Journal article Open Access

The inference making machine meets the epistemic engine

Lynch, Michael

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  <identifier identifierType="DOI">10.5281/zenodo.4050549</identifier>
      <creatorName>Lynch, Michael</creatorName>
    <title>The inference making machine meets the epistemic engine</title>
    <date dateType="Issued">2020-09-25</date>
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    <relatedIdentifier relatedIdentifierType="DOI" relationType="IsVersionOf">10.5281/zenodo.4050548</relatedIdentifier>
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    <rights rightsURI="">Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial No Derivatives 4.0 International</rights>
    <rights rightsURI="info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess">Open Access</rights>
    <description descriptionType="Abstract">&lt;p&gt;This paper discusses a lecture by Harvey Sacks on &amp;lsquo;The Inference-Making Machine&amp;rsquo;, originally delivered in 1964 and included in the posthumously published collection of his transcribed lectures, and then critically juxtaposes Sacks&amp;#39; analysis with recent work in sociology and linguistics on the topic of &amp;lsquo;epistemics&amp;rsquo; in conversation. Sacks&amp;#39; lecture discusses an extract from a phone call in which the caller relates a story about a domestic difficulty, and the recipient (an employee of a suicide prevention center, who was unacquainted with the caller) admonishes the caller for not telling the whole story and formulates the missing detail. Sacks makes a series of observations about the practical reasoning the social service agent uses to infer the missing detail. His analysis contrasts with that of some recent studies that assign higher &amp;lsquo;epistemic status&amp;rsquo; to speakers who present first-hand as opposed to second-hand accounts of the events in assertions, assessments and stories. The present paper uses the comparison with Sacks&amp;#39; analysis to extend a recent dispute about &amp;lsquo;epistemic&amp;rsquo; analyses of conversation, and also examines an instance from a recent publication on police interrogations of suspects also to question the way professional sociolinguistic analysts attribute &amp;lsquo;epistemic status&amp;rsquo; to participants in conversational exchanges.&lt;/p&gt;</description>
    <description descriptionType="Other">+Sprache: eng.</description>
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