May 04, 2004

Just So You Know the Reasons for Light Posting....

Back from the INPC which was pure conferency goodness. I won't try to pick highlights--every paper I saw was excellent--but I do think that Brian is on to a good principle, namely that the best papers are given by people who have taught at Utah.

Anyway, posting has been light because the last couple of times I sat down to blog actual live people came into my office and I went off with them. And now my Interweb connection is down and I'm posting this from the office of someone who will probably want her computer back. In the meantime, go read this post of Brian's on constructions in which "know" takes direct objects. I had also been thinking about these during Jonathan Schaffer's talk (though not directly relevant to his points!). In particular, I'd like to post in a bit about the following kinds of constructions:

(1) Alice knows the facts concerning Jane's legal case.

(2) Alice knows Jane's reputation.

(1) may be of particular interest because knowing a fact is, well, knowing a fact. If (1) turns out to have a different kind of syntax from

(3) Alice knows that Jane is being sued by Sarah

that indicates either that the syntax isn't a good guide to the kind of knowledge at issue or that knowledge-that isn't knowledge of facts. (Jonathan might well opt for the second option!)

Also, remember that in "Alice knows Jane" "knows" expresses a relation that is more or less symmetric. This (to my mind) provides evidence that knowledge of people is a different kind of knowledge from knowledge of other objects, even if they turn out to have similar syntax.

[UPDATE: I just noticed that one of the commentors on the relations post was at the INPC. Belated greetings, if you're reading this! Conference pictures here.]

Posted by Matt Weiner at May 4, 2004 06:51 PM