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Language Turned on ItselfThe Semantics and Pragmatics of Metalinguistic Discourse$
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Herman Cappelen and Ernest Lepore

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199231195

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231195.001.0001

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The Demonstrative Theory

The Demonstrative Theory

(p.108) 10 The Demonstrative Theory
Language Turned on Itself

Herman Cappelen (Contributor Webpage)

Ernie Lepore (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Donald Davidson's paper “Quotation”, which is the most discussed and influential paper on quotation. Davidson's view is alternatively called “the Demonstrative Theory of Quotation” or “the Paratactic Theory of Quotation”. The strengths and weaknesses of the Demonstrative Theory are discussed. It is argued that seen in its historical context, Davidson's proposal is extraordinarily interesting and highly original. It took into account data that no other theory at the time could accommodate, and took the device of quotation more seriously than any other theory at the time did. However, it is now time to leave that theory firmly behind. The subject has moved to a point where we are much clearer on the totality of data and the relevant facts about syntax and semantics than Davidson was. As a result, the Demonstrative Theory is no longer a useful starting point.

Keywords:   quotation, Donald Davidson, Demonstrative Theory, Paratactic Theory

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