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Emar Maier (Groningen)

Accomodating Narrators

We propose to analyze well-known cases of "imaginative resistance" from the philosophical literature (Gendler, Walton, Weatherson) as involving the inference that particular content should be attributed to either: (i) a character rather than the narrator or, (ii) an unreliable, irrational, opinionated, and/or morally deviant "first person" narrator who was originally perceived to be a typical impersonal, omniscient, "effaced" narrator. We model the latter type of attribution in terms of two independently motivated linguistic mechanisms: accommodation of a discourse referent (Lewis, Stalnaker, Kamp) and 'cautious' updating as a model of non-cooperative information exchange (Eckardt).

 

(This talk is based on joint work in progress with Daniel Altshuler (UMass/Hampshire))