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The Semantic Functions of Oblique Speech

  • Witold Marciszewski
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 119)

Abstract

Veni, vidi, vici. We know quite well to what these words, addressed by Caesar to the Roman Senate, referred: to the events which occurred when the Roman troops came face to face with the army of the king of Pontus. To what, however, does the statement made by a student during his Latin class refer if that student says that ‘Caesar said that he came, saw and conquered’ ? Does it refer to the same events to which Caesar’s words refer, and if it does, what does it say about those events ? Does it say that they were the subject matter of the report made by Caesar to the Senate ? Or is it a statement not about military events, but about linguistic events, namely the pithy formulation coined by the conqueror? Or is it a statement about Caesar’s state of mind at the time when he was making it ? When we refer to his words by using their English-language version we do not reproduce the sounds which were then heard in the Senate chamber; we merely reproduce the speaker’s thought, and hence his state of mind.

Keywords

Semantic Category Quotation Mark Semantic Function Exact Reproduction Conjunctive State 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Cf. S. Szober, Gramatyka języka polskiego (A Grammar of Polish), Warsaw 1963, p. 101.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cf. R. Carnap, Meaning and Necessity, Chicago 1956.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Y. Bar-Hillel, ‘A Quasi-Arithmetical Notation for Syntactic Description’ in: Y. Bar-Hillel, Language and Information, Addison-Wesley 1964. It is to be noted, however, that on other occasions the same author advances a different proposal for syntactical analysis. A description coinciding with the one quoted here is also suggested by R.C. Jeffrey in The Logic of Decision, New York 1965.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    A. Fraenkel and Y. Bar-Hillel, Foundations of Set Theory, Amsterdam 1958, p. 120; K. Ajdukiewicz, ‘Intensional Expressions’, pp. 96-125 in the present book.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bergmann also objects to an analysis of the concept of seeing if the latter is interpreted as a mental fact, and not merely as a physical one. He says in this connection: I do not believe that an instance of seeing, or of any other awareness, is merely the exemplification of a relation, or any other character between two “things”, as indeed the seeing is. (G. Bergmann, ‘Intentionality’in: G. Bergmann, Meaning and Existence, Madison 1960, p. 6).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    The idea of such definitions was formulated by R. Carnap in his Testability and Meaning, 1936. For a detailed analysis of reductive definitions see M. Przełęcki, ‘Pojęcia teoretyczne a doświadczenie’ (Theoretical Concepts and Experience), Studia Logica, Vol. XI, 1961.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    The thesis that the denotatum of a statement is its logical value is well-grounded in logical tradition. On this point the otherwise rival theories of, e.g., Frege and Church, Carnap, and Ajdukiewicz, are in agreement. The same authors also agree that a proposition is the connotation, meaning, or intension, of a statement (these concepts are closely related, even though they occur in different theoretical contexts). The assumption adopted here (that which is the connotation of a direct statement ‘p’ is the denotation of the corresponding oblique formulation ‘that P’) comes closest to the idea of Frege and Church, the difference being that a proposition is treated as a state of things of the real world, and not as an abstract, or ideal, object. For the views of the authors mentioned above concerning the semantic functions of statements see G. Frege, ‘Ueber Sinn und Bedeutung’, Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Philosophische Kritik, 1892, No. 100 (the English-language version is to be found in H. Feigl and W. Sellars. Readings in Philosophical Linguistics, New York 1949); A. Church, Introduction to Mathematical Logic. Vol. 1, Princeton 1956; R. Carnap, Meaning and Necessity, Chicago 1956; K. Ajdukiewicz, ‘Proposition as the Connotation of Sentence’, pp. 81-95 in the present book.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    The various referents of one and the same term which change according to situation or context were discussed by the mediaeval theory of suppositions (cf. I. Bocheéski, Formale Logik, Munich 1956). The issue has been revived, independently of the theory of suppositions, in certain analyses carried out by contemporary authors; see, for instance, P.F. Strawson, ‘On Referring’, Mind, Vol. 59, 1950; J. Pelc, ‘A Functional Approach to the Logical Semiotics of Natural Language’, pp. 342-75 in the present book.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© PWN — Polish Scientific Publishers — Warszawa 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Witold Marciszewski

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