The Problem with Attitudes

Dissertation, Princeton University (1996)

Jennifer Saul
University of Sheffield
In this dissertation, I argue that no account of propositional attitude reporting which does not include a significant degree of context-sensitivity can succeed in accommodating our intuitions about the truth conditions of such reports. Next, I argue that there are two general problems to be faced by any context-sensitive theory of attitude ascription, whether semantic or pragmatic. First, any theory which preserves our intuitions about which inference schemas are valid will violate our intuitions about truth conditions of particular attitude reports. Second, all theories which depend upon speaker intentions and audience interests to supply the contextually-determined element will yield incorrect truth conditions for what attitude reports convey . I propose an alternative source for contextually-supplied elements: speaker dispositions. Speaker dispositions, I argue, succeed in securing the right truth conditions for the cases that speaker intentions could not handle. However, I suggest, they also point to a very different way of thinking about the way that communication takes place
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Understanding Belief Reports.David Braun - 1998 - Philosophical Review 107 (4):555-595.

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