I. Noveck & D. Sperber eds. Experimental Pragmatics, Palgrave): Introduction
How does our knowledge of language on the one hand, and of the context on the other permit us to understand what we are told, resolve ambiguities, grasp both explicit and implicit content, recognize the force of a speech act, appreciate metaphor and irony? These issues have been studied in two disciplines: pragmatics and psycholinguistics, with limited interactions between the two. Pragmatics is rooted in the philosophy of language and in linguistics and has spawned competing theories using as evidence a mixture of intuitions about interpretation and observations of behavior. Psycholinguistics has developed sophisticated experimental methods in the study of verbal communication, but has not used them to test systematic pragmatic theories. This volume lays down the bases for a new field, Experimental Pragmatics, that draws on pragmatics, psycholinguistics and also on the psychology of reasoning. Chapters in this volume either review pioneering work or present novel ways of articulating theories and experimental methods in the area. In this introduction we outline some core pragmatic issues and approaches and relate them to experimental work in psycholinguistics and in the psychology of reasoning. We then briefly present one by one the chapters of this collection.