Sunday, April 30, 2006

Disquotational tests for ambiguity

The tests for context sensitivity in Cappelen and Lepore's Insensitive Semantics involve disquotational indirect speech reports of the form 'X said that S'. Is there anything special about 'says that' that makes it better to use than any other attitude verb? What about 'thinks that' or 'believes that'? This is kind of tricky because I'm not sure if any propositional attitutde ascriptions can come out true on C&L's theory. For example, even if I say 'It is raining', I don't believe that it is raining (full stop). I believe it is raining here, e.g. It seems that they want to use 'says that' because it is, at least prima facie, the most relevant verb for the notion of what is said. It doesn't seem to generalize to other kinds of reports though. What exactly is 'says that' tracking that 'believes that' isn't?

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