About this topic
Summary There is a tradition of philosophers and linguists working together on topics in formal semantics and pragmatics. Recently, both linguists and philosophers have begun to use empirical methods to address these issues. This category focuses particularly on empirical works on semantics and pragmatics done by philosophers and empirical works on semantics and pragmatics with an explicit philosophical focus.
Key works Szabó & Knobe 2013, Knobe & Yalcin 2014, and Egré & Cova 2015 are examples of collaborations between linguistics-minded philosophers of language and experimental philosophers.
Introductions Hansen 2015 provides a thorough overview of works at the intersection of experimental philosophy and formal semantics and pragmatics. Most works in this PhilPapers category falls under what Hansen calls "positive experimental philosophy of language". In addition, Phelan 2014 surveys works in experimental pragmatics and discusses their philosophical significance.
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  1. Natural Language Processing and Semantic Network Visualization for Philosophers.Mark Alfano & Andrew Higgins - forthcoming - In Eugen Fischer & Mark Curtis (eds.), Methodological Advances in Experimental Philosophy. Bloomsbury.
    Progress in philosophy is difficult to achieve because our methods are evidentially and rhetorically weak. In the last two decades, experimental philosophers have begun to employ the methods of the social sciences to address philosophical questions. However, the adequacy of these methods has been called into question by repeated failures of replication. Experimental philosophers need to incorporate more robust methods to achieve a multi-modal perspective. In this chapter, we describe and showcase cutting-edge methods for data-mining and visualization. Big data is (...)
  2. Thinking About the Liar, Fast and Slow.Robert Barnard, Joseph Ulatowski & Jonathan Weinberg - 2017 - In Bradley Armour-Garb (ed.), Reflections on the Liar. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 39-70.
    The liar paradox is widely conceived as a problem for logic and semantics. On the basis of empirical studies presented here, we suggest that there is an underappreciated psychological dimension to the liar paradox and related problems, conceived as a problem for human thinkers. Specific findings suggest that how one interprets the liar sentence and similar paradoxes can vary in relation to one’s capacity for logical and reflective thought, acceptance of certain logical principles, and degree of philosophical training, but also (...)
  3. Empirical Methods of Linguistics in Philosophy.Roland Bluhm - 2014 - The Reasoner 8 (4):41.
    Report on the workshop "Empirical Methods of Linguistics in Philosophy", which took place at TU Dortmund University, Germany, on March 13–14, 2014.
  4. Do Lions Have Manes? For Children, Generics Are About Kinds, Not Quantities.Amanda Brandone, Andrei Cimpian, Sarah-Jane Leslie & Susan Gelman - 2012 - Child Development 83:423-433.
  5. David Lewis in the Lab: Experimental Results on the Emergence of Meaning.Justin Bruner, Cailin O’Connor, Hannah Rubin & Simon M. Huttegger - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):603-621.
    In this paper we use an experimental approach to investigate how linguistic conventions can emerge in a society without explicit agreement. As a starting point we consider the signaling game introduced by Lewis. We find that in experimental settings, small groups can quickly develop conventions of signal meaning in these games. We also investigate versions of the game where the theoretical literature indicates that meaning will be less likely to arise—when there are more than two states for actors to transfer (...)
  6. Can We Agree About Agree?Emmanuel Chemla & B. R. George - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (1):243-264.
    This squib attempts to constrain semantic theories of agree wh constructions by broadening the data set and collecting naive speakers’ intuitions. Overall, our data suggest relatively permissive truth-conditions for these constructions. They also suggest a previously undiscussed presupposition for agree wh and also indicate that agree wh is not straightforwardly reducible to agree that. Although some accounts suggest differences in truth conditions among different asymmetrical agree with constructions and symmetrical agree constructions, we do not find any indication of such truth-conditional (...)
  7. Modularity and Intuitions in Formal Semantics: The Case of Polarity Items.Emmanuel Chemla, Vincent Homer & Daniel Rothschild - 2011 - Linguistics and Philosophy 34 (6):537-570.
