Quotations and Pictures

6:30–9:00 pm


Talk: Quotations and Pictures 引用与图片

Quotation (q-)marks (“ … ”) are currently used in two main ways: to quote someone’s utterance or inscription (e.g., “Trump said: ‘Let’s make America great again!’”) and to mention words (e.g., “ ‘Love’ is a four letter word”).  Over the last 50 years there has been an explosion of work by philosophers and linguists on q-marks but almost all of it on their use in mentioning, either ignoring or assimilating quotation to mentioning.  After briefly tracing the disjoint histories of q-marks in the two practices, I concentrate almost entirely on quotation, present its semantic problems, and, drawing on an analogy between pictures and quotations—frequently mentioned but rarely used in the literature—show how quotations are best analyzed using three notions taken from the theory of pictures: exemplification as distinct from representation, the analog as opposed to digital, and transparency.  I then explain what semantic work the q-marks themselves do, and, time permitting, show how we can analyze scare-quotes as the figurative use of q-marks. What emerges is a conception of quotation that locates it on the boundary between linguistic competence proper and the non-linguistic—and in one sense, contextual—symbolic skill of picturing.

About the Speaker 讲者介绍

Josef Stern, William H. Colvin Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Chicago, works in both contemporary philosophy of language and medieval Jewish and Arabic philosophy.  Among his many publications are Metaphor in Context (MIT, 2000); Quotations and Pictures (MIT, 2018); and The Matter and Form of Maimonides’ Guide (Harvard, 2013), which was awarded the 2014 Book Prize by the Journal of the History of Philosophy for the best book on the history of philosophy published in 2013. From 2009-2014, he was also the Inaugural Director of the Joyce Z. and Jacob Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Chicago.  Stern retired from the University in July 2016 and currently resides in Jerusalem, Israel.