Chapter

Perspective in Taste Predicates and Epistemic Modals

Jonathan Schaffer

in Epistemic Modality

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199591596
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729027 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199591596.003.0007
Perspective in Taste Predicates and Epistemic Modals

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What role, if any, does perspective play in sentences involving taste predicates or epistemic modals? This chapter argues that taste predicates like ‘tasty’ and ‘fun’ project syntactically real experiencer arguments, which specify the perspective at issue. The perspective may be specified explicitly, but when the perspective is not specified explicitly it is supplied by the context. The chapter also argues that modals like ‘might’ and ‘must’ feature restrictor arguments in logical form, which specify the perspective at issue. The restrictor may be specified explicitly, but when it is not, it is supplied by the context. The chapter thus defends the view — which is labelled here as meaning perspectivalism — on which perspective plays a semantic role with respect to the proposition expressed by sentences with taste predicates or epistemic modals. And the version of meaning perspectivalism that is defended here is contextualist. Meaning perspectivalism contrasts with truth perspectivalism (including truth relativism), on which perspective does not necessarily factor into the proposition expressed, but rather plays a role later in the semantic machinery, in truth evaluation.

Keywords: taste predicates; epistemic modals; perspectivalism; contextualism; relativism

Chapter.  21857 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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