Pragmatics is considered to be a fairly recent addition to the sciences of language, dating back to the works of Austin, Searle and Grice. However, this apparently new approach to language has its roots in the philosophical, psychological and linguistic traditions of the past. This is true of all four approaches to pragmatics which one can distinguish in Europe and American the Anglo-Saxon one which emerged from Ordinary Language Philosophy and which has dominated the field until the present; the French one which is based on the theory of enunciation elaborated by Benveniste; the German one which wants to study pragmatics as part of a general theory of action; and the American one of pragmatism. To varying degrees all these strands of thought are blind to their own history, and have cut themselves off from a wealth of ideas, developed during the 19th century, of how language and the mind work. In this article we want to give an overview of the evolution of these traditions and stimulate discussion among colleagues in all fields and disciplines which are based in one way or another on linguistic pragmatics. © 1994.
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