Journal article Open Access

The inference making machine meets the epistemic engine

Lynch, Michael

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  "description": "<p>This paper discusses a lecture by Harvey Sacks on &lsquo;The Inference-Making Machine&rsquo;, originally delivered in 1964 and included in the posthumously published collection of his transcribed lectures, and then critically juxtaposes Sacks&#39; analysis with recent work in sociology and linguistics on the topic of &lsquo;epistemics&rsquo; in conversation. Sacks&#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 &lsquo;epistemic status&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&#39; analysis to extend a recent dispute about &lsquo;epistemic&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 &lsquo;epistemic status&rsquo; to participants in conversational exchanges.</p>", 
  "license": "", 
  "creator": [
      "@type": "Person", 
      "name": "Lynch, Michael"
  "headline": "The inference making machine meets the epistemic engine", 
  "image": "", 
  "datePublished": "2020-09-25", 
  "url": "", 
  "@context": "", 
  "identifier": "", 
  "@id": "", 
  "@type": "ScholarlyArticle", 
  "name": "The inference making machine meets the epistemic engine"
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