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Subject Obviation as a Semantic Failure: a Preliminary Account

Francesco Costantini    Università degli Studi di Udine, Italia    

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abstract

Subject obviation in subjunctive clauses has drawn attention in the field of formal linguistics since the early eighties. Despite an abundant literature on the phenomenon, obviation still remains in many respects mysterious. This article explores a different approach to the phenomenon, whereby obviation can be accounted for by resorting to the notion of self-knowledge, as generally conceived in the field of philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. Under the view proposed here, obviation is caused by a clash between the semantic characteristics of the attitude predicate and those of the embedded clause. Particularly, it is suggested that obviation obtains if and only if an embedded clause expresses self-knowledge.

Published
Sept. 30, 2016
Accepted
Aug. 31, 2016
Submitted
April 12, 2016
Language
EN

Keywords: ObviationLinguisticsSubjunctive clausesSelf-knowledge

Copyright: © 2016 Francesco Costantini. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.