Protagonist Projection


  • I would like to thank Nicholas Allott, Pål Antonsen, Herman Cappelen, Josh Dever, Guðmundur Andri Hjalmarsson, Ole Hjortland, Torfinn Huvenes, Dilip Ninan, Philippe Schlenker, Anders Schoubye, and François Recanati for very valuable and extensive discussion. This paper was presented at the workshop Perspective in Discourse at the Centre for Advanced Studies, Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, in March 2011. I would like to thank the audience, and in particular, Emar Maier, Arnim von Stechow, Kjell Johan Sæbø, and Henk Zeevat for discussion at this event. Thanks are also due to two anonymous reviewers for Mind & Language for helpful suggestions.

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This article provides a semantic analysis of Protagonist Projection, the phenomenon by which things are described from a point of view different from that of the speaker. Against what has been argued by some, the account vindicates the intuitive idea that Protagonist Projection does not give rise to counterexamples to factivity, and similar plausible principles. A pragmatics is sketched that explains the attitude attributions generated by Protagonist Projection. Further, the phenomenon is compared to Free Indirect Discourse, and the proposed account is seen to preserve the relation between them.