Indirect Discourse: Parataxis, the Propositional Function Modification, and “That”

Aporia 19 (1):9-24 (2009)
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The purpose of this paper is to assess the general viability of Donald Davidson's paratactic theory of indirect discourse, as well as the specific plausibility of a reincarnated form of the Davidsonian paratactic theory, Gary Kemp's propositional paratactic theory. To this end I will provide an introduction to the Davidsonian paratactic theory and the theory's putative strengths, thereafter noting that an argument from ambiguity seems to effectively undermine Davidson's proposal. Subsequently, I will argue that Kemp's modification of Davidson's theory – that is, Kemp's attempt to respond to the ambiguity objection – adequately handles the classic argument from ambiguity but fails in the face of a new problem of ambiguity that I will introduce. Finally, I will argue that there are more devastating and basic problems for the paratactic theory generally, and that even if Kemp's modifications had succeeded, they would not have given adequate plausibility to the paratactic proposal.
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