Critical notice of Language Turned on Itself, by Herman Cappelen and Ernie Lepore [Book Review]

Analytic Philosophy 52 (4):349-367 (2011)
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This is a lively, provocative book and many of its arguments are convincing. In this critical study I summarize the book, then discuss some of the authors’ claims, dwelling on three issues: their objections to the view of François Recanati on “pre-semantic” effects; the relation between their theory of quotation and the Tarskian “Proper Name Theory,” which they reject; and their treatment of mixed quotation, which rests on the claim that quotation expressions are “syntactic chameleons.” I argue that the objections to Recanati don’t expose any problem with his view, and that the “Proper Name Theory” has all the virtues of their own proposal. Finally I raise some queries about the technical apparatus of syntactic chameleonism.

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Mark McCullagh
University of Guelph


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