Kristina Liefke, Ruhr-Universität Bochum: Parasitic attitudes, factivity variation, and "imagine whether"

19.05., 16 -- 18h in K.11.07

Abstract

Representational counterfactual attitude verbs (e.g. imagine, dream, hallucinate) typically reject whether-complements. My talk traces the source of this rejection. I argue that the difference between imagine whether (?) and remember whether (ok) is explained through (i) the parasitic dependence of the matrix attitude on an experience and through (ii) a ‘decidedness assumption’ (i.e. ‘q is true') in the classical interpretation of whether p (i.e. ‘q is true and [q = p or q = ¬p]'). I observe that whether-clauses are only found when all constituents of the complement are interpreted at the same 'veridical experience'-alternative (as is often the case for remember, but rarely for imagine). I give a compositional semantics that captures this restriction.