Semantics of propositional attitudes

Amy Rose Deal (

Propositional attitude reports often give rise to multiple readings: de dicto, de re, de se. In this course, we will investigate the compositional semantics of attitudes with an eye to understanding what these readings are and how they can come about, cross-linguistically. This means we will be investigating the meaning (and to some extent the syntax) of sentences like (1)-(3), along with their counterparts in other languages (where, indeed, we will spend most of our time):

(1) Mary thinks that a unicorn is in the garden.
(2) Mary thinks that the dog is a wolf.
(3) Mary thinks that she will win the race.
Two phenomena outside of English will be of special interest: dedicated proleptic verbs and shifty indexicals. We will see that proleptic verbs provide a way of disambiguating in favor of a de re reading and that shifty indexicals provide the same for de se readings (though only to a limited extent).
Note that this course will last slightly longer than a week — 6 days instead of 5.

 Schedule (which may be modified as we go on):

1. Foundations. Hintikka on the semantics of propositional attitudes. The de re/de dicto ambiguity. Is de re a simple matter of scope? Double vision. Third readings.
2. Compositional paths to de re: movement and concept generators.
3. Dedicated de re attitude reports: a view from prolepsis and covert raising to object (in Nez Perce).
4. Attitudes de se: a special case of de re? Anand on multiple routes to de se. Case study: indexical shift in Nez Perce.
5. Indexical shift crosslinguistically: a constrained typology. Operator stacking. De se and non-de se operators.
6. First-person logophors vs. shifty indexicals: how can we tell them apart? Apparent indexical shift in languages with overt/null asymmetries.