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Profile: Francois Recanati (Institut Jean Nicod)
  1.  58
    François Recanati (2012). Mental Files. Oxford University Press.
    Over the past fifty years the philosophy of language and mind has been dominated by a nondescriptivist approach to content and reference. This book attempts to recast and systematize that approach by offering an indexical model in terms of mental files. According to Recanati, we refer through mental files, the function of which is to store information derived through certain types of contextual relation the subject bears to objects in his or her environment. The reference of a file is determined (...)
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  2.  53
    François Recanati (1993). Direct Reference: From Language to Thought. Blackwell.
    This volume puts forward a distinct new theory of direct reference, blending insights from both the Fregean and the Russellian traditions, and fitting the general theory of language understanding used by those working on the pragmatics of natural language.
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  3.  22
    François Recanati (2010). Truth-Conditional Pragmatics. Oxford University Press.
    This book argues against the traditional understanding of the semantics/pragmatics divide and puts forward a radical alternative. Through half a dozen case studies, it shows that what an utterance says cannot be neatly separated from what the speaker means. In particular, the speaker's meaning endows words with senses that are tailored to the situation of utterance and depart from the conventional meanings carried by the words in isolation. This phenomenon of ‘pragmatic modulation’ must be taken into account in theorizing about (...)
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  4. François Recanati (2002). Unarticulated Constituents. Linguistics and Philosophy 25 (3):299-345.
    In a recent paper (Linguistics and Philosophy 23, 4, June 2000), Jason Stanley argues that there are no `unarticulated constituents', contrary to what advocates of Truth-conditional pragmatics (TCP) have claimed. All truth-conditional effects of context can be traced to logical form, he says. In this paper I maintain that there are unarticulated constituents, and I defend TCP. Stanley's argument exploits the fact that the alleged unarticulated constituents can be `bound', that is, they can be made to vary with the values (...)
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  5. François Recanati (2007). Perspectival Thought: A Plea for Moderate Relativism. Oxford University Press.
    Our thought and talk are situated. They do not take place in a vacuum but always in a context, and they always concern an external situation relative to which they are to be evaluated. Since that is so, François Recanati argues, our linguistic and mental representations alike must be assigned two layers of content: the explicit content, or lekton, is relative and perspectival, while the complete content, which is absolute, involves contextual factors in addition to what is explicitly represented. Far (...)
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  6.  4
    François Recanati (2000). Oratio Obliqua, Oratio Recta: An Essay on Metarepresentation. MIT Press.
    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 (...)
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  7.  75
    François Recanati (2013). Mental Files: Replies to My Critics. Disputatio 5 (36):207-242.
    My responses to seven critical reviews of my book *Mental Files* (OUP 2012) published in a special issue of the journal Disputatio, edited by F. Salis. The reviewers are: Keith Hall, David Papineau, Annalisa Coliva and Delia Belleri, Peter Pagin, Thea Goodsell, Krista Lawlor and Manuel Garcia-Carpintero.
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  8.  9
    François Recanati (2010). Singular Thought: In Defense of Acquaintance. In Robin Jeshion (ed.), New Essays on Singular Thought. OUP Oxford 141.
    This paper is about the Descriptivism/Singularism debate, which has loomed large in 20-century philosophy of language and mind. My aim is to defend Singularism by showing, first, that it is a better and more promising view than even the most sophisticated versions of Descriptivism, and second, that the recent objections to Singularism (based on a dismissal of the acquaintance constraint on singular thought) miss their target.
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  9.  60
    François Recanati (2002). Varieties of Simulation. In Jerome Dokic & Joelle Proust (eds.), Simulation and Knowledge of Action. Amsterdam: J Benjamins 151-171.
  10.  11
    Michael Murez & François Recanati (2016). Mental Files: An Introduction. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (2):265-281.
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  11.  28
    François Recanati (2016). Indexical Thought: The Communication Problem. In Manuel Garcia-Carpintero & Stehpan Torre (eds.), About Oneself. 141-178.
    What characterizes indexical thinking is the fact that the modes of presentation through which one thinks of objects are context-bound and perspectival. Such modes of presentation, I claim, are mental files presupposing that we stand in certain relations to the reference : the role of the file is to store information one can gain in virtue of standing in that relation to the object. This raises the communication problem, first raised by Frege : if indexical thoughts are context-bound and relation-based, (...)
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  12. François Recanati (1989). The Pragmatics of What is Said. Mind and Language 4 (4):295-329.
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  13.  40
    Simon Prosser & François Recanati (eds.) (2012). Immunity to Error Through Misidentification: New Essays. Cambridge University Press.
