Epistemic Resistance Moves

Justin Bledin, Kyle Rawlins


This paper introduces and analyzes a new kind of non-acceptance, non-disagreeing move: resistance. We focus in particular on attention-targeted resistance facilitated by epistemic possibility claims. In this response type, we suggest, an agent draws attention to some subsidiary issue that they think might cause an interlocutor to withdraw a previous commitment. We develop a granularity model of attention where drawing attention in discourse can refine the space of possibilities under consideration and consequently lead to changes in view.

Full Text:



van Benthem, Johan & Fenrong Liu. 2007. Dynamic logic of preference upgrade. Journal of Applied Non-Classical Logics 17(2). 157–182.

van Benthem, Johan & Stefan Minica ̆. 2012. Toward a dynamic logic of questions. Journal of Philosophical Logic 41(4). 633–669.

Ciardelli, Ivano, Jeroen Groenendijk & Floris Roelofsen. 2009. Attention! Might in inquisitive semantics. In Proceedings of salt 19, 91–108.

Ciardelli, Ivano, Jeroen Groenendijk & Floris Roelofsen. 2014. Information, is- sues, and attention. In Daniel Gutzmann, Jan

Köpping & Cécile Meier (eds.), Approaches to meaning: Composition, values, and interpretation, 128–166. Brill.

Ciardelli, Ivano & Floris Roelofson. 2015. Inquisitive dynamic epistemic logic. Synthese 192(6). 1643–1687.

Fagin, Ronald, Joseph Y. Halpern, Yoram Moses & Moshe Y. Vardi. 1995. Reasoning about knowledge. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Farkas, Donka & Kim Bruce. 2010. On reacting to assertions and polar questions. Journal of Semantics 27(1). 81–118.

Franke, Michael & Tikitu de Jager. 2010. Now that you mention it: Awareness dynamics in discourse and decisions. In Anton Benz, Christian Ebert, Gerhard Jäger & Robert van Rooij (eds.), Language, games, and evolution, 60–91. Springer.

Fritz, Peter & Harvey Lederman. 2015. Standard state space models of unawareness. In Proceedings of tark xv: Fifteenth conference on theoretical aspects of rationality and knowledge, 163–172.

Gerbrandy, Jelle & Willem Groeneveld. 1997. Reasoning about information change. Journal of Logic, Language, and Information 6(2). 147–169.

Ginzburg, Jonathan. 1996. Dynamics and the semantics of dialogue. In Jerry Seligman & Dag Westerstähl (eds.), Logic, language, and computation, vol. 1 (csli lecture notes 58), 221–237. CSLI Publications.

Ginzburg, Jonathan. 1998. Clarifying utterances. In J. H. Hulstijn & Anton Ni- jholt (eds.), Proceedings of the twente workshop on the formal semantics and pragmatics of dialogue, 11–30.

Ginzburg, Jonathan. 2012. The interactive stance: Meaning for conversation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Groenendijk, Jeroen. 1999. The logic of interrogation. In Proceedings of salt 9, 109–126.

Groenendijk, Jeroen & Martin Stokhof. 1984. Studies on the semantics of questions and the pragmatics of answers: University of Amsterdam dissertation.

Gunlogson, Christine. 2008. A question of commitment. Belgian Journal of Linguistics 22. 101–136.

Heim, Irene. 1982. The semantics of definite and indefinite noun phrases: University

of Massachusetts, Amherst dissertation.

Heim, Irene. 1983. On the projection problem for presuppositions. In Michael

Barlow, Daniel Flickinger & Michael Wescoat (eds.), Wccfl 2: Second annual

west coast conference on formal linguistics, 114–125. Stanford University.

Hill, Christopher S. & Joshua Schechter.

Hawthorne’s lottery puzzle and the

nature of belief. Philosophical Issues 17(1). 102–122.

Hulstijn, Joris. 2000. Dialogue models for inquiry and transaction: University of

Twente dissertation.

Isaacs, James & Kyle Rawlins. 2008. Conditional questions. Journal of Semantics

(3). 269–319.

de Jager, Tikitu. 2009. Awareness, attention, assumption: University of Amsterdam


Kaufmann, Stefan. 2000. Dynamic context management. In Martina Faller, Stefan

Kaufmann & Marc Pauly (eds.), Formalizing the dynamics of information,

Stanford, CA: CSLI.

Khoo, Justin. 2015. Modal disagreements. Inquiry 58(5). 511–534.

Klecha, Peter. 2014. Bridging the divide: Scalarity and modality: University of

Chicago dissertation.

Kooi, Barteld & Bryan Renne. 2011. Arrow update logic. The Review of Symbolic

Logic 4(4). 536–559.

Kvanvig, Jonathan. 2009. Assertion, knowledge, and lotteries. In Duncan Pritchard &

Patrick Greenough (eds.), Williamson on knowledge, 140–160. Oxford University


Lackey, Jennifer. 2007. Norms of assertion. Noûs 41(4). 594–626.

Lewis, David. 1979. Scorekeeping in a language game. Journal of Philosophical

Logic 8(3). 339–359.

Lewis, David. 1988. Statements partly about observation. Philosophical Papers

(1). 1–31.

McCarthy, John. 1980. Circumscription – a form of non-monotonic reasoning.

Artificial Intelligence 13. 27–39.

Plaza, Jan A. 2004. Logics of public communication. In Proceedings of international

symposium on methodologies for intelligent systems 4: Poster session program,


Rawlins, Kyle. 2010. Conversational backoff. In Proceedings of salt 20, 347–365.

Roberts, Craige. 1996. Information structure in discourse: Towards an integrated

formal theory of pragmatics. In Jae Hak Yoon & Andreas Kathol (eds.), OSUWPL

vol. 49: Papers in semantics, vol. 49, Ohio State University.

Roberts, Craige. 2012. Information structure in discourse: Towards an integrated

formal theory of pragmatics. Semantics & Pragmatics 5(6). 1–69.

Roelofsen, Floris. 2011. Information and attention. Unpublished manuscript, ILLC. Roelofsen, Floris.

A bare bone attentive semantics for Might. In Maria

Aloni, Michael Franke & Floris Roelofsen (eds.), The dynamic, inquisitive, and visionary life of φ, ?φ, and ♦φ: a festschrift for Jeroen Groenendijk, Martin Stokhof, and Frank Veltman, 190–215. ILLC.

Searle, John. 1969. Speech acts: An essay in the philosophy of language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Stalnaker, Robert. 1978. Assertion. In P. Cole (ed.), Syntax and semantics 9: Pragmatics, 315–332. Academic Press.

Stalnaker, Robert. 1984. Inquiry. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Stalnaker, Robert. 2002. Common ground. Linguistics and Philosophy 25. 701–721. Stalnaker, Robert. 2014. Context. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Veltman, Frank. 1996. Defaults in update semantics. Journal of Philosophical Logic

(3). 221–261.

Weiner, Matthew. 2005. Must we know what we say? Philosophical Review 114(2).


Williamson, Timothy. 1996. Knowing and asserting. Philosophical Review 105(4).


Williamson, Timothy. 2000. Knowledge and its limits. Oxford: Oxford University


Yablo, Stephen. 2014. Aboutness. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Yalcin, Seth. 2008. Modality and inquiry: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Ph.D. dissertation.

Yalcin, Seth. 2011. Nonfactualism about epistemic modality. In Andy Egan & Brian

Weatherson (eds.), Epistemic modality, 295–332. Oxford University Press.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/salt.v26i0.3812

Copyright (c) 2016 Justin Bledin, Kyle Rawlins