Department of Linguistics
University of Chicago
Two Sources of Subjectivity: Qualitative Assessment and Dimensional Uncertainty
This paper examines the use of scalar adjectives in two contexts that have played a role in discussions of the subjective/objective distinction: "faultless disagreement" discourses and the nonfinite complement position of the subjective attitude verb find. I will argue that the pattern of distribution and interpretation of scalar adjectives in these contexts provides evidence for two sources for subjectivity, which are distinguished from each other in that one affects the grammatical properties of a predicate and one does not. The first kind, which licenses appearance in the complement position of find, is based in the lexical semantics of predicates that encode qualitative assessments. The second kind, which gives rise to faultless disagreement effects, arises from uncertainty about the dimensions of evaluation that are involved in fixing the extension of a predicate in a context of utterance.