    In this collection of newly commissioned essays, the contributors present a variety of approaches to it, engaging with historical and empirical aspects of the subject as well as contemporary philosophical work.
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  14.  67
    François Recanati (2003). Embedded Implicatures. Philosophical Perspectives 17 (1):299–332.
    Conversational implicatures do not normally fall within the scope of operators because they arise at the speech act level, not at the level of sub-locutionary constituents. Yet in some cases they do, or so it seems. My aim in this paper is to compare different approaches to the problem raised by what I call 'embedded implicatures': seeming implicatures that arise locally, at a sub-locutionary level, without resulting from an inference in the narrow sense.
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  15.  22
    François Recanati (2015). Replies to the Papers in the Issue "Recanati on Mental Files". Inquiry 58 (4):408-437.
  16.  59
    François Recanati (2001). Open Quotation. Mind 110 (439):637-687.
    The issues addressed in philosophical papers on quotation generally concern only a particular type of quotation, which I call ‘closed quotation’. The other main type, ‘open quotation’, is ignored, and this neglect leads to bad theorizing. Not only is a general theory of quotation out of reach: the specific phenomenon of closed quotation itself cannot be properly understood if it is not appropriately situated within the kind to which it belongs. Once the distinction between open and closed quotation has been (...)
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  17. François Recanati (2009). De Re and De Se. Dialectica 63 (3):249-269.
    For Perry and many authors, de se thoughts are a species of de re thought. In this paper, I argue that de se thoughts come in two varieties: explicit and implicit. While explicit de se thoughts can be construed as a variety of de re thought, implicit de se thoughts cannot: their content is thetic, while the content of de re thoughts is categoric. The notion of an implicit de se thought is claimed to play a central role in accounting (...)
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  18. François Recanati (2001). What is Said. Synthese 128 (1-2):75--91.
  19. François Recanati (2007). It is Raining (Somewhere). Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (1):123-146.
    The received view about meteorological predicates like ‘rain’ is that they carry an argument slot for a location which can be filled explicitly or implicitly. The view assumes that ‘rain’, in the absence of an explicit location, demands that the context provide a specific location. In an earlier article in this journal, I provided a counter-example, viz. a context in which ‘it is raining’ receives a location-indefinite interpretation. On the basis of that example, I argued that when there is tacit (...)
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  20. François Recanati (2002). Does Linguistic Communication Rest on Inference? Mind and Language 17 (1&2):105–126.
    It is often claimed that, because of semantic underdetermination, one can determine the content of an utterance only by appealing to pragmatic considerations concerning what the speaker means, what his intentions are. This supports ‘inferentialism' : the view that, in contrast to perceptual content, communicational content is accessed indirectly, via an inference. As against this view, I argue that primary pragmatic processes (the pragmatic processes that are involved in the determination of truth-conditional content) need not involve an inference from premisses (...)
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  21. François Récanati (1987). Meaning and Force: The Pragmatics of Performative Utterances. Cambridge University Press.
    Professor Recanati's book is a major new contribution to the philosophy of language. Its point of departure is a refutation of two views central to the work of speech-act theorists such as Austin & Searle: that speech acts are essentially conventional, & that the force of an utterance can be made fully explicit at the level of sentence-meaning & is in principle a matter of linguistic decoding. The author argues that no utterance can be fully understood simply in terms of (...)
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  22.  57
    François Recanati (1996). Domains of Discourse. Linguistics and Philosophy 19 (5):445 - 475.
    In the first part of this paper I present a defence of the Austinian semantic approach to incomplete quantifiers and similar phenomena (section 2-4). It is part of my defence of Austinian semantics that it incorporates a cognitive dimension (section 4). This cognitive dimension makes it possible to connect Austinian semantics to various cognitive theories of discourse interpretation. In the second part of the paper (sections 5-7), I establish connections between Austinian semantics and four particular theories: • the theory of (...)
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  23.  73
    François Recanati (2001). Literal/Nonliteral. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 25 (1):264–274.
  24.  54
    François Recanati (2012). Immunity to Error Through Misidentification: What It is and Where It Comes From. In Simon Prosser & Francois Recanati (eds.), Immunity to Error Through Misidentification: New Essays. Cambridge University Press 180--201.
    I argue that immunity to error through misidentification primarily characterizes thoughts that are 'implicitly' de se, as opposed to thoughts that involve an explicit self-identification. Thoughts that are implicitly de se involve no reference to the self at the level of content: what makes them de se is simply the fact that the content of the thought is evaluated with respect to the thinking subject. Or, to put it in familiar terms : the content of the thought is a property (...)
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  25.  23
    François Recanati (2012). Compositionality, Flexibility, and Context-Dependence. In Wolfram Hinzen, Edouard Machery & Markus Werning (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Compositionality. Oxford 175-191.
