Relevance Theory in Action

Biblical Greek morphology and syntax, aspect, linguistics, discourse analysis, and related topics
Stephen Carlson
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Location: Melbourne

Re: Relevance Theory in Action

Post by Stephen Carlson » August 30th, 2020, 8:04 pm

Matthew Longhorn wrote:
August 30th, 2020, 1:42 am
Stephen Carlson wrote:
August 29th, 2020, 11:47 pm
Is there is a difference between triggering a mental procedure in the hearer's mind or, rather what seems more natural to me, communicating instructions to the hearer to do something? If the former, where do these mental procedures come from, and how can they be identified? How are they taught? I would assume most people would have learned them somehow from examples. If the latter, the instruction communicated by the particle would be something like: use this statement to strengthen some salient, mutually manifest proposition.
I would also need to go back and read through more carefully, so everything here is just my hazy memory from wider reading though. I think that communicating instructions and triggering a mental procedure are close to synonymous. They are definitely taught, and not something that is just inherent in our minds, in fact there is some argument that all words are procedural to some extent, with words denoting concepts having a procedural instruction to process in that manner.
I'm just carping a little that her proposal seems to glide between things I consider to be ontologically distinct. I don't know whether that's intentional and I'm missing something, or whether it's just a certain kind of sloppiness.
Matthew Longhorn wrote:
August 30th, 2020, 1:42 am
Stephen Carlson wrote:
August 29th, 2020, 11:47 pm
It is also unclear whether strengthening is a goal or a side-effect of the connective γάρ. If the former, the procedural meaning of γάρ can simply be an instruction to use the statement it introduces to strenghten a previous proposition. If the latter, it sounds like the actual goal is to the identify some implicit assumption and apply the statement introduced by the connective to it. This would have the side-effect of strengthening the proposition. In that case, how did Casson manage to discover that γάρ is really about the implicit assumption, rather than the strengthening? Does the implicit assumption manifest itself in other ways? Or is it some deus ex machina?
I am not too sure I understand this question, can you clarify?
It's really a question about means and ends, or direct and indirect effects. It not at all clear to me what role the implicit assumption (IA) is playing in that excerpt. (Admittedly, I can read further!) Is it the aim of the procedure or how she thinks the procedure works? I'm just asking questions, not expecting answers.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Matthew Longhorn
Posts: 379
Joined: November 10th, 2017, 2:48 pm

Re: Relevance Theory in Action

Post by Matthew Longhorn » August 31st, 2020, 3:59 am

I am going to take a starting stab at listing some questions that RT principles may open up to us in the exegesis of just Thomas' words in John 20:28. I want to do some work on that passage in the light of this anyway at some point. This list could be opened up a lot through examining the wider context and a wider range of RT concepts

Do we know the mutually manifest information to Jesus and Thomas?
What is the cognitive environment in which these words are uttered?

Representation / Metarepresentation
Are Thomas' words ο κuριος μου και ο θεος μοu a direct representation or an interpretive metarepresentation
If a metarepresentation - is this of someone else's thoughts / speech, or of his own thoughts
Is John's reporting of Thomas' words a direct or interpretive metarepresentation
If direct, is this due to the original language of Thomas' words being in Greek?
Is it possible to have direct representation when translating from one language to another if the original was in Aramaic / Hebrew?
If interpretive, in what way is it interpretive?
matched to the context of John's Greek audience?
Matched to the LXX?

Lexical broadening / narrowing
in what way are the terms κυριος and θεος modulated in the context?
Lexical broadening
κυριος intended to be in a broad sense of a teacher / disciple relationship?
Is this metaphorical
Lexical narrowing
κυριος intended to be specific
κυριος modified by θεος to indicate not just Lord but divine Lord?

Expectation of optimal relevance
Are Thomas' words an act of ostensive communication to Jesus or a mere expression of his own thoughts to himself?
How may Thomas' words be optimally relevant to Jesus
New belief formed from inference in the context?
Letting Jesus know that he accepted him as risen from the dead
Letting Jesus know that he submits to His authority
Letting Jesus know that he views him as God?
Cancellation of a belief
Thomas disbelieves in the resurrection
Thomas no longer accepts Jesus' Lordship due to his crucifiction?
Reinforcement of an belief
What are the encyclopaedic connotations of Lord and God?
Does the LXX shema have an influence here with the conjunction of Lord and God?
Does the two power's in heaven theology have an impact here?
application of "lord" to Caesar?
Is there procedural meaning in the text?
How does και constrain the processing of the narrative
additive of two separate expressions? "my Lord" "my God"?
What pragmatic enrichment needs to take place in the text?
"I recognise you now to be by Lord and my God"?
"I recognise you at last to be my Lord and my God"?

What are the implicatures that can be drawn from the text?
I now believe that you are risen
I submit myself to your authority
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Matthew Longhorn
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Joined: November 10th, 2017, 2:48 pm

Re: Relevance Theory in Action

Post by Matthew Longhorn » August 31st, 2020, 4:31 am

I should probably add to the above that we then need to consider how John intends this to be optimally relevant for his audience etc
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