[hist-analytic] Quessertives

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Fri Jul 10 19:56:38 EDT 2009


Grice's Quessertions
 
In a message dated 7/7/2009 8:31:46 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
baynesrb at yahoo.com writes:
Grandy's quessertion? I'm unfamiliar with this.  Sounds interesting. 
I'll recheck WoW for it.

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Little by little my reply then. But _yes_, Grice (1971) does quote Anscombe 
 by name -- it's the footnote then, on the page I cited. The footnote just 
goes,  "By Professor Anscombe". If that's not a footnote I don't know what 
one  _is_.
 
And the context was that vivid example "The point may be (and I  think has 
been (* by Professor Anscombe)) put vividly by saying that if a  man 
fails..." etc.
 
Now for the quessertion.
 
There was a Generative-Semantics piece on QUESSERTIVES -- but Grandy's  
discovery was independent!

Grice (in "Meaning Revisited", lecture delivered in Sussex, 1982) writes of 
 his 'mischiveous friend' (Grandy) and the idea that 
 
there are three illocutionary forces:
 
assertion   (.)  "I say that p"
question    (?)  "I ask whether p"
order         (!)   "I  order p"
 
Now, Grandy suggested (jocularly) that 'assertion' and 'question' can  
combine -- in the case of Grice. So whatever Grice says can be interpreted  as

"Could it be possible that someone may want to assert that ..."
 
(I'm relying on memory -- but the quote is googlebooks, "Meaning Revisited" 
 Way of Words, then).
 
Grice goes on to say that whatever he'll end up saying in that lecture will 
 be highly 'quessertive'. 
 
(Grice says he cherishes the pun as much as he cherished Grandy's comment  
that Grice could always be rely to rally to the defense of the  underodgma).

(Now, this among nous, philosophers: Grandy can JOKE about questions and  
assertions being 'quessertions', but I think D. Kaplan is right when in the  
Partee paper online he is quoted as saying, "You (linguists) vacuum things 
that  we philosophers say". They were using 'quessertives' literally -- L. 
Horn has a  good example in a footnote of Natural History of Negation, but 
don't have access  to it right now.
 
             Something like
 
                        The car is how much did you say?
 
(but not really, since that's a question -- but something that you cannot  
really evaluate truth-conditonally as an assertion, yet it looks like one -- 
 we'll see if I can find it).
 
Cheers,
 
J. L. Speranza
 
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