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Bennett and Hacker: Village Idiots or Philosophers?

Ashlie Benjamin Hocking abh2n at cobra.cs.Virginia.EDU
Thu Feb 12 08:21:31 EST 2004

"Glen M. Sizemore" <gmsizemore2 at yahoo.com> writes:
> Why take the language at face value in one instance, and not in the other?
> If "I remembered that I gave a lecture" is to "recall an event," why isn't
> "I remember that I have to give a lecture today" a matter of "recalling an
> event?" 

It _is_. The event that is being recalled that you "have to give a
lecture today". This is not a future event, this (as worded) is a
present event based on a past event (namely, that you committed to
giving a lecture today). If you wanted to be tricky, you could use the
better (IMO) example "I remembered that I will give a lecture
today". As phrased, this definitely suggests that the speaker is
remembering a future event. Of course, most people will (correctly)
infer that the speaker is actually remembering that in the past he
committed to giving a lecture in the future, since one cannot remember
events that have not yet occurred.

Of course, what one says (or writes) is not always what one means
_literally_, even if one has not misspoken. When Carl Sandburg wrote
"the fog comes on little cat feet", the author assumed that the reader
would not take him literally. Similarly, most speakers (or authors)
who make the above statement ("I remembered that I will give a lecture
today") are assuming that the listeners will understand what is meant,
although at least one speaker/author (you) would not mean what most of
us (I believe) would assume is meant by such a statement.

Btw, IMO this belief is not anathema to behaviorism any more than it
is to cognitive psychology. (I only bring this up because somehow this
schism keeps being brought into discussions that seem completely
irrelevant to it.)
                          | "Good and evil both increase at compound
Ben Hocking, Grad Student | interest. That is why the little
hocking at cs.virginia.edu   | decisions you and I make every day are of
                          | such infinite importance." - C. S. Lewis

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