Volume 17, 2002
Semantic Theory and Reported Speech
Reports and Imagination
The following thesis will be discussed and defended:
An attitude ascription is an empathetic exercise resting on our, more general, imaginative faculty. Sentences of natural language are the best medium we have to classify someone’s mental life.The sentence used to classify one’s mental state is the one the reporter would use to express the attributee’s mental state if the reporter were in the attributee’s situation. A report of the form “A believes/desires/wishes/… that p” captures the attributee’s (A) mental life inasmuch as it conveys the sentence the reporter would use to express her mental state if the latter were in A’s situation.