The Grice Club


The Grice Club

The club for all those whose members have no (other) club.

Is Grice the greatest philosopher that ever lived?

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

H. P. Grice and J. L. Speranza, "Pure and impure implicatures"


I defend a semantic theory of quotation marks, according to which these are ambiguous, as they have several different acceptations involving corresponding different conventional indications. In particular, in allusion (“mixed”) uses, the corresponding conventional indication is one with an adverbial or prepositional content, roughly equivalent to “using the quoted expression or an appropriate version of it”. And in “scare” uses, the corresponding conventional indication is that the enclosed expression should be used not plainly but in some broadly speaking distanced way, or that it is being so used by the utterer. I also defend this view against some alternative views on which allusion and distance indications are to be seen as pragmatically conveyed. In particular, I consider several views that attempt to explain especially allusion and distance indications as pragmatic suggestions generated from a meager conventional basis, and I argue that they cannot accommodate a number of linguistic phenomena and reflectively supported theses about the use of quotation marks. I lay special emphasis on the fact that the main pragmatic theories fail to pass an extremely plausible test for challenges to polysemic accounts of an expression.

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