    It has often been observed that the meaning of a word may be affected by the other words which occur in the same sentence. How are we to account for this phenomenon of 'semantic flexibility'? It is argued that semantic flexibility reduces to context-sensitivity and does not raise unsurmountable problems for standard compositional accounts. On the other hand, it would be a mistake to assume too simple a view of context-sensitivity. Two basic forms of context-sensitivity are distinguished in the paper. (...)
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  26.  51
    François Recanati (2012). Contextualism: Some Varieties. In Keith Allan & Kasia Jaszczolt (eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Pragmatics. Cambridge University Press 135--149.
    A number of distinct (though related) issues are raised in the debate over Contextualism in the philosophy of language. My aim in this chapter for the Cambridge Handbook of Pragmatics is to disentangle them, so as to get a clearer view of the positions available (where a 'position' consists of a particular take on each of the relevant issues simultaneously).
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  27.  20
    François Recanati (2009). Anti-Descriptivism, Mental Files, And The Communication Of Singular Thoughts. Manuscrito 32 (1):7-32.
    In this paper, I argue that singular thought about an object involves nondescriptive or de re ways of thinking of that object, that is, modes of presentation resting on contextual relations of ‘acquaintance’ to the object. Such modes of presentation I analyse as mental files in which the subject can store information gained through the acquaintance relations in question. I show that the mental -file approach provides a solution to a vexing problem regarding the communication of singular thoughts: If singular (...)
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  28. François Recanati (2013). Perceptual Concepts: In Defence of the Indexical Model. Synthese 190 (10):1841-1855.
    Francois Recanati presents the basic features of the *indexical model* of mental files, and defends it against several interrelated objections. According to this model, mental files refer to objects in a way that is analogous to that of indexicals in language: a file refers to an object in virtue of a contextual relation between them. For instance, perception and attention provide the basis for demonstrative files. Several objections, some of them from David Papineau, concern the possibility of files to preserve (...)
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  29.  22
    François Recanati (2005). Deixis and Anaphora. In Zoltán Gendler Szabó (ed.), Semantics Versus Pragmatics. Oxford University Press 286--316.
    A defence of the 'pragmatic' theory of anaphora (which stresses the analogy between anaphora and deixis) against an argument put forward by Gareth Evans.
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  30.  19
    François Recanati (2010). Knowing That I See. Comments on Alex Byrne. In Ijn Working Papers.
    Response to Alex Byrne's paper 'Knowing what I see'.
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  31. François Recanati (2002). The Fodorian Fallacy. Analysis 62 (4):285-89.
    In recent years Fodor has repeatedly argued that nothing epistemic can be essential to, or constitutive of, any concept. This holds in virtue of a constraint which Fodor dubs the Compositionality Constraint. I show that Fodor's argument is fallacious because it rests on an ambiguity.
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  32.  10
    François Recanati (2014). Empty Singular Terms in the Mental-File Framework. In Manuel Garcia-Carpintero & Genoveva Marti (eds.), Empty Representations. Oxford 162-185.
    Mental files, in Recanati's framework, function as 'singular terms in the language of thought' ; they serve to think about objects in the world (and to store information about them). But they have a derived, metarepresentational function : they serve to represent how other subjects think about objects in the world. To account for the metarepresentational use of files, Recanati introduces the notion of an 'indexed file', i.e. a vicarious file that stands, in the subject's mind, for another subject's file (...)
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  33.  96
    François Recanati (1989). Referential/Attributive: A Contextualist Proposal. Philosophical Studies 56 (3):217 - 249.
  34. François Recanati (2013). Content, Mood, and Force. Philosophy Compass 8 (7):622-632.
    In this survey paper, I start from two classical theses of speech act theory: that speech act content is uniformly propositional and that sentence mood encodes illocutionary force. These theses have been questioned in recent work, both in philosophy and linguistics. The force/content distinction itself – a cornerstone of 20‐century philosophy of language – has come to be rejected by some theorists, unmoved by the famous ‘Frege–Geach’ argument. The paper reviews some of these debates.
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  35.  50
    François Recanati (2006). Predelli and Carpintero on Literal Meaning. Critica 38 (112):69-79.
  36. François Recanati (1986). On Defining Communicative Intentions. Mind and Language 1 (3):213-41.
  37.  87
    François Recanati (1997). Can We Believe What We Do Not Understand? Mind and Language 12 (1):84-100.
