Chapter 10 Belief and Performativity

In: Aspects of Tenses, Modality, and Evidentiality
Alda Mari
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The intimate relation between speech acts and attitudes is understood as a reduction of speech acts to attitudinal meaning. In this paper we develop a different view, whereby attitudes are enriched with performative meaning. Focusing on belief verbs in Italian, we show that, when subjunctive is selected, the attitude adds an indication that a preference for the truthfulness of the prejacent is to be added to the common ground. The analysis we propose thus revisits belief verbs embedding a subjunctive prejacent as posing a question rather than as describing an internal state of credence as generally assumed.

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