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On an alleged distinction between Mixed Quotation and Scare Quoting

Abstract : Most writers working on simultaneous use and mention assume a distinction between mixed quotation (MQ) and scare quoting (ScQ). The consensus is that MQ affects truth-conditions. Hence, many writers regard MQ as a semantic phenomenon. There is no such consensus about ScQ. On the face of it, there is a clear difference between: (1) Alice said that life “is difficult to understand”. (2) Several ‘groupies' followed the band on their tour. The words quoted in (1) are attributed to Alice, and (1) would seem false if Alice had not uttered (something like) them. No such intuition is available for (2). This induces Cappelen & Lepore, leading writers in the field, to regard (1) as a blend of Direct and Indirect Discourse and to propose the following semantic analysis (logical form): there is an utterance u such that Alice said u and u samesays (+/- expresses the same content as) “Life is difficult to understand” and u sametokens (+/- is a token of the same contextual type as) “is difficult to understand”. As for (2), they regard the impact of the quotation in it as being entirely pragmatic. I show, however, that there is no principled distinction between MQ and ScQ. The main points are: (i) speech attribution to Alice in (1) is defeasible; (ii) there are cases of simultaneous use and mention without “say” which are semantically relevant (the absence of “say” means they are not accounted for by Cappelen & Lepore's logical form); (iii) there is apparent MQ with reporting verbs that pose a problem because they cannot govern Direct Speech reports. Hence, it is illegitimate to appeal to the sametokening predicate in logical form. These examples that ‘refuse' to fall neatly under MQ or ScQ seal the fate of Cappelen & Lepore's account. To conclude, I discuss Benbaji's fully semantic theory. Benbaji adopts Cappelen & Lepore's views on MQ. But he also proposes a semantic account of ScQ (which he calls “using others' words”). One option for him is to give up the Cappelen & Lepore story and extend his views on ScQ to all instances of simultaneous use and mention. I show, however, that this too fails. Therefore, in the end, only a pragmatic account of simultaneous use and mention remains as a viable option.
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Contributor : Philippe de Brabanter <>
Submitted on : Monday, June 13, 2005 - 11:39:56 AM
Last modification on : Friday, July 2, 2021 - 9:58:02 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, September 14, 2012 - 4:46:35 PM


  • HAL Id : ijn_00000609, version 1



Philippe de Brabanter. On an alleged distinction between Mixed Quotation and Scare Quoting. 2005. ⟨ijn_00000609⟩



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