinnings of sophisticated interpretative strategies and suggests that they emerge from the interaction between a relevance-guided comprehension procedure and epistemic vigilance mechanisms. My proposal sheds a new light on the relationship between comprehension and epistemic assessment. While epistemic vigilance mechanisms are typically assumed to assess the believability of the output of the comprehension system (Sperber et al. 2010), I argue that epistemic assessment plays an additional role in determining this very output.


Pragmatics, epistemic vigilance, deception, misunderstanding

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