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Performance of Understanding: Pragmatics and Fast and Frugal Heuristics


What determines the meaning of an utterance is a logical matter and as such must be treated independently of the bio-cognitive constraints that operate in our bodies. This thesis, whose great supporter was Frege, implies a clear notion of rationality that seems not to bear comparison with what we know on the limits of our rationality. Various theories (Kahneman and Tversky 1983; Gigerenzer et al., 1999), thematizing the need to consider our rationality beginning from the bio- cognitive constraints that our body imposes on a mass of information, can be of great utility for facing the problem of what type of rationality operates in phenomena of linguistic understanding (Ferreira and Patson 2007; Christiansen and Chater, 2016). From this picture it will clearly emerge that understanding is a performance of human organisms that cannot be described without considering the effective bio- cognitive constraints at work in our actions.