Christopher Hart c.hart at LANCASTER.AC.UK
Tue Mar 25 18:03:40 UTC 2008

Dear all,

Precisely the kind of examples schematised by Paul as "you (morally) 
should have done X and you are now to blame for Y" do occur in 
immigration discourse.  Consider the following taken from UK newspapers:

1.  If we had implemented more rigorous measures sooner, last week's 
murder of a police officer would not have happened (Mail on Sunday 19 
Jan. 2003)

2.  Immigration officials could have averted the tragedy if they had not 
repeatedly missed the chance to kick Kabir out of Britain (The Express 3 
Nov. 2006)

These kind of statements certainly seem worthy of the attention of CDA no?


Chilton, Paul wrote:
> Dear all,
> Please also note my own humble efforts in the attached paper  (prepublication draft). It is a novel theoretical framework that the older reference do not use. You need a new framework to capture the relevant phenonema. This framework is fundamentally discourse-based, as well as cognitive. The section on counterfactuals starts at about page 32. You need to check out the diagrams.
> I don't see the point of a specifically CDA account of counterfactuals: we first of all need to have an adequate account of the linguistic phenomenon. Then, of course, CDAnalysts might find counterfactuals used strategically in  specific utterances. For instance, there are some frequent pragmatic implicatures, I think, when people use counterfactuals, e.g. "If you had done X, then Y would have happened", which can in certain situations have the implicature: "you (morally) should have done X and you are now to blame for Y not having happened". 
> Paul
> ________________________________
> From: Critical Discourse/Language/Communication Analysis on behalf of Teun A. van Dijk
> Sent: Tue 25/03/2008 14:30
> Subject: Bibliography Counterfactuals
> Hi Chris,
> Here is a (non selective) bibliography on counterfactuals, of references that have the word in the title or its descriptors. Much discussion of David Lewis famous book of 1973 - and most of it logical-philosophical, some linguistic and some psychological. 
> See also the article on counterfactuals in the always very useful on line Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ( <> ). 
> I am afraid I don't know specific CDA studies on counterfactuals if they are not on this list. So, you need to read all the titles and see what's there. Sorry I cannot be more helpful. Significantly, in the bibliography the word "discourse" does not even appear once! Which again shows that also philosophers need some discursive indoctrination, since counterfactuals are first of all text or talk....!
> I send the bibliography to the CRITICS-L list, in case more people want to read on counterfactuals - quite interesting topic for discourse analysis as well. 
> Cheers
> Teun
> ________________________________________
> Teun A. van Dijk
> Universitat Pompeu Fabra
> Dept. de Traducció i Filologia
> Rambla 30
> 08002 Barcelona
> E-mail: teun at
> Internet: <> 

Christopher Hart
Lecturer in English Language and Communication
School of Humanities
University of Hertfordshire

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