The issues addressed in philosophical papers on quotation generally concern only a particular type of quotation, which I call 'closed quotation'. The other main type, 'open quotation', is ignored, and this neglect leads to bad theorizing. Not only is a general theory of quotation out of reach: the specific phenomenon of closed quotation itself cannot be properly understood if it is not appropriately situated within the kind to which it belongs. Once the distinction between open and closed quotation has been (...) drawn and properly appreciated, it is tempting to consider that only closed quotation is relevant to semantics. Open quotation is more a matter of pragmatics: it is a matter of what people do with words, rather than a matter of content and truth-conditions. In this way one can provide the beginning of a justification for the neglect of open quotation in current semantic theorizing. There is some truth in this view, yet the phenomenon of 'mixed quotation', investigated at length in this paper, is interesting precisely because it shows that things are not so simple. Important issues concerning the interface between semantics and pragmatics will thus be raised. (shrink)
In the recent debate on the semantic/pragmatic divide, Herman Cappelen and Ernie Lepore (2005) on the one hand, and Fran¸cois Recanati (2004) on the other, occupy almost diametrically opposed positions as regards the role of semantics for communication, while largely agreeing on important features of pragmatics. According to Cappelen and Lepore (CL), semantic context sensitivity of natural language sentences is restricted to what is determined by a particular minimal set of canonically context sensitive expressions. If you try to go (...) beyond that set, as has often been done in recent semantic theories, to reach a position of moderate contextualism, your reasons will force you to the much more extreme position of radical contextualism. That is CL’s instability thesis. They argue for it by means of a number of examples intended to illustrate how you are off on a slippery slope if you admit any context sensitivity beyond the basic one. If radical contextualism is true, systematic semantics is not possible, since, according to CL, there cannot be any systematic theory of speech act content. The one exception is that whatever is said by the utterance of a sentence, its minimally context dependent content is part of it. Precisely this is denied by Recanati. Not only is this “minimal proposition” not part of speech act content. The minimal proposition plays no.. (shrink)
According to the dominant position among philosophers of language today, we can legitimately ascribe determinate contents to natural language sentences, independently of what the speaker actually means. This view contrasts with that held by ordinary language philosophers fifty years ago: according to them, speech acts, not sentences, are the primary bearers of content. François Recanati argues for the relevance of this controversy to the current debate about semantics and pragmatics. Is 'what is said' determined by linguistic conventions, or is (...) it an aspect of 'speaker's meaning'? Do we need pragmatics to fix truth-conditions? What is 'literal meaning'? To what extent is semantic composition a creative process? How pervasive is context-sensitivity? Recanati provides an original and insightful defence of 'contextualism', and offers an informed survey of the spectrum of positions held by linguists and philosophers working at the semantics/pragmatics interface. (shrink)
Our thought and talk are situated. They do not take place in a vacuum but always in a context, and they always concern an external situation relative to which they are to be evaluated. Since that is so, François Recanati argues, our linguistic and mental representations alike must be assigned two layers of content: the explicit content, or lekton, is relative and perspectival, while the complete content, which is absolute, involves contextual factors in addition to what is explicitly represented. (...) Far from reducing to the context-independent meaning of the sentence-type or, in the psychological realm, to the 'narrow' content of mental representations, the lekton is a level intermediate between context-invariant meaning and full propositional content. Recognition of that intermediate level is the key to a proper understanding of context-dependence in language and thought. Going beyond the usual discussions of indexicality and unarticulated constituents in the philosophy of language, Recanati turns to the philosophy of mind for decisive arguments in favour of his approach. He shows, first, that the lekton is the notion of content we need if we are to properly understand the relations between perception, memory, and the imagination, and second, that the psychological 'mode' is what determines the situation the lekton is relative to. In this framework he provides a detailed account of de se thought and the first person point of view. In the last part of the book, Recanati discusses the special freedom we have, in discourse and thought, to shift the situation of evaluation. He traces that freedom to a special mode - the anaphoric mode - which enables us to go beyond the egocentric stage of pre-human thought. (shrink)
This volume puts forward a distinct new theory of direct reference, blending insights from both the Fregean and the Russellian traditions, and fitting the general theory of language understanding used by those working on the pragmatics of natural language.
