Parasitic attitudes

Linguistics and Philosophy 38 (3):205-236 (2015)
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Karttunen observes that a presupposition triggered inside an attitude ascription, can be filtered out by a seemingly inaccessible antecedent under the scope of a preceding belief ascription. This poses a major challenge for presupposition theory and the semantics of attitude ascriptions. I solve the problem by enriching the semantics of attitude ascriptions with some independently argued assumptions on the structure and interpretation of mental states. In particular, I propose a DRT-based representation of mental states with a global belief-layer and a variety of labeled attitude compartments embedded within it. Hence, desires and other non-doxastic attitudes are asymmetrically dependent on beliefs. I integrate these mental state representations into a general semantic account of attitude ascriptions which relies on the parasitic nature of non-doxastic attitudes to solve Karttunen’s puzzle

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Emar Maier
University of Groningen


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