Keywords: meaning in use, interest, inference, semantic underdeterminacy, explicit communication.
The paper examines the determination of the explicit content of communication
via inferential processes based on the speakers' situational interests. The
paper's argument is based on the hypothesis that the meaning of natural language
expressions depends on the situational non-linguistic interests of speakers. It
is maintained that interests affect the sentences of natural language because
semantic conventions, semantic context, and pragmatic context are unable to
determine a unique meaning for a sentence. In particular, the paper addresses
the question of the determination of meaning via inference where the speaker's
interest is a premise for communicative inferences. The last part of the paper
illustrates a case discussed in pragmatist literature where it is argued how the
inferential model based on interests captures the explicit content of communication
better than the model based on the notion of context.