Professor Recanati's book is a major new contribution to the philosophy of language. Its point of departure is a refutation of two views central to the work of speech-act theorists such as Austin & Searle: that speech acts are essentially conventional, & that the force of an utterance can be made fully explicit at the level of sentence-meaning & is in principle a matter of linguistic decoding. The author argues that no utterance can be fully understood simply in terms (...) of its linguistic meaning, but that only a contextual inference can provide an adequate framework. In pursuit of this argument, he deals with the major issues of pragmatics & speech-act theory: conversational implicatives & indirect speech acts, the classification of illocutionary forces, the performative/constative distinction, delocutivity, locutionary meaning, non-literal uses of languages, the principle of expressibilty, & the difference between institutional & communicative illocutionary acts. (shrink)
The book offers a compact but comprehensive introductory overview of the crucial components of argumentation theory. In presenting this overview, argumentation is consistently approached from a pragma-dialectical perspective by viewing it pragmatically as a goal-directed communicative activity and dialectically as part of a regulated critical exchange aimed at resolving a difference of opinion. As a result, the book also systematically explains how the constitutive parts of the pragma-dialectical theory of argumentation, which are discussed in a number of separate publications, hang (...) together. The following crucial topics are discussed: argumentation theory as a discipline; the meta-theoretical principles of pragma-dialectics; the model of a critical discussion aimed at resolving a difference of opinion; fallacies as violations of a code of conduct for reasonable argumentative discourse; descriptive research of argumentative reality; analysis as theoretically-motivated reconstruction; strategic manoeuvring aimed at combining achieving effectiveness with maintaining reasonableness; the conventionalization of argumentative practices; prototypical argumentative patterns; pragma-dialectics amidst other approaches. Argumentation Theory: A Pragma-Dialectical Perspective is clearly written and makes argumentation theory understandable to all scholars and advanced students interested in argumentation research. (shrink)
In his book Mental Files , Francois Recanati develops a theory of mind and language based on the idea that Fregean senses should be identified with ‘mental files’, mental representations whose primary function is to store information about objects. I discuss three aspects of Recanati’s book. The first concerns his use of acquaintance relations in individuating mental files, and what this means for ‘file dynamics’. The second concerns his comments on a theory that I have elsewhere advocated, the (...) ‘sequenced worlds’ or ‘multi-centered worlds’ theory. The third concerns how the mental file approach handles non-doxastic attitudes like imagining. (shrink)
One of the hottest philosophical debates in recent years concerns the nature of the semantics/pragmatics divide. Some writers have expressed the reserve that this might be merely terminological, but in my view it ultimately concerns a substantive issue with empirical implications: the scope and limits of a serious scientific undertaking, formal semantics. In this critical note I discuss two arguments by Recanati: his main methodological argument --viz. that the contents posited by what he calls 'literalists' play no relevant role (...) in communication--, and some phenomenological considerations regarding the "Availability Principle" that he appeals to in order to buttress that main argument. /// Uno de los más encarnizados debates filosóficos recientes atañe a la naturaleza de la distinción entre semántica y pragmática. Aunque algunos autores han expresado reservas en el sentido de que èste pudiera ser sólo terminológico, en mi opinión tiene que ver con una cuestión sustantiva con implicaciones empíricas: el alcance y los límites de una empresa científica seria, la semántica formal. En este texto discuto dos argumentos de Recanati: su principal argumento metodológico, que los contenidos postulados por los autores que él denomina "literalistas" no desempeñan ningùn papel relevante en la comunicación, y, en segundo lugar, ciertas consideraciones fenomenológicas en torno a su "Principio de Accesibilidad", a las cuales apela para apoyar el argumento metodológico. (shrink)
