We are happy to announce a talk by Emil Eva Rosina (Bochum) in the Semantics Colloquium.

The talk will take place on campus in IG 4.301.
If you wish to participate virtually via Zoom, please contact Lennart Fritzsche for the link.

Date: June 27, 2024

Time: 4 pm – 6 pm ct

Title: Pragmatics in experiments on remembering as a gate to epistemology

In this talk, I present for the first time in a talk format the results of six experiments on memory reports and discuss the results with regard to Kristina Liefke’s and my semantics of German ‘noch wissen, dass/wie’ (lit. ‘still know that/how’). Our semantics predicts that “remembering how” requires better evidence than “remembering that”. My experimental data suggests an even broader phenomenon of experientiality in memory reports, confirming also the unacceptability of ‘Blue remembers Grandma swimming in the sea’ when Blue did not personally experience the swimming. For the case of ‘dass’/’that’ complements in the same situation (so concerning the question whether indirect experiencers remember at all), the results depend heavily on the study format. Our semantics predicts acceptability, possibly blurred by pragmatic competition. I suggest that different kinds of pragmatic effects interact differently depending on the study format, and that this poses a circularity challenge for experimental methodology.
The second lesson from the investigation of my experiments as support for our semantics is that a specific opposing claim is hard or impossible to falsify: Our semantics predicts that experientiality (i.e. the requirement that one must have directly experienced an event in order to “remember how”) is only a pragmatic inference from what we consider good evidence. Alternatively, experientiality can be written directly into the semantics. However, experience and evidence are in practice so connected that examples that would show cancellability involve counterfactual human cognition. I put forth an internalist interpretation of our semantics that predicts that biases about other people’s reliability intervene between truth-conditions and experimental results.