The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LingPhil Reading Group 12/07 (Friday 1pm) – Ninan on Ninan (2012) (from last week)

Dilip Ninan (Tufts University)’s talk about his 2012 paper Counterfactual attitudes and multi-centered worlds has been reported to this week.
Please join us on Friday 7th at 1pm in the 8th floor seminar room.
*Exceptionally, it is preferrable to have read the paper beforehand.*

Title : Counterfactual attitudes and multi-centered worlds

Author(s) : Dilip Ninan

Abstract :

Counterfactual attitudes like imagining, dreaming, and wishing create a problem for the standard formal semantic theory of de re attitude ascriptions. I show how the problem can be avoided if we represent an agent’s attitudinal possibilities using multi-centered worlds, possible worlds with multiple distinguished individuals, each of which represents an individual with whom the agent is acquainted. I then present a compositional semantics for de re ascriptions according to which singular terms are assignment-sensitive expressions and attitude verbs are assignment shifters.