Journal for General Philosophy of Science

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 257–270

Lifting the Church-Ban on Quotational Analysis: The Translation Argument and the Use-Mention Distinction

  • Diederik Olders
  • Peter Sas

DOI: 10.1023/A:1013197914982

Cite this article as:
Olders, D. & Sas, P. Journal for General Philosophy of Science (2001) 32: 257. doi:10.1023/A:1013197914982


According to quotational theory, indirect ascriptions of propositional attitudes should be analyzed as direct ascriptions of attitudes towards natural-language sentences specified by quotations. A famous objection to this theory is Church's translation argument. In the literature several objections to the translation argument have been raised, which in this paper are shown to be unsuccessful. This paper offers a new objection. We argue against Church's presupposition that quoted expressions, since they are mentioned, cannot be translated. In many contexts quoted expressions are used and mentioned simultaneously, and the quotational analysis of propositional-attitude ascriptions is such a context. Hence the translation argument is unsound.

translation argumentuse-mention distinctionpropositional-attitude ascriptionsquotational theoryquotationintensionalityCarnapChurchDavidsonDummettMartinQuine

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diederik Olders
  • Peter Sas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyErasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands