In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

BOOK NOTICES 701 projection of the human mind. On this point, opinions were divided (the main opposition was that between Malebranche and Descartes), and apparently some authors simultaneously held something of both views. To modern readers, the controversy may seem irrelevant, but it was ofthe utmost importance for 17th century metaphysics and philosophy of religion. By using a consistent paraphrase in terms of modern extensionalist logic, D makes clear the important consequences ofthese divergent views. I would disagree with him when he states (57) that 'puisque tout jugement peut être intégré à un jugement plus complexe, la dichotomie préc édemment instaurée entre l'idée et lejugement tend à s'effacer': rather, every complete judgment can itselffunction as a conceived idea. This does not end the dichotomy, but testifies to the existence of a cyclical hierarchy: idea(s)— judgment(s)—judgments taken as ideas/concepts , etc. Ch. II deals with 'La théorie du signe' (7396 ): here D argues for the view that one must attribute a fourfold rather than binary semiotic theory to the Port-Royalists; so he supports my 1981 thesis (Semiótica 35.267-85). I thus found this chapter very convincing, except for the excessive confidence which D seems to place in his modern formal paraphrase (82-95) in terms of 'possible worlds' logic (or semantics). D also puts too little emphasis here on the iconic relation between tokens and the corresponding type (the problem is more adequately dealt with in pp. 137-43). A theory of signs presupposes an implicit or explicit theory of their use, and it is D's major merit to have given a most circumstantial treatment of this in Ch. Ill, 'Une pragmatique gén érale' (97-145). Pascal and the theological disputes (e.g. with regard to the signing of the condemnation of Jansenism, and the attribution of doctrinal points of view) are central in D's patient reconstruction of the Port-Royalists' pragmatics. Their theory is built on the principles of effability (the parallel with J. Katz' 'effability postulate' is drawn by D) and alethic likeness (probability), and on a number of rational 'maxims' such as stability, non-contradiction , sincerity, determination, and quantity. These principles are crucially important in understanding the mechanism of linguistic reference (e.g., through definite descriptions) and the possibility of mutual comprehension through conversation. Moreover, only on the basis of pragmatic criteria can human language be judged as to its efficiency and transparency for communicative purposes. With Chs. IV ('La théorie de la proposition ', 147-78) and V ('Le pronom relatif et le terme complexe', 179-225), we corne to the properly grammatical contribution of the PortRoyalists . Again, these chapters present detailed and well-informed analyses, with a strong tendency toward paraphrase in terms of extensional logic. Readers interested in these matters can compare D's treatment with that offered in Grammaire et méthode au XVIP siècle by P. Swiggers et al. (Louvain, 1984) and in my article 'Grammaire et logique à Port-Royal' (Sprachwissenschaft 9.333-52, 1984), especially as regards the division into parts of speech, the definition of the verb, and the problem of connotation . Basically, our accounts are in agreement. All in all, I found little with which to disagree in this stimulating study, which I strongly recommend for its originality, its systematic character , and its erudition (the bibliography covers pp. 231-53). D has taken pains to account for all the problems raised in the primary texts of the Port-Royal authors, and his interpretations are extremely well argued. Some minor points: On p. 162, the paraphrase Quelque pape est (un enfant) PASSÉ should have been [Quelque pape est un enfant] PASSÉ. On pp. 194-7, the treatment of complex/non-complex and simple/ compound propositions should have taken into account the 18th century views on this problem (especially those of Beauzée, as formulated in his grammatical articles in the Encyclopédie). On p. 208, the treatment of subordinate clauses (under operators such as 'say' , 'know' , 'believe' etc.) could have profited from considering P. & C. Kiparsky's article 'Fact' (Progress in linguistics , ed. by M. Bierwisch & K. E. Heidolph, The Hague, 1970, pp. 143-73). Misprints are extremely rare...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 701-702
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.