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Sign In Forgot password? Don't have an account? Sign in via your Institution Sign in. Treating indirect speech reports as designating such a four-place relation thus avoids the threatened contradiction, since the contexts of u 3 and u 4 are distinct. The papers collected here do not constitute a coherent position, nor even a pair of independently coherent positions.

In and of itself, this is not a criticism; even in analytic philosophy one is allowed to change one's mind, especially over the course of twenty years. In fact, in the introduction Cappelen and Lepore themselves acknowledge two significant inconsistencies in the collected papers. First, they acknowledge that there is an inconsistency between the views developed in the two series. As Cappelen and Lepore put it, the views on quotation developed in the "Varieties of Quotation" series "didn't sit well with the simultaneous development of semantic minimalism in the other series of papers" 9.

The reason these positions do not sit well together is that the view of quotation developed in the "Varieties of Quotation" series is a version of Davidson's paratactic account, according to which "quotation marks are, in effect, context-sensitive expressions" 9. This paratactic approach thus clearly conflicts with semantic minimalism's claim that "the only context-sensitive expressions are the completely obvious ones" A Tall Tale, The second inconsistency acknowledged by Cappelen and Lepore occurs within the "Alleged Connection" series.

They concede that the foundational paper of this series, viz. On an Alleged Connection between Indirect Speech and the Theory of Meaning "can, and probably should, be read as arguing for the context sensitivity of 'said that'" 6. And indeed this contextualist analysis of 'said that' is certainly suggested by Cappelen and Lepore's claim that "our practice of reporting others treats what is said as a four-place relation between a sentence and its context of utterance and a reporting sentence and its context of utterance" Insensitive Quantifiers, 38; An Abuse of Context, As is acknowledged by Cappelen and Lepore, this contextualist proposal again conflicts with semantic minimalism's restriction of semantic context sensitivity to only words whose context sensitivity is "completely obvious" A Tall Tale, It should be appreciated, however, that the problem is not merely that the alleged context sensitivity of 'said that' is not a "completely obvious"; the real problem is that the reasoning Cappelen and Lepore invoke to support contextualism with regard to 'said that' is a CSA, the form of argument that they themselves reject on the grounds that it violates their fundamental methodological principle.

To appreciate this point, note that what compels Cappelen and Lepore to suggest that 'said that' designates a four place relation -- as opposed to a minimal two-place relation between sayers and things said -- is a threatened contradiction with regard to the accuracy of indirect speech reports such as 1. So, just as the contextualist analysis of 'to rain' is motivated by intuitions to the effect that some simultaneous utterances of 'It's raining' are accurate while others are not, so Cappelen and Lepore's contextualist analysis of 'said that' is motivated by intuitions to the effect that some utterances of 1 are accurate while others are not.

If the former CSA supporting the context sensitivity of 'to rain' is unsound because it crucially depends upon the mistaken assumption MA that "the intuitions appealed to. The obvious response to these inconsistencies would be for Cappelen and Lepore to retract the conclusion that 'said that' is semantically context sensitive, and reject as unsound the CSAs they surreptitiously invoked to support this conclusion.

It would follow that all simultaneous utterances of 1 semantically encode the same minimal semantic content. Though, and now comes the familiar point motivated by the methodological principle, this claim regarding the inter-contextual stability of 1 does not preclude different utterances of this sentence from saying different things. But this retreat to semantic minimalism, i. There are two related problems. First, invariantism with regard to indirect speech reports is incompatible with thesis ii of speech act pluralism.

Our example involving utterances of 1 provides a particular instance of the second thesis of speech act pluralism:. Given semantic minimalism concerning indirect speech reports, 'Perry said that the weather is crummy for tennis' is context invariant, and thus it is not true that relative to one interpreter, Perry said that the weather is crummy for tennis, but relative to another interpreter Perry did not say that the weather is crummy for tennis.

Of course an utterance of that previous, italicized, sentence might have true speech act content, but such content is, I hope, irrelevant here.


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If there ever were a context in which we need to rely on the inter-contextual stability of semantic content, this is it. So, adherence to the fundamental methodological principle that undermines CSAs requires Cappelen and Lepore to be semantic minimalists, i. The second reason semantic minimalism with regard to indirect speech reports does not sit well with Cappelen and Lepore's two-part programme is that invariantism with regard to indirect speech reports undermines the methodological point that allegedly shows CSAs to be unsound. Suppose again that Perry, in sunny Palo Alto, utters 'It's raining' and his utterance is intuitively false.