    Linguists often sharply distinguish the different modules that support linguistics competence, e.g., syntax, semantics, pragmatics. However, recent work has identified phenomena in syntax (polarity sensitivity) and pragmatics (implicatures), which seem to rely on semantic properties (monotonicity). We propose to investigate these phenomena and their connections as a window into the modularity of our linguistic knowledge. We conducted a series of experiments to gather the relevant syntactic, semantic and pragmatic judgments within a single paradigm. The comparison between these quantitative data leads (...)
  8. Incremental Vs. Symmetric Accounts of Presupposition Projection: An Experimental Approach.Emmanuel Chemla & Philippe Schlenker - 2012 - Natural Language Semantics 20 (2):177-226.
    The presupposition triggered by an expression E is generally satisfied by information that comes before rather than after E in the sentence or discourse. In Heim’s classic theory (1983), this left-right asymmetry is encoded in the lexical semantics of dynamic connectives and operators. But several recent analyses offer a more nuanced approach, in which presupposition satisfaction has two separate components: a general principle (which varies from theory to theory) specifies under what conditions a presupposition triggered by an expression E is (...)
  9. Are Linguists Better Subjects?Jennifer Culbertson & Steven Gross - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):721-736.
    Who are the best subjects for judgment tasks intended to test grammatical hypotheses? Michael Devitt ( [2006a] , [2006b] ) argues, on the basis of a hypothesis concerning the psychology of such judgments, that linguists themselves are. We present empirical evidence suggesting that the relevant divide is not between linguists and non-linguists, but between subjects with and without minimally sufficient task-specific knowledge. In particular, we show that subjects with at least some minimal exposure to or knowledge of such tasks tend (...)
  10. The Extinction of Masculine Generics.Brian D. Earp - 2012 - Journal for Communication and Culture 2 (1):4-19.
    In English, as in many other languages, male-gendered pronouns are sometimes used to refer not only to men, but to individuals whose gender is unknown or unspecified, to human beings in general (as in ―mankind‖) and sometimes even to females (as when the casual ―Hey guys‖ is spoken to a group of women). These so-called he/man or masculine generics have come under fire in recent decades for being sexist, even archaic, and positively harmful to women and girls; and advocates of (...)
  11. Moral Asymmetries and the Semantics of Many.Paul Egré & Florian Cova - 2015 - Semantics and Pragmatics 8 (13):1-45.
    We present the results of four experiments concerning the evaluation people make of sentences involving “many”, showing that two sentences of the form “many As are Bs” vs. “many As are Cs” need not be equivalent when evaluated relative to a background in which B and C have the same cardinality and proportion to A, but in which B and C are predicates with opposite semantic and affective values. The data provide evidence that subjects lower the standard relevant to ascribe (...)
  12. Vagueness and Order Effects in Color Categorization.Paul Egré, Vincent de Gardelle & David Ripley - 2013 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 22 (4):391-420.
    This paper proposes an experimental investigation of the use of vague predicates in dynamic sorites. We present the results of two studies in which subjects had to categorize colored squares at the borderline between two color categories (Green vs. Blue, Yellow vs. Orange). Our main aim was to probe for hysteresis in the ordered transitions between the respective colors, namely for the longer persistence of the initial category. Our main finding is a reverse phenomenon of enhanced contrast (i.e. negative hysteresis), (...)
  13. How People Interpret Conditionals: Shifts Towards the Conditional Event.A. J. B. Fugard, Niki Pfeifer, B. Mayerhofer & Gernot D. Kleiter - 2011 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 37 (3):635-648.
    We investigated how people interpret conditionals and how stable their interpretation is over a long series of trials. Participants were shown the colored patterns on each side of a six-sided die, and were asked how sure they were that a conditional holds of the side landing upwards when the die is randomly thrown. Participants were presented with 71 trials consisting of all combinations of binary dimensions of shape (e.g., circles and squares) and color (e.g., blue and red) painted onto the (...)
