How significant is the use/mention distinction?

Analysis 46 (4):173-179 (1986)
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Abstract

It is argued that the use/mention distinction, if it is to be a clear-cut one, cannot have the significance that it is usually thought to have. For that significance attaches to the distinction between employing an expression in order to draw attention to, or to talk about, some aspect of the world, as determined by the expression’s meaning, and employing it in order to draw attention to, or to talk about, the expression itself—and this distinction is not a clear-cut one. In the final section of the essay this argument is extended to cast doubt on a rather glib appeal to the use/mention distinction that is frequently made in the philosophy of language.

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