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Suppose Travis, in dreary London, utters 'It's raining' and his utterance is intuitively true. The apparent contradiction is to be avoided not by providing a contextualist semantics for 'to rain', but rather by distinguishing between semantic content and speech act content: though what Perry says is false, and what Travis says is true, the sentence they both utter encodes the same minimal semantic content.

But can this methodological point be coherently expressed if we continue to take seriously our intuitions about what utterances say , but -- in keeping with semantic minimalism -- use 'said that' in a context-invariant way?

Suppose that it is raining -- the metaphysical and semantic facts determine that the minimal semantic content of 'It's raining' is true. What the methodological point would have us maintain then is that though Perry said at least the minimal semantic content of the sentence he uttered, viz. But if the semantics of 'said that' is invariantist, can it be maintained that Perry said this more specific false proposition? It seems not.

For there are some contexts of interpretation in which it would be "accurate" to report Perry's utterance by uttering, 'Perry said it's raining, but he did not say it is raining in Palo Alto'.

[Introduction to Linguistics] Grice's Maxims, Implicature, Presupposition

Imagine a conversation in which doubt has been raised with regard to whether Perry had any location in mind at all -- rumor has it that he has a little Z-lander in him. So, there are some "accurate" utterances of 'Perry did not say that it is raining in Palo Alto'. Thus, if we are invariantists with regard to indirect speech reports, we also must conclude that Perry did not say that it is raining in Palo Alto.

But then we can hardly accuse the contextualists of conflating the false speech act content said by Perry's utterance, viz.

Insensitive Semantics

Cappelen and Lepore's two-part reconciliation project thus faces a significant dilemma. On the one horn there is the second inconsistency they acknowledge: their contextualist analysis of 'said that' is incompatible with semantic minimalism's prohibition against non-completely-obvious context sensitive words, and, more significantly, this contextualist analysis is supported by CSAs that violate their own fundamental methodological principle.

But, on the other horn, semantic minimalism, i. Of course Cappelen and Lepore could avoid both horns if they simply denied the accuracy of the intuitions concerning what is said that are elicited by CSAs. If they simply refused to countenance these shifty intuitions concerning what utterances say, they would not find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to explain them using either context sensitive or invariant indirect speech reports.

But denying the shifty intuitions elicited by CSAs is tantamount to rejecting the apparent ubiquity of context sensitivity, in which case there would be no puzzle for Cappelen and Lepore's two-part programme to solve. Something has to go. Despite what might be suggested by its title, Liberating Content does not actually liberate any heretofore unpublished content; all of the papers collected in the volume have been previously published elsewhere, and moreover -- as the author's themselves point out -- there is considerable overlap between the "Alleged Connection" series and the authors' previous book Insensitive Semantics , as well as between the "Varieties of Quotation" series and the authors' other previous book Language Turned on Itself Liberating Content does, however, begin with a new and helpful introductory chapter in which the authors describe significant connections between the papers the two series comprise and characterize the relationship between the collected papers and some of their more recent publications.

So, even though this book does not offer much in the way of new material, it may be a useful resource for those of us trying to make sense of, and keep up with, Cappelen and Lepore's rapidly developing, and shifting, views on the topics addressed. Cappelen, H. Relativism and Monadic Truth. Oxford University Press. Blackwell Publishing. Lepore, E. Elsewhere however they claim that are no such monsters in natural language Context Shifting Arguments, In the final paper in the "Alleged Connection" series Cappelen seems to endorse CSAs in support of content relativism.

And Lepore and Stone advocates a view that is arguably a version of radical pragmatics. The ten papers in the "Alleged Connection" series all address, in one way or another, a puzzle that arises from two general observations concerning linguistic communication: On the one hand , the contents we communicate to one another by uttering sentences are shaped in all kinds of ways by the context we are in when we speak -- e.

Semantic minimalism is characterized by two theses: The only context-sensitive expressions are the completely obvious ones 'I', 'Here', 'now', 'that', etc. A Tall Tale, 94 Semantic minimalism is alleged to account for the seeming inter-contextual stability of content because it implies that ignoring tense there are many indexical-free sentences, and different utterances of such semantically invariant sentences will encode the same minimal semantic contents.

The more radical aspects of speech act pluralism are characterized by two theses: When you utter a sentence, S, in a context, C, you don't just say one thing e. You say a potential infinity of propositions.