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  1. #1
    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    When one ascribes truth to a picture one does not really want...

    When one ascribes truth to a picture one does not really want to ascribe a property which belongs to this picture altogether
    independently of other things, but one always has something quite different in mind and one wants to say that that picture
    corresponds in some way to this thing.
    (G. Frege, The Thought: A Logical Inquiry)

    The first one is indefinite and equal to someone. The rest one's are definite (anaphorically) and can be replaced by (s)he or this person. If I replaced the first one with a person/a man and continued repeating this indefinite NP, it would be a new/some other person every time, which wouldn't make sense. So I'd have to continue with this person/this man/he. But one can be used repeatedly maintaining anaphoric reference.

    Do someone, somebody and something share the same feature?
    Last edited by Alexey86; 21-Jan-2021 at 16:39.
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  2. #2
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    jutfrank is offline VIP Member
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    Re: When one ascribes truth to a picture one does not really want...

    Before we start, I think we need to make it clear to everyone that this is a translation from the original German. The German language commonly uses the impersonal pronoun man, which is readily translated into English by one. Could you confirm that all those ones did indeed start out life as mans?

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    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: When one ascribes truth to a picture one does not really want...

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Before we start, I think we need to make it clear to everyone that this is a translation from the original German. The German language commonly uses the impersonal pronoun man, which is readily translated into English by one. Could you confirm that all those ones did indeed start out life as mans?
    Here's the original text: Wenn man Wahrheit von einem Bilde aussagt, will man eigentlich keine Eigenschaft aussagen, welche diesem Bilde ganz losgelöst von anderen Dingen zukäme, sondern man hat dabei immer noch eine ganz andere Sache im Auge, und man will sagen, daß jenes Bild mit dieser Sache irgendwie übereinstimme.
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    Re: When one ascribes truth to a picture one does not really want...

    I don't see any difference in definiteness between those mans, so I disagree with the claims made in your question.

    This is one case where there is significant difference between German and English, and as I said in the other thread, I don't want to discuss German language use. Moreover, it wouldn't be appropriate on this forum. I'm happy to talk about anything that was originally conceived in English.

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    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: When one ascribes truth to a picture one does not really want...

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I don't see any difference in definiteness between those mans, so I disagree with the claims made in your question.

    This is one case where there is significant difference between German and English, and as I said in the other thread, I don't want to discuss German language use. Moreover, it wouldn't be appropriate on this forum. I'm happy to talk about anything that was originally conceived in English.
    Can we forget about the German original and focus on the English text? My question is about the use of English pronouns only.
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  6. #6
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    Re: When one ascribes truth to a picture one does not really want...

    I don't think I can do that. The approach I always take when analysing article use is to ask myself "What was going through the speaker's mind when he said that?" The trouble is I can't do this here because the person who wrote the words you're asking to analyse, the translator, had no better idea of precisely what was going through Frege's mind than we do. What you're suggesting we do is ultimately an exercise in translation rather than analysis of language use.

    In any case, none of those mans or ones can be understood as definite, as far as I can see. They're all indefinite, it seems. And I'm not even sure if any of them can be said to be anaphoric. In fact, I don't think they can.

    Having said all that, I do kind of get what you're wondering, I think. If we label each of the ones as O1, O2, O3, O4, then:

    O1) could be translated as either somebody or a person.
    O2) could be translated as he or they or that person. (Plus, I think all of these would be deictic, not anaphoric.)
    O3, O4) are both very odd. This reads like a bad translation. I can barely make any sense out of these two. From the context, we know that the subject of the verbs has and wants is the same subject as that of the preceding verb want, of which O2 is the subject. Therefore, I can only deduce that O2, O3, O4 have the same reference.

    So if there's a difference between O1 and O2,3,4, then it's that the latter three are deictic, unlike the former. I don't want to commit to this view, though, so please don't hold me to it.

    This is tortuous, Alexey. I can't see how this is going to help you very much. It isn't good exemplary use.

  7. #7
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    Re: When one ascribes truth to a picture one does not really want...

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    "When one ascribes truth to a picture one does not really want to ascribe a property which belongs to this picture altogether
    independently of other things, but one always has something quite different in mind and one wants to say that that picture
    corresponds in some way to this thing.
    (G. Frege, The Thought: A Logical Inquiry)"

    The first one is indefinite and equal to someone. The other ones are definite (anaphorically) and can be replaced by (s)he or this person. If I replaced the first one with a person/a man and continued repeating this indefinite NP, it would be a new/some other person every time, which wouldn't make sense. So I'd have to continue with this person/this man/he. But one can be used repeatedly maintaining anaphoric reference.

    Do someone, somebody and something share the same feature?
    I don't understand why you italicized the quotation instead of putting it within quote marks.
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  8. #8
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Re: When one ascribes truth to a picture one does not really want...

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    When one ascribes truth to a picture, one does not really want to ascribe a property which belongs to this picture altogether
    independently of other things, but one always has something quite different in mind and one wants to say that that picture
    corresponds in some way to this thing.
    (G. Frege, The Thought: A Logical Inquiry)

    The first one is indefinite and equal to someone. The rest one's are definite (anaphorically) and can be replaced by (s)he or this person. If I replaced the first one with a person/a man and continued repeating this indefinite NP, it would be a new/some other person every time, which wouldn't make sense. So I'd have to continue with this person/this man/he. But one can be used repeatedly maintaining anaphoric reference.

    Do someone, somebody and something share the same feature?
    We usually say you (less formal) or we (more formal), not one (awkward, clunky, stiff).

    Without that comma, it's a picture you don't really want.

    Avoid (s)he and he/she. There are enough better alternatives.

    I don't see why using more than one noun to refer to the picture's observer would be confusing. Maybe it is in German.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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