Institut Jean Nicod

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Josef Stern (University of Chicago)

Vendredi 24 février 2017 de 11h30 à 13h

Institut Nicod, Pavillon Jardin
Ecole normale supérieure, 29, rue d'Ulm 75005 Paris.

Josef Stern (The University of Chicago)

"Quotations and Pictures".

Abstract:

Quotation (q-)marks “ ‘… ’ ” are currently used in two main ways: to quote someone’s utterance or inscription (e.g., “Trump said: ‘I will make America great!’”) and to mention words (e.g., “ ‘Love’ is a four letter word”).  Over the last 50 years there has been an explosion of work by philosophers and linguists on q-marks but almost all of it has focused on their use in mentioning, either ignoring or assimilating quotation to mentioning.  After briefly tracing the disjoint histories of q-marks in the two practices to identify the explananda, and proposing that the q-marks “ ‘… ’ ” are homonymous, I concentrate almost entirely on the use of q-marks in quotation, present the semantic problems raised by sentential and sub-sentential (so-called mixed) quotation, and, drawing on an analogy between pictures and quotations—frequently mentioned but rarely used in the literature—show how quotations can be best analyzed using three notions taken from the theory of pictures: exemplification as distinct from representation, the analog as opposed to digital, and transparency.  I then explain what semantic work the q-marks themselves do, and sketch a compositional semantics for quotations in light of this theory. Time permitting, I show how we can analyze scare-quotes as the figurative use of q-marks. What emerges from this analysis is a conception of quotation that locates it on the boundary between linguistic competence proper and the non-linguistic—and in one sense, contextual—symbolic skill of picturing.


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