|Description||Patrick Muñoz will be giving a talk titled "Acquaintance inferences are evidential effects" |
Certain adjectives (fun, beautiful) give rise in predicative assertions to implications that the speaker has had direct experience of the predicated object, of a particular sort determined by the lexical semantics of the adjective (Pearson 2013, Klecha 2013), and which systematically differ from direct experience presuppositions triggered by dativus iudicantis PPs (to me, for her) and and subjective attitude verbs (find). I show that the former ‘acquaintance inferences’ are also triggered by deverbal psych adjectives (interesting, terrifying) and sensory raising verbs (look, sound). Pace Ninan (2014), I argue that these effects are not epistemic but evidential: in languages without grammaticized evidentiality, bare assertion allows for direct or indirect evidential source, except with respect to a restricted class of experiential predicates and operators, which (defeasibly) require a direct source. I show how direct evidence of the asserted propositions entails experience of a specific sort if these expressions are analyzed as having a particular experiential lexical semantics, and offer a game-theoretic hypothesis as to why experiential lexical semantics triggers pragmatic restriction to direct evidential source. I further claim this as evidence that all languages are systematically sensitive to the direct/indirect distinction, even if it isn’t grammaticized.