This book considers how observations about the past influence future behaviour, as expressed in language. Focusing on information gathered from speech and other evidence sources, the author offers a model of how judgements about reliability can be made, and how such judgements factor into how people treat information they acquire via those sources.
We show in this paper that some expressions indicating source of evidence are part of propositional content and are best analyzed as special kind of epistemic modal. Our evidence comes from the Japanese evidential system. We consider six evidentials in Japanese, showing that they can be embedded in conditionals and under modals and that their properties with respect to modal subordination are similar to those of ordinary modals. We show that these facts are difficult for existing theories of evidentials, which (...) assign evidentials necessarily widest scope, to explain. We then provide an analysis using a logical system designed to account for evidential reasoning; this logic is the first developed system of probabilistic dynamic predicate logic. This analysis is shown to account for the data we provide that is problematic for other theories. (shrink)
Natural language contains many expressions with underspecified emotive content. This paper proposes a way to resolve such underspecification. Nonmonotonic inference over a knowledge base is used to derive an expected interpretation for emotive expressions in a particular context. This ‘normal’ meaning is then taken to influence the hearer’s expectations about probable interpretations, and, because of these probable interpretations, the decisions of the speaker about when use of underspecified emotive terms is appropriate.
We present diverse evidence for the claim of Pullum and Rawlins (2007) that expressives behave differently from descriptives in constructions that enforce a particular kind of semantic identity between elements. Our data are drawn from a wide variety of languages and construction types, and they point uniformly to a basic linguistic distinction between descriptive content and expressive content (Kaplan 1999; Potts 2007).
This paper considers the meaning and use of the English particle man . It is shown that the particle does quite different things when it appears in sentence-initial and sentence-final position; the first use involves expression of an emotional attitude as well as, on a particular intonation, intensification; this use is analyzed using a semantics for degree predicates along with a separate dimension for the expressive aspect. Further restrictions on modification with the sentence-initial particle involving monotonicity and evidence are introduced (...) and analyzed. The sentence-final use can be viewed as strengthening the action performed by the sentence. A formal semantics is given by making use of dynamic techniques and, in a sense, dynamically simulating the modification of certain speech acts. Some empirical and theoretical extensions of the analyses are proposed and some consequences discussed. (shrink)
Today the use of English is dominant, and even epistemologists in the " use English, using " But why, and to what extent can this be justified? As the first volume ever to be dedicated solely to this topic, the papers collected here will contribute to this important topic and in epistemology in general.
Japanese has a large number of evidential and modal expressions. Many of the inferential evidentials – mitai, yoo, rashii – also have an adjectival use. On this use, they make a claim about the prototypicality of some object or individual with respect to another class of object, in the case of rashii, or about the similarity of these two objects, for yoo and mitai. This paper provides a compositional semantics for these adjectives, claiming that they are evaluated in terms of (...) the degree to which they instantiate a set of properties (conventionally) associated with a class of object. (shrink)