Our final colloquium of the semester is coming up this Friday! The talk will be given by Dr. Angelika Kratzer (UMass) on Friday, March 16th at 3:30pm at the Trottier Building, room 2120.

Title: How to build a knowledge ascription


Attitude ascriptions are a litmus test for any semantic theory. They were at the center of discussion when philosophers and logicians became interested in natural language and began to develop the semantic frameworks we are relying on today. Mastery of attitude ascriptions is a milestone in the cognitive development of a child and the human species as a whole. 

My lectures will be a search for the building blocks of knowledge ascriptions. The goal – like that of any semantic theory – is a typology where the combinatorics of building blocks generates the range of possible interpretations of the constructions we are trying to understand.

Knowledge ascriptions have traditionally been taken to look as in (1) or (2). I will argue that we might be well-advised to include knowledge ascriptions like those in (3), which are traditionally referred to as ‘concealed questions’.

(1)  They know that Wim Wenders directed ‘Wings of Desire’.

(2)  They know who directed ‘Wings of Desire’.

(3)  They know the director of ‘Wings of Desire’.

I will argue that (3), rather than (1) or (2), point to a general recipe for how to build knowledge ascriptions of all types from their parts.