Theorising context

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This article challenges the idea that it is possible to produce a <i>theory</i> of context. Such a theory, it is argued, is unintelligible by virtue of the fact that it leaves us with no prior rational concepts with which to make sense of or understand a theory of context. This argument is developed in relation to the treatment of context in clinical pragmatics. The article examines how clinicians and experimentalists examine pragmatic disorders in children and adults. This examination, it is contended, ends up distorting the notion of context that is integral to utterance (pragmatic) interpretation. It is argued that this distortion arises when we mistakenly believe that we can assume a metaphysical standpoint in our deliberations about context.


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