26.2224, Qs: The additional sense of the verb know

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LINGUIST List: Vol-26-2224. Mon Apr 27 2015. ISSN: 1069 - 4875.

Subject: 26.2224, Qs: The additional sense of the verb know

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Date: Mon, 27 Apr 2015 21:06:25
From: Seiichi MYOGA [st_myoga at i.gmobb.jp]
Subject: The additional sense of the verb know

Dear Linguists,

Let me ask about something mentioned in Lawler (1973). Lawler says that (1)
has an 'additional sense,' although he doesn't state directly what it is. 

(1) Anybody knows he did it. (p.47 e.g.(36))

According to Lawler, the verb 'know,' unlike other factive verbs, has a modal
concealed somewhere in its meaning that makes it possible for the verb to take
'anybody' as its subject.

(2) a. Anybody can do that.
b. *Anybody realizes (is sorry, surprised, happy) he did it. 
(cited from e.g. (34) and (38) respectively at p.48)

Lawler only tells you that you can derive this 'additional sense' from analogy
with (3a) or equally with (3b). 

(3) a. Anybody knows how to do that. 
b. Anybody will tell you he did it.

The first approximation I tried was:

(4) (Ask anybody and) they will tell you he did it.
(4) got one affirmative vote, but I'd like to have a second opinion to ensure
that we are on the right track. I revised (4) as follows:
(5) Anybody can tell you he did it.

What do you think? Any comments are welcome. 

Seiichi MYOGA

Normally, 'S knows that p' entails 'S knows whether p.' But in this case,
'Anybody knows whether he did it' doesn't seem to work. In other words, the
speaker seems to know whether he did it. If so, the sense at issue could be
something like 'Everyone except you knows he did it (Ask anybody, and you'll
know I'm telling the truth).

The triplet of 'state,' 'believe' and 'know' seems to be able to coexist. You
can paraphrase (i) as (ii). It seems possible as well to use 'state' or 'know'
instead of 'believe.'

(i) It has rained, because the ground is wet.
(ii) The reason I believe it has rained is that the ground is wet.

My current interest is largely in the relation between 'state' and 'know.'
Having enough knowledge is having enough evidence to assert something (I state
p because I know p).

If (5) works, I will use it to define the idea of 'the speaker's commitment.'
If you just utter p, p may mean 'I state p,' 'I believe p' or 'I know p.' But
you can only add 'but q' in a way that both p and q are compatible with each
other, if you know p. Put differently, you are now committed to the truth of

If well defined, I believe the idea of the speaker's commitment helps us
distinguish epistemic modality from alethic modality on the one hand, and
objective epistemic modality from subjective epistemic modality on the other

(iii) a. *It isn't raining in Chicago, but it may be raining there.
cf. {I think /* I know} it isn't raining in Chicago, but it may be raining
(Kartunnen 1972:3-4)

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

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