Open Seminar

Vol. 37.

Trump and Comic Duo Kamaitachi: Post-truth Pragmatics

  • Date: 4th June 2021, 17:30-19:30
  • Venue: Online (Via Zoom)
  • Speaker: Naoya Fujikawa (Associate Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo)
  • Host: The University of Tokyo Humanities Center

Conventional pragmatics has used the efficient exchange of information between cooperative speakers as a model for analyzing conversations. However, in real-life communication, speakers are not necessarily cooperative and their purpose might not be to exchange information. One example of such non-cooperative communication is the telling of flagrant lies.

For example, Donald Trump claimed the crowd who attended his presidential inauguration ceremony extended all the way to the Washington Monument, after which Sean Spicer claimed the crowd present at the ceremony was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration. However, it was clear from various evidence that these statements were false (and both Trump and Spicer probably knew this).

In this seminar, I wish to consider aspects of communication other than the exchange of information, taking as an example the telling of such non-cooperative, flagrant falsehoods.