Over the past fifty years the philosophy of language and mind has been dominated by a nondescriptivist approach to content and reference. This book attempts to recast and systematize that approach by offering an indexical model in terms of mental files. According to Recanati, we refer through mental files, the function of which is to store information derived through certain types of contextual relation the subject bears to objects in his or her environment. The reference of a file is (...) determined relationally, not satisfactionally, so a file is not to be equated to the body of (mis-)information it contains. Mental files are the mental equivalent of singular terms, and the reference of linguistic expressions is inherited from that of the files we associate with them. On this approach, mental files, the vehicles of singular thought, do all the work of so-called 'modes of presentation' in Fregean and neo-Russellian theories. (shrink)
In this book two of the leading figures in argumentation theory present a view of argumentation as a means of resolving differences of opinion by testing the acceptability of the disputed positions. Their model of a 'critical discussion' serves as a theoretical tool for analysing, evaluating and producing argumentative discourse. They develop a method for the reconstruction of argumentative discourse that takes into account all aspects that are relevant to a critical assessment. They also propose a practical code of behaviour (...) for discussants who want to resolve their differences in a reasonable way. This is a major contribution to the study of argumentation and will be of particular value to professionals and graduate students in speech communication, informal logic, rhetoric, critical thinking, linguistics, and philosophy. (shrink)
Philosophie du langage et philosophie de l'esprit constituent désormais un tout indissociable. Les expressions linguistiques «signifient». Qu'est-ce que cela veut dire? François Recanati distingue trois réponses possibles. Selon la première, signifier c'est (pour une expression linguistique) être associée à des représentations mentales. Selon la deuxième, signifier c'est «faire référence» et renvoyer à quelque chose dans le monde – une réalité extralinguistique. Selon la troisième, enfin, signifier, c'est jouer un rôle distinctif dans cette activité sociale qu'est la parole. La première (...) réponse renvoie aux représentations mentales. Mais qu'est-ce, pour une représentation mentale, que d'avoir un contenu? La vraie question, est-on tenté de penser, est plus générale : qu'est-ce que signifier ou avoir un contenu? Qu'est-ce qu'une représentation (linguistique ou mentale)? Les philosophes contemporains recherchent une théorie du contenu qui soit suffisamment générale pour s'appliquer à la pensée aussi bien qu'au langage. François Recanati nous introduit à leurs efforts, et conclut en faveur de l'approche «pragmatique» inspirée de Wittgenstein. Ce qui fait que la pensée et le langage représentent le monde, c'est avant tout le fait que la pensée et le langage sont dans le monde, qu'ils y ont leur place et y jouent leur rôle. (shrink)
This book concentrates on argumentation as it emerges in ordinary discourse, whether the discourse is institutionalized or strictly informal. Crucial concepts from the theory of argumentation are systematically discussed and explained with the help of examples from real-life discourse and texts. The basic principles are explained that are instrumental in the analysis and evaluation of argumentative discourse. Methodical instruments are offered for identifying differences of opinion, analyzing and evaluating argumentation and presenting arguments in oral and written discourse. In addition, the (...) book provides a great variety of exercises and assignments to improve the students' skill in presenting argumentation. The authors begin their treatment of argumentation theory at the same juncture where argumentation also starts in practice: The difference of opinion that occasions the evolvement of the argumentation. Each chapter begins with a short summary of the essentials and ends with a number of exercises that students can use to master the material. _Argumentation_ is the first introductory textbook of this kind. It is intended as a general introduction for students who are interested in a proper conduct of argumentative discourse. Suggestions for further reading are made for each topic and several extra assignments are added to the exercises. Special features: * A concise and complete treatment of both the theoretical backgrounds and the practice of argumentation analysis and evaluation. * Crucial concepts from pragmatics presented in a non-technical way; introducing the theory of verbal communication. * Unique coverage of both oral and written presentation of arguments. * Exercises and assignments based on real-life texts from a variety of contexts. (shrink)
