Oratio Obliqua, Oratio Recta

An Essay on Metarepresentation

Among the entities that can be mentally or linguistically represented are mental and linguistic representations themselves. That is, we can think and talk about speech and thought. This phenomenon is known as metarepresentation. An example is "Authors believe that people read books."

In this book François Recanati discusses the structure of metarepresentation from a variety of perspectives. According to him, metarepresentations have a dual structure: their content includes the content of the object-representation (people reading books) as well as the "meta" part (the authors' belief). Rejecting the view that the object representation is mentioned rather than used, Recanati claims that since metarepresentations carry the content of the object representation, they must be about whatever the object representation is about. Metarepresentations are fundamentally transparent because they work by simulating the representation they are about.

Topics covered in this wide-ranging work include the analysis of belief reports and talk about fiction, world shifting, opacity and substitutivity, quotation, the relation between direct and indirect discourse, context shifting, semantic pretense, and deference in language and thought.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. 1. Three Principles
  3. 2. 'That'-Clauses as Singular Terms
  4. 3. Metarepresentational Operators
  5. 4. Simulation and Beyond
  6. 5. Austinian Semantics
  7. 6. The Double Nature of Situations
  8. 7. World-Shifting
  9. 8. Introduction
  10. 9. Metarepresentational Ambiguities
  11. 10. Opaque Uses, Transparent Mentions
  12. 11. Metarepresentational Opacity: An innocent Account
  13. 12. Context-Shifting
  14. 13. Oratio Recta
  15. 14. Varieties of Semi-Quotation
  16. 15. Metafictional Statements
  17. 16. Untransposed Indexicals in (Free) Indirect Speech
  18. 17. Partial Pretense
  19. 18. Deferential Belief
  20. 19. Echoic Uses: A Unified Account
  21. 20. Mixed Quotation and Opacity
  22. Notes
  23. References
  24. Index