    In a series of papers, Sperber provides the following analysis of the phenomenon of ill-understood belief (or 'quasi-belief', as I call it): (i) the quasi-believer has a validating meta-belief, to the effect that a certain representation is true; yet (ii) that representation does not give rise to a plain belief, because it is 'semi-propositional'. In this paper I discuss several aspects of this treatment. In particular, I deny that the representation accepted by the quasi-believer is semantically indeterminate, and I reject (...)
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  38. François Recanati (2006). Crazy Minimalism. Mind and Language 21 (1):21–30.
  39.  41
    François Recanati (1997). The Dynamics of Situations. European Review of Philosophy 2:41-75.
    Every statement represents a certain state of affairs as holding in a certain situation, which the statement concerns. The situation which a statement concerns is indicated by the context. It must be distinguished from whichever situation may be explicitly mentioned in the statement. In this framework, two cognitive processes are analysed: projection and reflection. Both involve two representations: one which concerns a situation s, and another one which explicitly mentions that situation. Through reflection we go from the representation concerning s (...)
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  40.  40
    François Recanati (1994). Contextualism and Anti-Contextualism in the Philosophy of Language. In Savas L. Tsohatzidis (ed.), Foundations of Speech Act Theory: Philosophical and Linguistic Perspectives. Routledge 156-166.
  41.  8
    François Recanati (2014). First Person Thought. In Julien Dutant, Davide Fassion & Anne Meylan (eds.), Liber Amicorum Pascal Engel. 506-511.
    First person thoughts are the sort of thought one may express by using the first person ; they are also thoughts that are about the thinker of the thought. Neither characterization is ultimately satisfactory. A thought can be about the thinker of the thought by accident, without being a first person thought. The alternative characterization of first person thought in terms of first person sentences also fails, because it is circular : we need the notion of a first person thought (...)
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  42.  6
    François Recanati (2004). Descriptions and Situations. In Marga Reimer & Anne Bezuidenhout (eds.), Descriptions and Beyond. Clarendon Press 15-40.
  43. François Recanati (2004). ‘That’-Clauses as Existential Quantifiers. Analysis 64 (283):229–235.
    Following Panaccio, 'John believes that p' is analysed as 'For some x such that x is true if and only if p, John believes x'. On this view the complement clause 'that p' acts as a restricted existential quantifier ('For some x such that x is true if and only if p') and it contributes a higher-order property.
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  44.  29
    François Recanati (2004). Literal Meaning. Cambridge University Press.
    According to the dominant position among philosophers of language today, we can legitimately ascribe determinate contents to natural language sentences, independently of what the speaker actually means. This view contrasts with that held by ordinary language philosophers fifty years ago: according to them, speech acts, not sentences, are the primary bearers of content. François Recanati argues for the relevance of this controversy to the current debate about semantics and pragmatics. Is 'what is said' determined by linguistic conventions, or is it (...)
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  45. François Recanati (1990). Direct Reference, Meaning, and Thought. Noûs 24 (5):697-722.
  46.  40
    François Récanati (2010). Le soi implicite. Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 4 (4):475-494.
    Le sujet qui perçoit, ressent, se remémore, ou imagine a conscience de son activité mentale, et notamment du mode — perceptif, mnésique ou autre — de ses états. Le mode des états expérientiels va de pair avec une relation spécifique (variable selon le mode) du sujet à ce que l'état représente. Par exemple, le sujet qui se remémore se trouve (normalement) dans une certaine relation à la scène remémorée : il a perçu celle-ci dans le passé. La thèse principale de (...)
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  47.  42
    François Recanati (2001). Déstabiliser le sens. Revue Internationale de Philosophie 2 (217):197-208.
  48.  43
    François Recanati (2007). Millikan's Theory of Signs. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (3):674–681.
    Review of Millikan's book Varieties of Meaning (MIT Press/Bradford Books, 2004).
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  49.  11
    François Recanati (2008). Moderate Relativism. In Manuel Garcia-Carpintero & Max Koelbel (eds.), Relative Truth. Oxford 41-62.
    In modal logic, propositions are evaluated relative to possible worlds. A proposition may be true relative to a world w, and false relative to another world w'. Relativism is the view that the relativization idea extends beyond possible worlds and modalities. Thus, in tense logic, propositions are evaluated relative to times. A proposition (e.g. the proposition that Socrates is sitting) may be true relative to a time t, and false relative to another time t'. In this paper I discuss, and (...)
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  50.  6
    François Recanati (1995). The Alleged Priority of Literal Interpretation. Cognitive Science 19 (2):207-232.
    In this paper I argue against a widely accepted model of utterance interpretation, namely the LS model, according to which the literal interpretation of an utterance (the proposition literally expressed by that utterance) must be computed before non-literal interpretations can be entertained. Alleged arguments in favor of this model are shown to be fallacious, counterexamples are provided, and alternative models are sketched.
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