Wilson seminar


Prof. Deirdre Wilson (University College London)

With Professor Dan Sperber, Deirdre Wilson is the founder of Relevance theory, a theory of pragmatics that has evolved from Grice’s original work. 


This course outlines the basic concepts of relevance theory and its implications for pragmatics.

After introducing relevance theory as a theory of cognition and communication, it gives an overview and illustration of relevance theory’s approach to the ‘classical’ topics in the study of pragmatics such as the semantics-pragmatics distinction, the explicit-implicit distinction and the literal-figurative distinction.

Topics covered in the later part of the course include the implications of relevance theory for lexical semantics and pragmatics, the relation between understanding and believing, and the place of pragmatics in the architecture of the mind.


The handouts for this course can be found here:


Lecture 1:    19/11/2012   10.00-13.00
Relevance theory, communication and cognition 

Lecture 2:    20/11/2012   10.00-13.00
The explicit-implicit distinction

Lecture 3:    21/11/2012   10.00-13.00
The literal-figurative distinction

Lecture 4:    22/11/2012   10.00-13.00
Pragmatics and the architecture of the mind

Lecture 5:    23/11/2012   10.00-13.00
Pragmatics and the conceptual-procedural distinction


Universiteit Gent - Faculteit Letteren en Wijsbegeerte - Blandijnberg 2

Room: 1.48 (first floor) (a map of the Blandijnberg, first floor can be found here).


Participation is free, but those wishing to attend should register by sending an email to before 12 November 2012.


Suggestions for accommodation can be found here.