  14. Abstracts From Logic Form: An Experimental Study of the Nexus Between Language and Logic I.Joseph S. Fulda - 2006 - Journal of Pragmatics 38 (5):778-807.
  15. Abstracts From Logical Form: An Experimental Study of the Nexus Between Language and Logic II.Joseph S. Fulda - 2006 - Journal of Pragmatics 38 (6):925-943.
    This experimental study provides further support for a theory of meaning first put forward by Bar-Hillel and Carnap in 1953 and foreshadowed by Asimov in 1951. The theory is the Popperian notion that the meaningfulness of a proposition is its a priori falsity. We tested this theory in the first part of this paper by translating to logical form a long, tightly written, published text and computed the meaningfulness of each proposition using the a priori falsity measure. We then selected (...)
  16. Experimenting on Contextualism.Hansen Nat & Chemla Emmanuel - 2013 - Mind and Language 28 (3):286-321.
    This paper concerns the central method of generating evidence in support of contextualist theories, what we call context shifting experiments. We begin by explaining the standard design of context shifting experiments, which are used in both quantitative surveys and more traditional thought experiments to show how context affects the content of natural language expressions. We discuss some recent experimental studies that have tried and failed to find evidence that confirms contextualist predictions about the results of context shifting experiments, and consider (...)
  17. Must We Measure What We Mean?Nat Hansen - 2017 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (8):785-815.
    This paper excavates a debate concerning the claims of ordinary language philosophers that took place during the middle of the last century. The debate centers on the status of statements about ‘what we say’. On one side of the debate, critics of ordinary language philosophy argued that statements about ‘what we say’ should be evaluated as empirical observations about how people do in fact speak, on a par with claims made in the language sciences. By that standard, ordinary language philosophers (...)
  18. A Slugfest of Intuitions: Contextualism and Experimental Design.Nat Hansen - 2013 - Synthese 190 (10):1771-1792.
    This paper considers ways that experimental design can affect judgments about informally presented context shifting experiments. Reasons are given to think that judgments about informal context shifting experiments are affected by an exclusive reliance on binary truth value judgments and by experimenter bias. Exclusive reliance on binary truth value judgments may produce experimental artifacts by obscuring important differences of degree between the phenomena being investigated. Experimenter bias is an effect generated when, for example, experimenters disclose (even unconsciously) their own beliefs (...)
  19. Color Adjectives, Standards, and Thresholds: An Experimental Investigation.Nat Hansen & Emmanuel Chemla - 2017 - Linguistics and Philosophy 40 (3):1--40.
    Are color adjectives ("red", "green", etc.) relative adjectives or absolute adjectives? Existing theories of the meaning of color adjectives attempt to answer that question using informal ("armchair") judgments. The informal judgments of theorists conflict: it has been proposed that color adjectives are absolute with standards anchored at the minimum degree on the scale, that they are absolute but have near-midpoint standards, and that they are relative. In this paper we report two experiments, one based on entailment patterns and one based (...)
  20. Linguistic Experiments and Ordinary Language Philosophy.Nat Hansen & Emmanuel Chemla - 2015 - Ratio 28 (4):422-445.
    J.L. Austin is regarded as having an especially acute ear for fine distinctions of meaning overlooked by other philosophers. Austin employs an informal experimental approach to gathering evidence in support of these fine distinctions in meaning, an approach that has become a standard technique for investigating meaning in both philosophy and linguistics. In this paper, we subject Austin's methods to formal experimental investigation. His methods produce mixed results: We find support for his most famous distinction, drawn on the basis of (...)
  21. Experimental Philosophy of Language.Nathaniel Hansen - 2015 - Oxford Handbooks Online.
    Experimental philosophy of language uses experimental methods developed in the cognitive sciences to investigate topics of interest to philosophers of language. This article describes the methodological background for the development of experimental approaches to topics in philosophy of language, distinguishes negative and positive projects in experimental philosophy of language, and evaluates experimental work on the reference of proper names and natural kind terms. The reliability of expert judgments vs. the judgments of ordinary speakers, the role that ambiguity plays in influencing (...)
