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The Pragmatics of Insensitive Assessments: Understanding The Relativity of Assessments of Judgments of Personal Taste, Epistemic Modals, and More
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Göteborgs universitet.
2010 (English)In: The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication, ISSN 1944-3676, Vol. 6, 1-45 p.Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

In assessing the veridicality of utterances, we normally seem to assess the satisfaction of conditions that the speaker had been concerned to get right in making the utterance. However, the debate about assessor-relativism about epistemic modals, predicates of taste, gradable adjectives and conditionals has been largely driven by cases in which seemingly felicitous assessments of utterances are insensitive to aspects of the context of utterance that were highly relevant to the speaker’s choice of words. In this paper, we offer an explanation of why certain locutions invite insensitive assessments, focusing primarily on ’tasty’ and ’might’. We spell out some reasons why felicitous insensitive assessments are puzzling and argue briefly that recent attempts to accommodate such assessments (including attempts by John MacFarlane, Kai von Fintel and Anthony Gillies) all fail to provide more than hints at a solution to the puzzle. In the main part of the paper, we develop an account of felicitous insensitive assessments by identifying a number of pragmatic factors that influence the felicity of assessments. Before closing, we argue that the role of these factors extend beyond cases considered in the debate about assessor-relativism and fit comfortably with standard contextualist analyses of the relevant locutions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Manhattan, KS: New Prairie Press , 2010. Vol. 6, 1-45 p.
Keyword [en]
Modality, Relativism, Linguistics, Contextualism and relativism, Philosophy Of Language, Contextualism
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-73447OAI: diva2:472491
6th International Symposium of Cognitive Sciences, 19-21, 2010, Riga, Latvia
Available from: 2012-01-03 Created: 2012-01-03 Last updated: 2013-10-14Bibliographically approved

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Björnsson, Gunnar
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