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The semantics and the pragmatics of predicates of personal taste

Grant number: 14/17359-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2014
Effective date (End): November 30, 2016
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics - Linguistic Theory and Analysis
Principal researcher:Renato Miguel Basso
Grantee:Marina Nishimoto Marques
Home Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


In his paper "Context dependence, disagreement, and predicates of personal taste" (2005), Peter Lasersohn draws attention to the semantics of certain predicates related to the spearker's personal taste. To the author, the main problem of those predicates is the fact that they generate, between the speakers, disagreements on which one directly denies what the other says and yet nobody is uttering something false: this phenomenon is known as faultless disagreement. The faultless disagreement was already studied before, only not in relation with said predicates of personal taste, but in relation to the so-called "vague predicates" which are predicates that involve some kind of subjectivity in their semantic computing. The difference between the latter and the predicates of personal taste lays on the fact that there is in the interpretation of vague predicates, in principle, the presence of objectively verifiable aspects, while the predicates of personal taste involve only subjective aspects (in other words, aspects that can't be empirically verified), and, therefore, can always generate faultless disagreement. That being said, the intention of this project is to focus on the predicates of personal taste and investigate how the literature semantically solves the problems generated by those kinds of construction - especially the faultless disagreement - and, after that, to link those predicates to the theories about the indexicals, as the predicates of personal taste are intrinsically connected to a speaker/agent. Our goal is to analyze two types of theories about those predicates, the ones that do and the ones that do not involve a judge parameter in their semantic computing, and also to analyze which kinds of predicate generate faultless disagreements and how to isolate them from other predicates.

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