Relevance and Non-Factive Knowledge Attributions

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Since Gettier’s (1963) seminal work, epistemologists have broadly questioned the validity of the tripartite analyses, arguing that entertaining a justified true belief is sometimes neither sufficient nor necessary for attributing knowledge to a cognitive subject.

  2. 2.

    Filler items were constructed as follows: one of them was characterized by a violation of Subject/Verb agreement in Italian to obtain ungrammatical constructions; three of them were fully meaningful and grammatical sentences, but they were less appropriate with respect to the context provided in the stories; four of them were fully grammatical sentences.

  3. 3.

    Two norming studies were conducted to control the experimental material. In the first study, the plausibility of the critical sentence of the stories was assessed, that is participants had to rate on a 1-to-5 Likert scale how plausible it was to interpret the sentences as true, false, or true or false. The second norming study was done to control the 8 filler items: on a 1-to-5 Likert scale, participants had to rate the grammaticality, ungrammaticality, and appropriateness (with respect to the context) of the filler items.

  4. 4.

    This was done for two main reasons: first, grouping the responses allowed us to eliminate the variance in the data due to the difference between values expressing similar judgments of naturalness and whose difference reflects some slight details not useful for the purpose of the present analysis; second, this allowed us to increase the number of observations within each condition and, thus, consequently increase the statistical power of the test statistics.

  5. 5.

    In this experiment, we focused only on three possible interpretations of know. However, note that further readings might be admitted and further experiments should be run in order to verify whether or not other possible readings might be associated to know.

  6. 6.

    It has to be noted that in experiment 2 we assume that “simply believe” has been interpreted as “not really knowing.” We are aware that this assumption is not uncontroversial and that the only way to address this point would be to design an experiment with a control condition involving “not really knowing,” to check if results in this condition correlates with those in “simply believing.”

  7. 7.

    By using the expression “epistemic strength,” we do not commit ourselves with any epistemological claim that the expression “know” is a gradable expression like “tall” or “flat” (cf. Stanley 2005). We are adopting that expression as a way to describe how we have operationalized in experimental terms the three possible degrees of informativeness that can be conveyed by the ordinary use of the verb to know.

  8. 8.

    If we consider R(i.ii), the fact that knowledge attributions under false belief are generally assessed as natural but significantly less natural than in condition p = T constitutes a further evidence of the fact that, when used in knowledge attributions under false belief, it occurs with a non-literal meaning. The reason why know is judged as generally natural by ordinary speakers when used non-literally with a false proposition depends on the fact that the non-literal meaning conveyed by know in this condition is overall acceptable and meaningful. The occurrence of a false proposition in knowledge attribution, however, conflicts directly with the literal meaning of the expression know that, as a factive verb, imposes a truth-condition. In virtue of this conflict, thus, participants have recognized knowledge attributions under false belief as generally less natural than those under true belief, which meet all the truth-conditions entailed by the literal meaning of know.

  9. 9.

    A third potential line of explanation for our data could be that know is polisemous and conveys different expression types (Colonna-Dahlman, 2016). This solution, however, as argued by Hazlett, is theoretically costly and conflicts with Grice’s Modified Occam’s Razor: “Following Grice, I take the positing of polysemy to be a vice, ceteris paribus, for a linguistic theory. So while polysemy should not be ruled out, we should first seek a theory on which ‘knows’ is univocal” (2010:503).

  10. 10.

    We are adopting the common convention of indicating concepts in capital letters and marking ad hoc concepts with an asterisk usually adopted in the relevance-theoretic literature and in the literature on concepts.

  11. 11.

    Carston claims that this is essentially the main difference between narrowing and loosening which are considered two possible outcomes of a single process: “a process of picking and choosing from among the elements of logical and encyclopaedic information that are made available by the encoded concept. The only difference between them is that, in the case of narrowing, all the logical properties are retained, while in the case of loosening, some of them are dropped. Both outcomes involve a move away from strict literalness, albeit in opposite directions (above and below literalness), so we might well expect that either both sorts of result figure in the proposition expressed by the utterance, or that neither does” (2002:334).

  12. 12.

    Where accessibility has to be interpreted as “the ease or difficulty with which an assumption can be retrieved (from memory) or constructed (on the basis of clues in the stimulus currently being processed) […]” (Carston, R., 2002: 376).