The turn of the millennium has been marked by new developments in the study of early modern philosophy. In particular, the philosophy of René Descartes has been reinterpreted in a number of important and exciting ways, specifically concerning his work on the mind-body union, the connection between objective and formal reality, and his status as a moral philosopher. These fresh interpretations have coincided with a renewed interest in overlooked parts of the Cartesian corpus and a sustained focus on the similarities (...) between Descartes' thought and the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza. Mind, Body, and Moralityconsists of fifteen chapters written by scholars who have contributed significantly to the new turn in Descartes and Spinoza scholarship. The volume is divided into three parts. The first group of chapters examines different metaphysical and epistemological problems raised by the Cartesian mind-body union. Part II investigates Descartes' and Spinoza's understanding of the relations between ideas, knowledge, and reality. Special emphasis is put on Spinoza's conception of the relation between activity and passivity. Finally, the last part explores different aspects of Descartes' moral philosophy, connecting his views to important predecessors, Augustine and Abelard, and comparing them to Spinoza. nd Spinoza's understanding of the relations between ideas, knowledge, and reality. Special emphasis is put on Spinoza's conception of the relation between activity and passivity. Finally, the last part explores different aspects of Descartes' moral philosophy, connecting his views to important predecessors, Augustine and Abelard, and comparing them to Spinoza. (shrink)
This paper serves as an introduction to the special issue on argumentative patterns in discourse, more in particular on argumentative patterns with pragmatic argumentation as a main argument that are prototypical of argumentative discourse in certain communicative activity types in the political, the legal, the medical, and the academic domain. It situates the studies of argumentative patterns reported in these papers in the pragma-dialectical research program. In order to be able to do so, it is first explained in which consecutive (...) stages the pragma-dialectical theorizing has developed, what the study of argumentative patterns involves, and why the identification of argumentative patterns represents a vital stage in the development of pragma-dialectics. The description of the theoretical innovations that are introduced and the exposition of their relationship with the standard and extended pragma-dialectical theory create a conceptual and terminological framework for understanding the background and the rationale of the current research projects. (shrink)
Michael Dummett has shown that the fragment '17 Kernsätze zur Logik' is evidence that Frege knew Lotze's Logik Dummett's dating of this fragment prior to 1879, however, must be rejected.The present paper shows that there are other articles of Frege's which bear clear traces of Lotze's LogikFirst of all, the expressions Vorstellungsverlauf from 'Über die wissenschaftliche Berechtigung einer Begriffsschrift', and veranlassenden Ursachen, from 'Logik', certainly are borrowed from Lotze.Second, there are links between 'Booles rechnende Logik und die Begriffsschrift' and Lotze's (...) Logik. Furthermore, it is shown that Frege's 'Kernsätze', the 'Dialog mit Pünjer über Existenz', and his 'Logik' are intimately connected.All of this indicates that these texts were written in roughly the same period, namely the early 1880s.Conclusive evidence for this is that the terms Vorstellung and Vorstellungsverbindung are used indiscriminately in both a psychological and a logical sense in the 'Begriffsschrift', a fact which contradicts the 'Kernsätze'. (shrink)
This book argues against the traditional understanding of the semantics/pragmatics divide and puts forward a radical alternative. Through half a dozen case studies, it shows that what an utterance says cannot be neatly separated from what the speaker means. In particular, the speaker's meaning endows words with senses that are tailored to the situation of utterance and depart from the conventional meanings carried by the words in isolation. This phenomenon of ‘pragmatic modulation’ must be taken into account in theorizing about (...) semantic content, for it interacts with the grammar-driven process of semantic composition. Because of that interaction, the book argues, the content of a sentence always depends upon the context in which it is used. This claim defines Contextualism, a view which has attracted considerable attention in recent years, and of which the author of this book is one of the main proponents. (shrink)
In this collection of newly commissioned essays, the contributors present a variety of approaches to it, engaging with historical and empirical aspects of the subject as well as contemporary philosophical work.
In this paper, I will provide a counterexample to Recanati's account of first-person communication (1995, 2010, 2012). In particular, I will show that Recanati's constraints are not sufficient for the success of first-person communication. My argument against Recanati's account is parallel to Recanati's argument against neo-Russellian accounts, and shows that the same problem resurfaces even in the presence of linguistically encoded mode of presentation in a neo-Fregean framework of mental files.
