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Did People in the Middle Ages Know that the Earth Was Flat?

Colonna Dahlman, Roberta LU (2015) In Acta Analytica
Abstract
The goal of this paper is to explore the presuppositionality of factive verbs, with special emphasis on the verbs know and regret. The hypothesis put forward here is that the factivity related to know and the factivity related to regret are two different phenomena, as the former is a semantic implication (an entailment) that is licensed by the conventional meaning of know, while the latter is a purely pragmatic phenomenon that arises conversationally. More specifically, it is argued that know is factive in the sense that it both entails and (pragmatically) presupposes p, while regret is factive in the sense that it only (pragmatically) presupposes p. In a recent article, Hazlett (2010) shows with authentic examples how know is used... (More)
The goal of this paper is to explore the presuppositionality of factive verbs, with special emphasis on the verbs know and regret. The hypothesis put forward here is that the factivity related to know and the factivity related to regret are two different phenomena, as the former is a semantic implication (an entailment) that is licensed by the conventional meaning of know, while the latter is a purely pragmatic phenomenon that arises conversationally. More specifically, it is argued that know is factive in the sense that it both entails and (pragmatically) presupposes p, while regret is factive in the sense that it only (pragmatically) presupposes p. In a recent article, Hazlett (2010) shows with authentic examples how know is used non-factively in ordinary language, and he observes in these examples, as he says, “a threat to Factivity”. I argue that non-factive uses of factive verbs, such as know and regret, far from being a threat to factivity, show that, on the one hand, know is ambiguous between a factive and a non-factive sense; on the other hand, in the case of regret, the presupposition of factivity has to be intended as a merely pragmatic implication which can be suspended by the speaker herself. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
in press
subject
keywords
Factivity, Know, Regret, Entailment, Pragmatic Presupposition, Presupposition cancellation, Ambiguity
in
Acta Analytica
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • scopus:84940523043
  • wos:000373639200002
ISSN
0353-5150
DOI
10.1007/s12136-015-0269-5
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
242f44c9-ca58-4219-8296-c0fcb0494f5e (old id 8051775)
date added to LUP
2015-10-07 08:46:58
date last changed
2017-01-01 03:43:06
@article{242f44c9-ca58-4219-8296-c0fcb0494f5e,
  abstract     = {The goal of this paper is to explore the presuppositionality of factive verbs, with special emphasis on the verbs know and regret. The hypothesis put forward here is that the factivity related to know and the factivity related to regret are two different phenomena, as the former is a semantic implication (an entailment) that is licensed by the conventional meaning of know, while the latter is a purely pragmatic phenomenon that arises conversationally. More specifically, it is argued that know is factive in the sense that it both entails and (pragmatically) presupposes p, while regret is factive in the sense that it only (pragmatically) presupposes p. In a recent article, Hazlett (2010) shows with authentic examples how know is used non-factively in ordinary language, and he observes in these examples, as he says, “a threat to Factivity”. I argue that non-factive uses of factive verbs, such as know and regret, far from being a threat to factivity, show that, on the one hand, know is ambiguous between a factive and a non-factive sense; on the other hand, in the case of regret, the presupposition of factivity has to be intended as a merely pragmatic implication which can be suspended by the speaker herself.},
  author       = {Colonna Dahlman, Roberta},
  issn         = {0353-5150},
  keyword      = {Factivity,Know,Regret,Entailment,Pragmatic Presupposition,Presupposition cancellation,Ambiguity},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Acta Analytica},
  title        = {Did People in the Middle Ages Know that the Earth Was Flat?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12136-015-0269-5},
  year         = {2015},
}