On some methodological issues in the conceptual-procedural distinction<br />Louis de SaussureUniversité de Neuchâtel<br />...
An original puzzle (Ducrot, Blakemore)<br />Somelinguistic expressions trigger inferencesthatcan&apos;tbear on mere concep...
Procedural encoding: a tool that allows to…<br />account for specific (= not general) computations imposed by morphemes <b...
Different kinds of processes<br />specific procedures of inference encoded by Pexpressions<br />general procedures followe...
Main theoretical options<br />1. Two discrete classes of linguistic expressions<br />- conceptual – representational<br />...
1 E with both C and P information?<br />It might make sense that some load of conceptual information is embedded in a comp...
Still…<br />Some conceptual expressions may seem to bear some procedural meaning<br />phrasal adverbs and other expr. deal...
Virtually anything can be said procedural<br />Conceptual expr:<br />can be narrowed or loosened<br />thus there is a proc...
Questions:- How can we decide whether an expression is conceptual or procedural?- How should we design (model) those proce...
Meaning and cognitive operations<br />Building-up meaning =  compute representations<br />We deal with concepts communicat...
Some methodological claims<br />&quot;It should be clear that the very ‘nature’ of expressions (procedural and/or conceptu...
When to posit a procedural meaning?<br />When expressions do trigger unexpected inferences<br />i.e. not predictable on th...
Is still conceptual or procedural (a try) SKIP<br />Still = even at a relevant time, even now<br />A- It will be boring. B...
&apos;parce que&apos; (because) <br />All meanings effects of parce que are predictable on the basis of the concept of cau...
loosening parce que ?<br />parce que can&apos;t be contextually adjusted (narrowed or loosened)? <br />Paul has arrived pq...
In short<br />parce que (because) encodes the (human) concept of causality <br />If [P parce que Q] have the same TC / tri...
ensuite / puis (≈ &apos;then&apos;)<br />P; ensuite Q (/ P puis Q)<br />Q follows P<br />predictable on the basis of the c...
Tense<br />Call for applying referential / quantificational computations<br />Attempts at describing them conceptually fit...
Tense: imparfait triggering allocentric interpretation by deictic shifting<br />Imparfait as (procedurally) triggering a r...
Spelling out a procedure<br />As a specific algorithm bearing no conceptual justification<br />a parameter of relevance wh...
Imparfait in &quot;spaghetti code&quot;: replacing R with S&apos;<br />try R  E<br />relevant?  stop<br />reasons for ir...
Passé composé triggering interpretive uses<br />With a future adverb:<br />J&apos;ai bientôt fini <br />I have soon finish...
As a matter of conclusion<br />
Interpretation is itself a procedure<br />The search for relevance is the core of the process but the whole of the process...
SAY [THANK (You [FOR attention])] = END<br />
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On some methodological issues in the conceptual-procedural distinction

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Presentation at the international conference on "Procedural Meaning", Madrid, Oct. 2009 (linguistics, semantics, pragmatics).

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On some methodological issues in the conceptual-procedural distinction

  1. 1. On some methodological issues in the conceptual-procedural distinction<br />Louis de SaussureUniversité de Neuchâtel<br />ProceduralMeaning Madrid Oct. 2009<br />
  2. 2. An original puzzle (Ducrot, Blakemore)<br />Somelinguistic expressions trigger inferencesthatcan&apos;tbear on mere concepts / representationsonly<br />Ducrot (1983): the example of puisque as an instructional expression <br />P puisque Q : Introduce Q as an alreadymutuallymanifestfactentailing the conclusion P<br />a presupposition Q entailing P<br />Blakemore (1987): but, moreover as triggeringspecificimplicatures (throughspecificpaths of reasoning)<br />Nicolle 1998, Moeschler 1998, Saussure 2000, 2003: tenses (/modals) encode procedural information (lower-levelexplicatures)<br />Blakemore (2007): PEXPL expressions<br />
  3. 3. Procedural encoding: a tool that allows to…<br />account for specific (= not general) computations imposed by morphemes <br />but: confusing: calls for further developments of the notion of procedural meaning, see Wedgwood&apos;s talk and further <br />
  4. 4. Different kinds of processes<br />specific procedures of inference encoded by Pexpressions<br />general procedures followed by the mind <br />general pragmatic-inferential procedures that apply onto Cexpressions, propositions, various mental objects<br />logical aspects of conceptual meaning <br />(ex. that the concept of relation has to do with two things, that the concept of calculus has to do with inputs and results etc., that the concept of furniture is hyperonimic with regard to the one of chair etc.)<br />parsing operations encoded in grammar (tbc…)<br />
  5. 5. Main theoretical options<br />1. Two discrete classes of linguistic expressions<br />- conceptual – representational<br />- procedural / instructional - computational<br />2. Three classes:<br />+ hybrid conceptual-procedural expressions<br />irrelevant?<br />3. Layers of information<br />Any expression (may) encode conceptual and procedural meaning indifferently<br />C+P as amounts of information (Moeschler)<br />Expressions can bear a two-folded meaning with an interface<br />C+P+CO (a combinatorial parameter, Fraser)<br />