  22. Tolerance Effect in Categorisation with Vague Predicates.Minyao Huang - 2013 - Pragmatics and Cognition 21 (2):340-358.
    Vagueness is understood as the problem of associating imprecise application criteria with ordinary predicates such as ‘bald’ or ‘blue’. It is often construed as due to one’s tolerance to a minute difference in forming a verdict on the application of a vague predicate. This paper reports an experiment conducted to test the effect of tolerance, using as paradigm categorisation tasks performed with respect to transitional series, e.g., a series of tomatoes from red to orange. The findings suggest a negative effect (...)
  23. Epistemic Modal Disagreement.Jonah Katz & Joe Salerno - 2017 - Topoi 36 (1):141-153.
    At the center of the debate between contextualist versus relativist semantics for epistemic modal claims is an empirical question about when competent subjects judge epistemic modal disagreement to be present. John MacFarlane’s relativist claims that we judge there to be epistemic modal disagreement across the widest range of cases. We wish to dispute the robustness of his data with the results of two studies. Our primary conclusion is that the actual disagreement data is not consistent with relativist predictions, and so, (...)
  24. Modal Disagreements.Justin Khoo - 2015 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (5):511-534.
    It is often assumed that when one party felicitously rejects an assertion made by an- other party, the first party thinks that the proposition asserted by the second is false. This assumption underlies various disagreement arguments used to challenge contex- tualism about some class of expressions. As such, many contextualists have resisted these arguments on the grounds that the disagreements in question may not be over the proposition literally asserted. The result appears to be a dialectical stalemate, with no independent (...)
  25. Dual Character Concepts and the Normative Dimension of Conceptual Representation.Joshua Knobe, Sandeep Prasada & George Newman - 2013 - Cognition 127 (2):242-257.
    Five experiments provide evidence for a class of ‘dual character concepts.’ Dual character concepts characterize their members in terms of both (a) a set of concrete features and (b) the abstract values that these features serve to realize. As such, these concepts provide two bases for evaluating category members and two different criteria for category membership. Experiment 1 provides support for the notion that dual character concepts have two bases for evaluation. Experiments 2-4 explore the claim that dual character concepts (...)
  26. Epistemic Modals and Context: Experimental Data.Joshua Knobe & Seth Yalcin - 2014 - Semantics and Pragmatics 7 (10):1-21.
    Recently, a number of theorists (MacFarlane (2003, 2011), Egan et al. (2005), Egan (2007), Stephenson (2007a,b)) have argued that an adequate semantics and pragmatics for epistemic modals calls for some technical notion of relativist truth and/or relativist content. Much of this work has relied on an empirical thesis about speaker judgments, namely that competent speakers tend to judge a present-tense bare epistemic possibility claim true only if the prejacent is compatible with their information. Relativists have in particular appealed to judgments (...)
  27. Generics and Experimental Philosophy.Adam Lerner - 2016 - In Wesley Buckwalter & Justin Sytsma (eds.), A Companion to Experimental Philosophy. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 404-416.
  28. Quantified Statements Are Recalled as Generics: Evidence From Preschool Children and Adults.Sarah-Jane Leslie & Susan Gelman - 2012 - Cognitive Psychology 64 (186):214.
  29. All Ducks Lay Eggs: The Generic Overgeneralization Effect.Sarah-Jane Leslie, Sangeet Khemlani & Sam Glucksberg - 2011 - Journal of Memory and Language 65:15-31.
  30. Aesthetic Adjectives Lack Uniform Behavior.Shen-yi Liao, Louise McNally & Aaron Meskin - 2016 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (6):618-631.
