Attitude Reports in Intensional Semantics
Language & Logic
Week One - 11.00-12.30 - Level: I
This course provides the fundamentals of intensional semantics, with a focus on attitude reports. It will familiarize students with core puzzles in the domain of attitude reports and the tools that have been developed to account for them. In Part 1 of the course, we introduce the notion of a possible world and show how it can be employed to provide a semantics for modal operators like believe and other attitude verbs. In the second part, we focus on two issues that any theory of attitude reports must grapple with: the so-called ‘double vision’ problem which gives rise to the notion of a ‘de re’ construal of a nominal (Quine, 1956), and the contrast between such construals and ‘de se’ interpretations (Lewis, 1979). We discuss accounts of these phenomena based on abstraction over variables at LF (Chierchia, 1990; Percus & Sauerland, 2003). A consequence of these proposals is that the treatment of attitude verbs as quantifiers over worlds introduced at the beginning of the course is not fine-grained enough.