  6. 6. 1 E with both C and P information?<br />It might make sense that some load of conceptual information is embedded in a computation (and thus manipulated by a procedure) within a single expression<br />technically possible<br />content + conditions on how to use / read the content<br />some indexicals? connectives? modals? <br />But it seems difficult to figure out what a concept bearing a procedural information would look like <br />representations can&apos;t include instructions. <br />&quot;mountain&quot; does not amout to the concept of mountain plus an instruction to do something with it<br />&quot;cause&quot; does not amout to the concept of cause plus an instruction to do something with it<br />
  7. 7. Still…<br />Some conceptual expressions may seem to bear some procedural meaning<br />phrasal adverbs and other expr. dealing with HL-E (taking scope over LL-E)<br /> But (cf. Blakemore 2007): only under very specific conditions implying they are NOT representational (// Blass on Sissala re) …<br />Some expressions might look like encoding both concepts AND instructions:<br />ensuite (then): time progression (followingness) + non adjacence<br />because or parce que express cause but also call for an operation (thus an &apos;instruction&apos;) of connecting information in a particular way<br />
  8. 8. Virtually anything can be said procedural<br />Conceptual expr:<br />can be narrowed or loosened<br />thus there is a procedure that must decide what enrichment / accommodation / disambiguation can happen<br />However this is not encoded by the expression itself<br />but results from general pragmatic paths of inference applying to the concept<br />Reference looks procedural (look for referent) <br />Indexical semantics (every expression carries a ad-hoc REF instruction)<br />More economical to posit that there are general referential procedures<br />explaining also DD-anaphora resolution<br /> there is no point in considering these are procedures encoded in the meaning of the expression triggering them.<br />country does not &apos;encode&apos; find the salient country. <br />yet the X may on the contrary be a procedural expression find the salient X<br />
  9. 9. Questions:- How can we decide whether an expression is conceptual or procedural?- How should we design (model) those procedures?<br />just a few more minutes before the coffee break  <br />
  10. 10. Meaning and cognitive operations<br />Building-up meaning = compute representations<br />We deal with concepts communicated by means of conceptual expressions<br />Hence we apply cognitive operations to them (perform inferences with them) <br />some of these are general, some of them are specific (ad hoc) to expressions<br />
  11. 11. Some methodological claims<br />&quot;It should be clear that the very ‘nature’ of expressions (procedural and/or conceptual), if it is an issue at all, can only be assessed through close examination of the appropriateness of the selected category for descriptive and explanative aims&quot;.<br />It is more accurate to explain meaning by reference to representations whenever possible<br />conceptual meaning obtention being the result of general principles, not particular inferential paths<br /> seek first for a conceptual meaning.<br />Only when unavoidable, try a procedural explanation<br />Only when unavoidable, suggest a mixed conceptual-procedural meaning (theoretical case)<br />but the procedural meaning remains primary<br />
  12. 12. When to posit a procedural meaning?<br />When expressions do trigger unexpected inferences<br />i.e. not predictable on the basis of:<br />- standard pragmatic reasoning (general pragmatic principles) applied to<br />- an identifiable conceptual core <br />(apt to be brought to consciousness, truth-evaluable, translatable, paraphrasable… S&W 1993)<br />
  13. 13. Is still conceptual or procedural (a try) SKIP<br />Still = even at a relevant time, even now<br />A- It will be boring. B- Still, I&apos;d like to go. (argumentative use)<br />*Even now, I&apos;d like to go<br /> Even now that you said that / that I know it will be boring, I&apos;d like to go.<br /> conceptual expression<br />despite whatever other grammatical or &apos;discursive&apos; consideration (discourse marker, contrast marker…)<br />
  14. 14. &apos;parce que&apos; (because) <br />All meanings effects of parce que are predictable on the basis of the concept of causality (which itself calls for a cause-to-effect relationship in ordinary pragmatic reasoning (universal) / logical entry).<br />Thus better envisaged as a conceptual expression, not a procedural one<br />It is truth-evaluable: Non, ce n&apos;est pas parce que P que Q / No, it is not because P that Q / it is wrong that P bc Q<br />It is translatable, easy to spell out or paraphrase…<br />TC totally equivalent as the undisputably conceptual counterparts:<br />Q cause(s/d) P / P caused by Q<br />
  15. 15. loosening parce que ?<br />parce que can&apos;t be contextually adjusted (narrowed or loosened)? <br />Paul has arrived pq his car is on the parking (metaling.)<br />The passengers left pq the plane landed (loosened cause)<br />The plane landing caused the passengers to leave the plane<br />The fullfilling of the nec. cond. made the passengers decide to leave and leave<br />There are alternate explanations: no loose use but indirect causality.<br />Functional items do not normally allow for loosening or narrowing <br />independantly of their C or P status<br />I will be cautious with the strict equivocation functional and procedural<br />