    The goal of this short paper is to show that esthetic adjectives—exemplified by “beautiful” and “elegant”—do not pattern stably on a range of linguistic diagnostics that have been used to taxonomize the gradability properties of adjectives. We argue that a plausible explanation for this puzzling data involves distinguishing two properties of gradable adjectives that have been frequently conflated: whether an adjective’s applicability is sensitive to a comparison class, and whether an adjective’s applicability is context-dependent.
  31. Aesthetic Adjectives: Experimental Semantics and Context-Sensitivity.Shen-yi Liao & Aaron Meskin - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):371–398.
    One aim of this essay is to contribute to understanding aesthetic communication—the process by which agents aim to convey thoughts and transmit knowledge about aesthetic matters to others. Our focus will be on the use of aesthetic adjectives in aesthetic communication. Although theorists working on the semantics of adjectives have developed sophisticated theories about gradable adjectives, they have tended to avoid studying aesthetic adjectives—the class of adjectives that play a central role in expressing aesthetic evaluations. And despite the wealth of (...)
  32. Asymmetry in Presupposition Projection: The Case of Conjunction.Matthew Mandelkern, Jeremy Zehr, Jacopo Romoli & Florian Schwarz - forthcoming - Semantics and Linguistic Theory 27.
    Is the basic mechanism behind presupposition projection fundamentally asymmetric or symmetric? This is a basic question for the theory of presupposition, which also bears on broader issues concerning the source of asymmetries observed in natural language: are these simply rooted in superficial asymmetries of language use— language use unfolds in time, which we experience as fundamentally asymmetric— or can they be, at least in part, directly referenced in linguistic knowledge and representations? In this paper we aim to make progress on (...)
  33. General Terms, Hybrid Theories and Ambiguitiy. A Discussion of Some Experimental Results.Genoveva Marti - 2015 - In Jussi Haukioja (ed.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Language. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 157-172.
    I examine two sets of experimental results about the semantics of general terms, by Genone and Lombrozo (2012) and by Nichols, Pinillos and Mallon (forthcoming) that allegedly reveal significant variations in semantic intuitions as regards the correct application of general terms. The two sets of authors propose two entirely different semantic treatments: Genone and Lombrozo espouse a hybrid semantics whereas Nichols, Pinillos and Mallon are inclined towards an appeal to ambiguity. I cast some doubts on the coherence of a hybrid (...)
  34. Reference and Experimental Semantics.Genoveva Marti - 2014 - In Edouard Machery & Elizabeth O’Neill (eds.), Current Controversies in Experimental Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 17-26.
    Experimental semanticists have concluded that there is wide variation in referential intuitions among speakers, for it appears that some speakers display referential intuitions that are in line with descriptivism, whereas other speakers’ intuitions are in line with the predictions of the causal-historical picture. In this chapter, I first situate the debate by comparing descriptivist and non-descriptivist approaches to reference. After examining some of the experimental results, I argue that the tests conducted do not elicit data that are relevant for semantic (...)
  35. Empirical Data and the Theory of Reference.Genoveva Marti - 2012 - In William P. Kabasenche, Michael O'Rourke & Matthew H. Slater (eds.), Reference and Referring. Topics in Contemporary Philosophy. MIT Press. pp. 63-82.
    This paper is an extended response to Machery, Olivola and De Blanc (2009). I argue that the concerns I raised about Machery, Mallon, Nichols and Stich (2004) in Marti (2009) still stand.
  36. Against Semantic Multi-Culturalism.Genoveva Marti - 2009 - Analysis 69 (1):42-48.
    E. Machery, R. Mallon, S. Nichols and S. Stich, have argued that there is empirical evidence against Kripke’s claim that names are not descriptive. Their argument is based on an experiment that compares the intuitions about proper name use of a group of English speakers in Hong Kong with those of a group of non-Chinese American students. The results of the experiment suggest that in some cultures speakers use names descriptively. I argue that such a conclusion is incorrect, for the (...)
  37. Experiments on Aristotle's Thesis: Towards an Experimental Philosophy of Conditionals.Niki Pfeifer - 2012 - The Monist 95 (2):223-240.