This theoretical expose explores the complex notion of argumentative style, which has so far been largely neglected in argumentation theory. After an introduction of the problems involved, the theoretical tools for identifying the properties of the discourse in which an argumentative style manifests itself are explained from a pragma-dialectical perspective and a theoretical definition of argumentative style is provided that does full justice to its role in argumentative discourse. The article concludes with a short reflection upon the next steps that (...) need to be taken in argumentation theory in further substantiating the notion of argumentative style. (shrink)
In the pragma-dialectical approach, fallacies are considered incorrect moves in a discussion for which the goal is successful resolution of a dispute. Ten rules are given for effective conduct at the various stages of such a critical discussion (confrontation, opening, argumentation, concluding). Fallacies are discussed as violations of these rules, taking into account all speech acts which are traditionally recognized as fallacies. Special attention is paid to the role played by implicitness in fallacies in everyday language use. It is stressed (...) that identifying and acknowledging fallacies in ordinary discussions always has a conditional character. Differences between the pragma-dialectical perspective, the Standard Treatment, and the formal logic approach to fallacy analysis are discussed. (shrink)
Care ethics as initiated by Gilligan, Held, Tronto and others has from its onset been critical towards ethical concepts established in modernity, like ‘autonomy’, alternatively proposing to think from within relationships and to pay attention to power. In this article the question is raised whether renewal in this same critical vein is necessary and possible as late modern circumstances require rethinking the care ethical inquiry. Two late modern realities that invite to rethink care ethics are complexity and precariousness. Late modern (...) organizations, like the general hospital, codetermined by various systems are characterized by complexity and the need for complexity reduction, both permeating care practices. By means of a heuristic use of the concept of precariousness, taken as the installment of uncertainty, it is shown that relations and power in late modern care organizations have changed, precluding the use of a straightforward domination idea of power. In the final section a proposition is made how to rethink the care ethical inquiry in order to take late modern circumstances into account: inquiry should always be related to the concerns of people and practitioners from within care practices. (shrink)
The most accessible expression of François Laruelles non-philosophical, or non-standard, thought, _General Theory of Victims_ forges a new role for contemporary philosophers and intellectuals by rethinking their relation to victims. A key text in recent continental philosophy, it is indispensable for anyone interested in the debates surrounding materialism, philosophy of religion, and ethics. Transforming Joseph de Maistres adage that the executioner is the cornerstone of society, _General Theory of Victims_ instead proposes the victim as the cornerstone of humanity and the (...) key figure for contemporary thought. Laruelle condemns philosophy for participating in and legitimating the great persecutions of the twentieth century, and lays out a new vision of victim-oriented ethics. To do this, he engages the resources of both quantum physics and theology in order to adapt a key concept of non-philosophy, Man-in-person, for a new understanding of the victim. As Man-in-person, the victim is no longer exclusively defined by suffering, but has the capacity to rise up against the worlds persecution. Based on this, Laruelle develops a new ethical role for the intellectual in which he does not merely represent the victim, but imitates or clones it, thereby assisting the victims uprising within thought. (shrink)
Among the entities that can be mentally or linguistically represented are mental and linguistic representations themselves. That is, we can think and talk about speech and thought. This phenomenon is known as metarepresentation. An example is "Authors believe that people read books." -/- In this book François Recanati discusses the structure of metarepresentation from a variety of perspectives. According to him, metarepresentations have a dual structure: their content includes the content of the object-representation (people reading books) as well as (...) the "meta" part (the authors' belief). Rejecting the view that the object representation is mentioned rather than used, Recanati claims that since metarepresentations carry the content of the object representation, they must be about whatever the object representation is about. Metarepresentations are fundamentally transparent because they work by simulating the representation they are about. -/- Topics covered in this wide-ranging work include the analysis of belief reports and talk about fiction, world shifting, opacity and substitutivity, quotation, the relation between direct and indirect discourse, context shifting, semantic pretense, and deference in language and thought. (shrink)
Conceived of as a contender to other theories in substantive ethics, virtue ethics is often associated with, in essence, the following account or criterion of right action: VR: An action A is right for S in circumstances C if and only if a fully virtuous agent would characteristically do A in C. There are serious objections to VR, which take the form of counter-examples. They present us with different scenarios in which less than fully virtuous persons would be acting rightly (...) in doing what no fully virtuous agent would characteristically do in the circumstances. In this paper, various proposals for how to revise VR in order to avoid these counter-examples are considered. I will argue that in so far as the revised accounts really do manage to steer clear of the counter-examples to VR, something which it turns out is not quite true for all of them, they instead fall prey to other damaging objections. I end by discussing the future of virtue ethics, given what has come to light in the previous sections of the paper. In particular, I sketch the outlines of a virtue ethical account of rightness that is structurally different from VR. This account also faces important problems. Still, I suggest that further scrutiny is required before we are in a position to make a definitive decision about its fate. (shrink)
Some conspicuous characteristics of argumentation as we all know this phenomenon from our shared everyday experiences are in my view vital to its theoretical treatment because they should have methodological consequences for the way in which argumentation research is conducted. To start with, argumentation is in the first place a communicative act complex, which is realized by making functional verbal communicative moves.
