Evidential Modals at the Semantic-Argumentative Interface: Appearance Verbs as Indicators of Defeasible Argumentation

Elena Musi


This contribution aims at providing an argumentative method to account for epistemic modality and evidentiality. I claim that these two linguistic categories can work as semantic components of defeasible argumentative schemes based on classification processes. This kind of approximate reasoning is, in fact, frequently indicated by appearance verbs which signal that the inferred standpoint is conceived by the speaker as uncertain (epistemic value) due to the deceiving nature of perceptual data (evidential value). Drawing from an analysis at the semantic-argumentative interface, the way in which prototype theory sheds light on the processes of meaning construction underlying defeasible arguments from definition is also shown.


argument schemes; Aristotelian models of necessary and sufficient conditions; defeasible reasoning; inferences; prototype theory; semantics-argumentation interface

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22329/il.v34i4.4107

ISSN: 0824-2577