    Two experiments (N1 = 141, N2 = 40) investigate two versions of Aristotle’s Thesis for the first time. Aristotle’s Thesis is a negated conditional, which consists of one propositional variable with a negation either in the antecedent (version 1) or in the consequent (version 2). This task allows to infer if people interpret indicative conditionals as material conditionals or as conditional events. In the first experiment I investigate between-participants the two versions of Aristotle’s Thesis crossed with abstract versus concrete task (...)
  38. Proceedings of the 7 T H Workshop on Uncertainty Processing.Niki Pfeifer & G. D. Kleiter - 2006
    Nonmonotonic conditionals (A |∼ B) are formalizations of common sense expressions of the form “if A, normally B”. The nonmonotonic conditional is interpreted by a “high” coherent conditional probability, P(B|A) > .5. Two important properties are closely related to the nonmonotonic conditional: First, A |∼ B allows for exceptions. Second, the rules of the nonmonotonic system p guiding A |∼ B allow for withdrawing conclusions in the light of new premises. This study reports a series of three experiments on reasoning (...)
  39. Experimental Pragmatics: An Introduction for Philosophers.Mark Phelan - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (1):66-79.
    In the past several decades, psychologists and linguists have begun experimentally investigating linguistic pragmatic phenomena. They share the assumption that the best way to study the use of language in context incorporates an experimental methodology, here understood to comprise controlled studies and careful field observations. This article surveys some key projects in experimental pragmatics and relates these projects to ongoing philosophical discussions.
  40. The Inadequacy of Paraphrase is the Dogma of Metaphor.Mark Phelan - 2010 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (4):481-506.
    Philosophers have alleged that paraphrases of metaphors are inadequate. They have presented this inadequacy as a datum predicted by, and thus a reason to accept, particular accounts of ‘metaphorical meanings.’ But to what, specifically, does this inadequacy claim amount? I argue that, if this assumption is to have any bearing on the metaphor debate, it must be construed as the comparative claim that paraphrases of metaphors are inadequate compared to paraphrases of literal utterances. But the evidence philosophers have offered does (...)
  41. The Meaning of 'Most': Semantics, Numerosity and Psychology.Paul Pietroski, Jeffrey Lidz, Tim Hunter & Justin Halberda - 2009 - Mind and Language 24 (5):554-585.
    The meaning of 'most' can be described in many ways. We offer a framework for distinguishing semantic descriptions, interpreted as psychological hypotheses that go beyond claims about sentential truth conditions, and an experiment that tells against an attractive idea: 'most' is understood in terms of one-to-one correspondence. Adults evaluated 'Most of the dots are yellow', as true or false, on many trials in which yellow dots and blue dots were displayed for 200 ms. Displays manipulated the ease of using a (...)
  42. Conceptual Distinctions Amongst Generics.Sandeep Prasada, Sangeet Khemlani, Sarah-Jane Leslie & Sam Glucksberg - 2013 - Cognition 126 (3):405-422.
    Generic sentences (e.g., bare plural sentences such as “dogs have four legs” and “mosquitoes carry malaria”) are used to talk about kinds of things. Three experiments investigated the conceptual foundations of generics as well as claims within the formal semantic approaches to generics concerning the roles of prevalence, cue validity and normalcy in licensing generics. Two classes of generic sentences that pose challenges to both the conceptually based and formal semantic approaches to generics were investigated. Striking property generics (e.g. “sharks (...)
  43. Contradictions at the Borders.David Ripley - 2011 - In Rick Nouwen, Robert van Rooij, Uli Sauerland & Hans-Christian Schmitz (eds.), Vagueness in Communication. Springer. pp. 169--188.
    The purpose of this essay is to shed some light on a certain type of sentence, which I call a borderline contradiction. A borderline contradiction is a sentence of the form F a ∧ ¬F a, for some vague predicate F and some borderline case a of F , or a sentence equivalent to such a sentence. For example, if Jackie is a borderline case of ‘rich’, then ‘Jackie is rich and Jackie isn’t rich’ is a borderline contradiction. Many theories (...)