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Correspondence to Filippo Domaneschi.

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Appendices

Appendix 1

Original version in Italian of the examples of experimental stimuli used in the main text.

Experiment 1

Context sentence.

Marco ha comprato un biglietto della lotteria.

Critical sentences

  • Ha assistito all’estrazione in TV e ha vinto (cond: p = T)

  • Marco in realtà, non ha vinto, ma ha assistito in TV a un’altra lotteria in cui sono stati estratti i suoi numeri (cond: p = F)

  • Non ha ancora assistito all’estrazione in TV e, al momento, può aver sia vinto che perso (cond: p = T∨F)

Sentences
Marco spenderà i suoi soldi per una casa da vendere Filler item 1
Ora Marco incontrerà i suoi amici Filler item 2
*Marco pensavano di avere i soldi per acquistare un altro biglietto Filler item 3
Riprenderà in considerazione il sogno di un viaggio Filler item 4
Marco sa che il suo è il biglietto vincente TARGET SENTENCE
Marco pondererà sugli esiti della sua vittoria attentamente Filler item 5
Ora andrà a cena fuori per festeggiare Filler item 6
Adesso telefonerà subito a sua sorella Filler item 7
Marco comprerà un periodo di ferie Filler item 8

Experiment 2

Context sentence.

Marco ha comprato un biglietto della lotteria.

Critical sentences

  • Ha assistito all’estrazione in TV e ha vinto (cond: p = T)

  • Marco in realtà non ha vinto, ma ha assistito in TV a un’altra lotteria in cui sono stati estratti i suoi numeri (cond: p = F)

  • Non ha ancora assistito all’estrazione in TV e, al momento, può aver sia vinto che perso (cond: p = TvF)

Sentences
Marco spenderà i suoi soldi per una casa da arredare/vendere/acquistare Filler item 1
Ora Marco incontrerà/rivedrà/saluterà i suoi amici Filler item 2
Marco *pensavano/pensava/pensa di avere i soldi per/con cui acquistare un altro biglietto Filler item 3
Riprenderà in considerazione l’ipotesi/l’eventualità/il sogno di un viaggio Filler item 4
Marco sa davvero/crede semplicemente/ha solo la sensazione che il suo è/sia il biglietto vincente TARGET SENTENCE
Marco ponderà/rifletterà/ragionerà sugli esiti della sua vittoria attentamente/con attenzione
attentamente/con attenzione
Filler item 5
Ora andrà a colazione/pranzo/cena fuori per festeggiare Filler item 6
Adesso scriverà/ritelefonerà/si rivolgerà subito a sua sorella Chiara Filler item 7
Marco comprerà/chiederà/si assicurerà un periodo di ferie Filler item 8

Experiment 3

Context sentence.

Marco ha comprato un biglietto della lotteria.

Critical sentences

  • Ha assistito all’estrazione in TV e ha vinto (cond: p = T)

  • Marco in realtà, non ha vinto, ma ha assistito in TV a un’altra lotteria in cui sono stati estratti i suoi numeri (cond: p = F)

  • Non ha ancora assistito all’estrazione in TV e, al momento, può aver sia vinto che perso (cond: p = TvF)

Experiment Target sentence
Experiment 3.1 Marco sa davvero che it suo è il biglietto vincente
Experiment 3.2 Marco crede semplicemente che il suo sia il biglietto vincente
Experiment 3.3 Marco ha solo la sensazione che il suo sia il biglietto vincente

Appendix 2

Results of the within- and across-condition statistical analyses for experiments 1 (Table 1), 2 (Table 2) and experiments 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3 (Table 3). Within-condition analyses: χ2 statistics. Across-condition analyses: linear-mixed models statistics and post hoc pairwise comparisons.

Table 4 Experiment 1
Table 5 Experiment 2
Table 6 Experiments 3.1, 3.2, 3.3

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Domaneschi, F., Di Paola, S. Relevance and Non-Factive Knowledge Attributions. Acta Anal 34, 83–115 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12136-018-0362-7

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Keywords

  • Knowledge Attributions
  • Really Knows
  • Target Sentence
  • Tripartite Analysis
  • Knower Sentence