[Wittrs] Utterances, Sentences, Propositions
whoooo26505 at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 18 12:04:30 CDT 2011
... what do people make of the distinction between utterances, sentences and propositions, as taught by linguistics folk like this here:
I suppose the issue boils down to whether this way of speaking is helpful (gets work done). Interesting that "sentence" is taken to be a kind of graphical depiction or structure of the language (into a structure). Perhaps it is better to say simply that it is a unit of language. "Sentence" sort shares kinship in its grammar to, say, centimeter. Compare: sentence-paragraph-clause to inch-foot-centimeter.
"Proposition," I suppose, is inherently cognitive. It's what the mind (and anthropology) does to make sense of language.
And the utterance is what Richard Rorty once called "marks and noises" -- it's the behavior we engage in to write a series of letters or make phonetic sounds and so forth (uttering).
But why am I writing this? Largely because this all seems to analytic. If it were just a particular arrangement of a lexicon -- like grabbing three tools from the cabinet -- it would fine for whatever you are doing with them. But maybe some get the same work done with lesser tools. Or maybe bringing three is overkill. I don't know. But I guess what I am really saying is that I think these distinctions DO make good sense. Because I can see in my mind three things that are, in fact, different.
Regards and thanks.
Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=596860
Wittgenstein Discussion: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html
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