Death on the Freeway: Imaginative resistance as narrator accommodation

In Ilaria Frana, Paula Menendez Benito & Rajesh Bhatt (eds.), Making Worlds Accessible: Festschrift for Angelika Kratzer. Amherst: UMass ScholarWorks (2020)
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We propose to analyze well-known cases of "imaginative resistance" from the philosophical literature (Gendler, Walton, Weatherson) as involving the inference that particular content should be attributed to either: (i) a character rather than the narrator or, (ii) an unreliable, irrational, opinionated, and/or morally deviant "first person" narrator who was originally perceived to be a typical impersonal, omniscient, "effaced" narrator. We model the latter type of attribution in terms of two independently motivated linguistic mechanisms: accommodation of a discourse referent (Lewis, Stalnaker, Kamp) and 'cautious' updating as a model of non-cooperative information exchange (Eckardt).

Author Profiles

Daniel Altshuler
Oxford University
Emar Maier
University of Groningen


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