Argumentation theory is a distinctly multidisciplinary field of inquiry. It draws its data, assumptions, and methods from disciplines as disparate as formal logic and discourse analysis, linguistics and forensic science, philosophy and psychology, political science and education, sociology and law, and rhetoric and artificial intelligence. This presents the growing group of interested scholars and students with a problem of access, since it is even for those active in the field not common to have acquired a familiarity with relevant aspects of (...) each discipline that enters into this multidisciplinary matrix. This book offers its readers a unique comprehensive survey of the various theoretical contributions which have been made to the study of argumentation. It discusses the historical works that provide the background to the field and all major approaches and trends in contemporary research. Argument has been the subject of systematic inquiry for twenty-five hundred years. It has been graced with theories, such as formal logic or the legal theory of evidence, that have acquired a more or less settled provenance with regard to specific issues. But there has been nothing to date that qualifies as a unified general theory of argumentation, in all its richness and complexity. This being so, the argumentation theorist must have access to materials and methods that lie beyond his or her "home" subject. It is precisely on this account that this volume is offered to all the constituent research communities and their students. Apart from the historical sections, each chapter provides an economical introduction to the problems and methods that characterize a given part of the contemporary research program. Because the chapters are self-contained, they can be consulted in the order of a reader's interests or research requirements. But there is value in reading the work in its entirety. Jointly authored by the very people whose research has done much to define the current state of argumentation theory and to point the way toward more general and unified future treatments, this book is an impressively authoritative contribution to the field. (shrink)
My question in this paper concerns what eudaimonist virtue ethics (EVE) might have to say about what makes right actions right. This is obviously an important question if we want to know what (if anything) distinguishes EVE from various forms of consequentialism and deontology in ethical theorizing. The answer most commonly given is that according to EVE, an action is right if and only if it is what a virtuous person would do in the circumstances. However, understood as a claim (...) about what makes particular actions right, this is not especially plausible. What makes a virtuous person’s actions right must reasonably be a matter of the feature, or features, which she, via her practical wisdom, appreciates as ethically relevant in the circumstances, and not the fact that someone such as herself would perform those actions. I argue that EVE instead should be understood as a more radical alternative in ethical philosophy, an alternative that relies on the background assumption that no general account or criterion for what makes right actions right is available to us: right action is simply too complex to be captured in a ‘finite and manageable set of…moral principles’ (McKeever and Ridge, Principled ethics, Oxford University Press, 2006 , p. 139). This does not rule out the possibility that there might be some generalizations about how we should act which hold true without exception. Perhaps there are some things which we must never do, as well as some features of the world which always carry normative weight (even though their exact weight may vary from one context to another). Still, these things are arguably few and far between, and what we must do to ensure that we reliably recognize what is right in particular situations is to acquire practical wisdom. Nothing short of that could do the job. (shrink)
The book is divided into twenty chapters, divided in turn into six parts. Parts I-III contain the main positive account of metarepresentations. The main semantic thesis of parts I-III is that metarepresentational sentences are not relational, but involve a metarepresentational operator applied to a sentence which functions in its usual way, but which is evaluated relative to a “shifted circumstance” in use. This is supposed to represent a novel account of the semantics of attitude sentences that preserves “semantic innocence” and (...) the principle of iconicity, that a metarepresentation “contains” its object representation. Parts IV-VI are concerned with a perceived threat to this picture from examples that are to suggest that metarepresentational operators shift context as well as circumstances. In the end, the response to the examples is that they involve pragmatic phenomena. This discussion could have been significantly compressed. (shrink)
It is often claimed that the exceptional severity of the Spanish flu, one of the most deadly events in recorded human history, is an unsolved mystery. However, even detailed aspects such as its W-shaped mortality curve are well explained by Paul Ewald’s theory of the evolution of virulence. Understanding the causes of the Spanish flu will help to prevent future epidemics.