I’ve been writing the most brain destroying essay for the last eight days. Here’s a sample:
The necessity of the Co-operative principle, being central to Gricean theory, is often disputed by theorists. Relevance Theory, as proposed and outlined by Sperber and Wilson (1995) does not ascribe to this idea of co-operation in communication being the focal issue, but does concur with Grice’s opinion on the essentiality of expression and recognition of intentions in human conversation. (Sperber and Wilson, 2004: 1)
Sperber and Wilson build upon Grice’s foundational model of inferential communication but offer an alternative approach in many respects. Whilst they also agree with Grice’s intuition that utterances create expectations of relevance, (ibid.) they reason that ‘the expectations of relevance raised by an utterance are precise enough, and predictable enough, to guide the hearer towards the speaker’s meaning.’ (Sperber and Wilson, 2004: 2)
I am truly about to just hand it in, whatever state it’s in, though I know it’s not quite finished. Part of me finds it difficult to continue to do these assignments when the end is so near, and I know that this degree isn’t really going to mean much to me anyway. Certainly giving my opinion on whether Relevance Theory is an improvement on Gricean ideas won’t help me to pay whatever bills await. I suppose you never know. There is a higher plan, of that much I’m sure.
Aside from this essay, I’ve been writing for other projects, catching up on emails that I ignored while I was away, writing reports of the trip for Gauravani.com, and finding myself sitting here writing a blog when I should be finishing my abominable essay. And I don’t even want to start on the amount of books I’m in various stages of reading. My bedside table looks like a book sale. Currently I’ve got all the bookmarks I own on the go (plus paper scraps), with Vaisnava Compassion by Satsvarupa Maharaj; Krsna, Israel and the Druze by Dhira Govinda Dasa; A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth; The Art of Sadhana by B.P. Puri Maharaj; Songs of Three Great South Indian Saints by William Jackson; The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton; Jaiva Dharma by Bhaktivinode Thakur – I could go on but there’s no point. Perhaps I should just face up to the fact that this entire blog is blatant procrastination that I can’t afford to indulge in, and get back to the dry debate on conversational maxims.
But I shouldn’t complain. I chose this after all.