  44. Psychological Studies of Quantifiers.Anthony J. Sanford, Linda M. Moxey & Kevin Paterson - 1994 - Journal of Semantics 11 (3):153-170.
    In this paper we present a summary review of recent psychological studies which make a contribution to an understanding of how quantifiers are used. Until relatively recently, the contribution which psychology has made has been somewhat restricted. For example, the approach which has enjoyed the greatest popularity in psychology is explaining quantifiers as expressions which have fuzzy or vague projections on to mental scales of amount. Following Moxey & Sanford (1993a), this view is questioned. Experimental work is summarized showing that (...)
  45. Vagueness, Logic and Use: Four Experimental Studies on Vagueness.Phil Serchuk, Ian Hargreaves & Richard Zach - 2011 - Mind and Language 26 (5):540-573.
    Although arguments for and against competing theories of vagueness often appeal to claims about the use of vague predicates by ordinary speakers, such claims are rarely tested. An exception is Bonini et al. (1999), who report empirical results on the use of vague predicates by Italian speakers, and take the results to count in favor of epistemicism. Yet several methodological difficulties mar their experiments; we outline these problems and devise revised experiments that do not show the same results. We then (...)
  46. Syntax and Intentionality: An Automatic Link Between Language and Theory-of-Mind.Brent Strickland, Matthew Fisher, Frank Keil & Joshua Knobe - 2014 - Cognition 133 (1):249–261.
    Three studies provided evidence that syntax influences intentionality judgments. In Experiment 1, participants made either speeded or unspeeded intentionality judgments about ambiguously intentional subjects or objects. Participants were more likely to judge grammatical subjects as acting intentionally in the speeded relative to the reflective condition (thus showing an intentionality bias), but grammatical objects revealed the opposite pattern of results (thus showing an unintentionality bias). In Experiment 2, participants made an intentionality judgment about one of the two actors in a partially (...)
  47. Meaning and Context in Children's Understanding of Gradable Adjectives.K. Syrett, C. Kennedy & J. Lidz - 2010 - Journal of Semantics 27 (1):1-35.
    This paper explores what children and adults know about three specific ways that meaning and context interact: the interpretation of expressions whose extensions vary in different contexts ; conditions on the felicitous use of expressions in a discourse context and informative uses of expressions in contexts in which they strictly speaking do not apply. The empirical focus is the use of unmodified gradable adjectives in definite descriptions to distinguish between two objects that differ in the degree to which they possess (...)
  48. Experimental Evidence for the Truth Conditional Contribution and Shifting Information Status of Appositives.Kristen Syrett & Todor Koev - 2015 - Journal of Semantics 32 (3):525-577.
  49. Modals with a Taste of the Deontic.Zoltán Gendler Szabó & Joshua Knobe - 2013 - Semantics and Pragmatics 6 (1):1-42.
    The aim of this paper is to present an explanation for the impact of normative considerations on people’s assessment of certain seemingly purely descriptive matters. The explanation is based on two main claims. First, a large category of expressions are tacitly modal: they are contextually equivalent to modal proxies. Second, the interpretation of predominantly circumstantial or teleological modals is subject to certain constraints which make certain possibilities salient at the expense of others.
  50. Differences in the Evaluation of Generic Statements About Human and Non‐Human Categories.Arber Tasimi, Susan Gelman, Andrei Cimpian & Joshua Knobe - 2017 - Cognitive Science 41 (7):1934-1957.
    Generic statements express generalizations about categories. Current theories suggest that people should be especially inclined to accept generics that involve threatening information. However, previous tests of this claim have focused on generics about non-human categories, which raises the question of whether this effect applies as readily to human categories. In Experiment 1, adults were more likely to accept generics involving a threatening property for artifacts, but this negativity bias did not also apply to human categories. Experiment 2 examined an alternative (...)