  16. 16. In short<br />parce que (because) encodes the (human) concept of causality <br />If [P parce que Q] have the same TC / triggers all same inferences as [Q causes P / P is caused by Q] <br />or Q causes me to say P (metalinguistic uses)<br />then<br />there is no reason to think of parce que as a procedural expression<br />(unless further evidence that I may be missing)<br />
  17. 17. ensuite / puis (≈ &apos;then&apos;)<br />P; ensuite Q (/ P puis Q)<br />Q follows P<br />predictable on the basis of the conceptual representation of (en)suite<br />although a complex question since ensuite is probably better viewed as marking a next element in a series not necessarily temporally<br />Q close to but not adjecent to P (Kozlowska 1997) <br />Paul a pris le couteau. Ensuite / et seulement ensuite il a assassiné Marie.<br />Le vase est tombé. *Ensuite il s&apos;est brisé.<br />with puis: adjacency blocked iff causality<br />La porte s&apos;est ouverte *puis le courant d&apos;air s&apos;est engouffré<br />unpredictable on the basis of the mere concept of followingness<br />therefore calls for a procedural description<br />It is not because I can still consciously recover some concept in order to approximately describe the expression that the expression must be considered conceptual at all<br />
  18. 18. Tense<br />Call for applying referential / quantificational computations<br />Attempts at describing them conceptually fit only with a very superficial analysis<br />past tenses: PAST (not the concept, a past relatively to PRESENT)<br />Pluperfect: PAST plus PUNCTUAL plus RESULT IN ANOTHER MORE RECENT PAST plus DURATIVE RESULT IN THE MORE RECENT PAST?<br />With coordinates: far more accurate and precise (and economic)<br />hint that tense encode instructions on how to place coordinates associated with eventualities<br />simple past: E,R - S<br />pluperfect: E – R – S & R  e I E  e & either E or e have relevance<br />Other non-strictly-temporal/aspectual effects<br />ex.: involving deictic shifting/ interpretive (allocentric) readings<br />call for more than a grammatical-functional &apos;procedure&apos;<br />
  19. 19. Tense: imparfait triggering allocentric interpretation by deictic shifting<br />Imparfait as (procedurally) triggering a range of interpretive / allocentric uses<br />Une minute de plus et le train déraillait.<br />envisaged in a possible world where the eventuality is witnessed (vs. conditional)  S&apos; included in E instead of R included in E<br />FIS: Il fallait faire vite. Dans une heure la patrouille passait sur le pont. <br />vs. Il fallut faire vite. *Dans une heure la patrouille passa sur le pont<br />(indexicals licensing)<br />vs<br />Sa conversation était plate comme un trottoir de rue et les idées de tout le monde y défilaient dans leur costume ordinaire (Flaubert)<br />(descriptive, basic)<br />those effects: impredictable on any conceptual basis (&apos;past&apos;? &apos;imperfective / atelic&apos;?)  IMP encodes a procedure which explains MORE than temporal reference<br />
  20. 20. Spelling out a procedure<br />As a specific algorithm bearing no conceptual justification<br />a parameter of relevance when necessary (not for ensuite but clearly for devoir)<br />an oracle? a zone for experimental testing<br />because provides a reason for the accessibility of interpretations<br />Need to spell out clearly the choices<br />If x then y<br />&apos;spaghetti code&apos; (Cram & Hedley 2005)<br />Saussure 1998, 2000, 2003<br />
  21. 21. Imparfait in &quot;spaghetti code&quot;: replacing R with S&apos;<br />try R  E<br />relevant?  stop<br />reasons for irrelevance lie in contextual assumptions: progression, counterfactuality, achievement, unlikeliness that P is held by Speaker (FIS), P manifestly true in the present…<br />try allocentric S&apos; E<br />Algorithm (kind of)<br />Organigram (kind of)<br />
  22. 22. Passé composé triggering interpretive uses<br />With a future adverb:<br />J&apos;ai bientôt fini <br />I have soon finished (?)<br />Demain votre voiture est réparée<br />tomorrow your car is mended (?) / ready<br />The temporal organisation of the passé composé is not affected, simply represented from another deictic point than speech point S<br /> therefore not encoded in the procedure<br />S pretends being at a time where he can &apos;normally&apos; use the PC.<br />
  23. 23. As a matter of conclusion<br />
  24. 24. Interpretation is itself a procedure<br />The search for relevance is the core of the process but the whole of the process is an organized one, not a random free hunting for meaning<br />there is a whole big procedure somewhere called &apos;ostensive information processing&apos; which manages the interaction between all hypotheses that are generated during the processing<br />even at the level of parsing (imply raising syntactic hypotheses that rely on syntactic competence) <br />at the level of reference attribution<br />dealing with procedures associated with specific classes (procedure &apos;determiner&apos;)<br />which are general but coded procedures (not expression-specific but class-specific)<br />dealing with inferential procedures associated with specific expressions<br />notably pragmatic procedural expressions<br />an exaggerately ambitious research program for a &apos;procedural pragmatics&apos; where pragmatic computations manage lower-level computations (such as grammatical computations).<br />
  25. 25. SAY [THANK (You [FOR attention])] = END<br />

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