Slave to the passions: Making emotions relevant

Timothy Wharton, Claudia Strey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


In recent years, Deirdre Wilson has articulated a view of procedural meaning that is, on the face of it, a long way from the one originally conceived. Rather than making inferential comprehension easier, the function of procedural expressions in a language is to activate a range of domain-specific procedures, among these, emotion reading. This paper explores how emotion reading, and emotions themselves, can be integrated within a relevance theoretic framework. It explores a diverse range of different views of emotions and attempts to synthesize a procedural account of emotions in a way that fits with the account of mental architecture presented by Wilson (2011) and the relationship between strong and weak showing and strong and weak meaningNN developed in Sperber and Wilson (2015). The account involves an exploration of not only the relationship between ostensive and non-ostensive communication, but also between propositional and non-propositional effects and the relationship between decoding and inference in the way we read the emotions of others.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRelevance
Subtitle of host publicationPragmatics and Interpretation
EditorsKate Scott, Billy Clark, Robyn Carston
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781108418638
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2019


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