24.910 Topics in Linguistic Theory: Propositional Attitudes

As taught in: Spring 2009

Drawing of a bald king of France with the sentence 'The king of France is bald' written underneath. This is a simple sentence that can illustrate presupposition, assertion, and common ground.

"The king of France is bald." This sentence presupposes, "France has a king (and only one)," and asserts, "He's bald." The common ground includes "France has exactly one king," and "The speaker believes that the one king of France is bald." Learn more from lecture note 9 in the lecture notes. (Image by MIT OpenCourseWare.)




Dr. Tamina Stephenson

Course Features

Course Description

This course explores topics related to the representation and expression of propositional attitudes (e.g. belief, knowledge, and desires) and speech acts (e.g. saying and asking) in natural language. The main focus will be on semantics of predicates such as believe, know, want, say, ask, etc. Other topics will include the syntax of main and embedded clauses and formal representation of the pragmatics of conversation. The course provides practice in written and oral communication.