Reasoning with an (Experiential) Attitude

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 12331)


This paper gives a compositional semantics for attitude reports with nominal, gerund, and that-clause complements that captures the intuitive entailment relations between these reports (e.g. Ida sees/imagines a penguin diving \(\Rightarrow \) Ida sees/imagines a penguin). These relations are identified through the familiar diagnostic tests. We observe that entailments that are licensed by counterfactual attitude verbs (here: imagine) are largely different from the entailments between veridical vision reports that are described in (Barwise 1981). To capture this difference, we give a non-clausal syntax for gerund attitude reports and assign factive clausal complements a different semantics from non-factive and gerund complements. The resulting account captures the entailment patterns of imagination and vision reports without assuming special axioms in the lexical semantics of see or imagine. On our account, the ‘logic’ of the above reports thus falls directly out of their semantics.


Perception reports Imagination reports Selectional flexibility Entailment patterns Predication theory Situation semantics 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for LinguisticsGoethe University FrankfurtFrankfurt am MainGermany

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